Despite the drop in revenues accruing to the state, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has said the government would complete work on the renovation of Odi General Hospital in no distant time to improve healthcare delivery in the area.
Governor Dickson, who spoke while flagging off the 58th edition of the famous Odi Ogori Ba Uge Festival at Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area on Monday, also promised to build a befitting pavilion for the community to hold its social functions.
Describing Odi as one of the biggest communities in Ijaw land, he acknowledged that the people have been supportive of the Peoples Democratic Party and his administration right from its inception and, therefore, deserves more dividends of democracy.
Although, the hospital project was initiated by a previous administration, Governor Dickson maintained that the decision to re-award the contract was informed by his policy of completing every people-oriented project within the limits of available resources.
Urging the community leadership to provide land for the construction of the civic centre, he said the government would award contract for the project and mobilise workers to site within the next 3 weeks, as well as support Odi in sponsoring the festival financially.
While commending the community for honouring the heroic exploits of their fathers, which culminated in the killing of the rampaging Ogori (buffalo) some decades ago,Governor Dickson called on the people to resist any temptation that will divide them, but always pitch a common united front to attract more development to the area.
The Governor, who also unveiled an art work depicting a hunter and the killer of the buffalo, announced a donation of one million naira each to the two sculptors, who are students of the state-owned Niger Delta University for doing what he describes as a beautiful job.
In a welcome address, Chairman of the 2015 Odi Ogori Ba Uge Planning Committee, represented by its Secretary, Mr Amaitari Melo, gave a brief history of the festival, noting that the buffalo first appeared at the Mission Primary School in the community in 1953.
According to his account, the animal killed a total of 5 people and injured several others before it was gunned down on the 27th of July, 1957.
He highlighted some needs of the community to include the renovation and proper equipment of the Odi General Hospital, lack of steady electricity supply and the financial burden of sponsoring the annual festival.
In their separate speeches, the Member representing Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Douye Diri and the Chief Whip of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Tonye Isenah lauded Governor Dickson for carrying Odi and their local government area along in his administration's scheme of things.
They particularly thanked the governor for the supportive role he played during their elections and assured him of the people's readiness to work for his re-election in the forthcoming governorship election.
Earlier, Governor Dickson had paid a courtesy visit on the Amadaowei of Odi, Chief Shine Apre where the palace spokesman, Chief Millionaire Asangba also paid glowing tributes to the governor for his development strides in the community and the state at large.