My dear friend and Comrade in the struggle Barr. OJ. Owoupele wrote an interesting analysis on the fall out of a live radio interview granted by Chief Dr. Dennis Otiotio, Bayelsa State APC Chairman. I shall be brief and my remarks will be limited to seven issues.

  1. One of the issues raised by Chief Dr. Dennis Otiotio was the N17billion loan approved by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The House expressly stated that N10billion would be committed to revamping the Bayelsa Palm Estate at Elebele. Ever before the loan was taken, the Palm infrastructure has been on lease. If the investors are making money from the Palm Estate then why the N10billion loan? Sadly, since the loan was appropriated nothing has been done. My brother OJP only dealt with general issues and failed to explain the why and what of the loan?. So how would he refer to Chief Dr. Dennis Otiotio’s interview as a failed attempt at peddling “lies at noon”. This is rather pathetic. The question still begs for answers.

  1. Again my dear Comrade in his analysis equated governance with execution of projects. Governance cannot be limited to project execution alone, it also hinges on issues like transparency, accountability, participation, consensus-building and the rule of law. This administration completed the Nembe Unity Bridge but it was Sylva who initiated the rebuilding of the bridge after previous attempts by OMPADEC and NDDC failed. So many Bayelsans are worried that the present administration has never awarded contracts in a TRANSPARENT MANNER. This creates room for over-invoicing and massive fraud. In Rivers State for instance, contract values (costs) are publicly announced at the time of award and inauguration. This is a sore point which must be redressed. In about 15 weeks, this administration would be two years in office yet no project it initiated has been completed. The referral Hospital in Kaiama was started since the Okilo administration. Payment of pensions and gratuities are not achievements even though protagonists of the administration are struggling hard to place them on the menu of achievements. This is laughable.

  1. I don’t agree with Chief Dr. Dennis Otiotio’s totally but the aspect he hammered home was on the cost. In sofar as the airport is sited in Bayelsa State, there is nothing wrong in spite of the locational disbenefits. However, even myself who was a principal image maker of the Restoration Administration does not know the real cost of the Airport. Two costs are paraded. 1. N56billion and 2. N70billion. Dr. Dennis Otiotio and other Bayelsans would have been saved this agony if the cost was announced at the time of awarding the contract. OJP, What is the cost of the Airport? That said there is a need to commend Senator Dickson for building the Airport. It will remain a legacy and redound to the success of Restoration.

  1. Chief Dr. Dennis Otiotio is not the first to make the assertion that Senator Douye Dir is not ready to provide leadership. Considering the circumstances surrounding his ascendancy to power, most people thought SDD will build consensus and hit the ground running. Sadly, it took SDD more than seven months to constitute his cabinet. A good administrator would have started by disclosing his assets and liabilities. This vital component was tangentially omitted, leaving the citizens to guess the financial status of the at the time of assuming office. To say the least, this is questionable. What are they hiding?
  2. On education, let me start by commending Senator Dickson for entrenching a rebirth of learning. Our WAEC/NECO results from 2012 to 2020 are reference points. This present administration has done the accreditation of some courses in the Bayelsa Medical University and the College of Education, Sagbama. Bayelsans cannot be ungrateful for that. However, for the past 15months, the fortunes of mainstream education are in jeorpady. Most secondary schools are decaying. I visited the Ijaw National Academy about three weeks ago. I stood at the weather beaten gate and almost wept. Senator HSD turned that school into an enviable place but that glory has evaporated. The Ministry of education should revamp that lost glory. Let us not lavish the good will of the people. Again, the Bayelsa State College of Health Technology, Otuogidi can be affiliated to the BMU. That can be possible when some basic courses run in the school are accredited.

  1. I don’t want to discuss the ATALA MARGINAL OIL FIELD. What is painful is the inaction of Governor Douye Diri. About three months ago, Ijaw Elders under the Ijaw Elders Forum called on Senator Diri to investigate the revocation and the attemps to convert or sell ATALA MARGINAL FIELD. Till date, the Governor has done nothing. If he refuses to do anything about a serious matter of economic interest to the State, he must know something about it. The claim by my friend and brother that Timipre Sylva was frustrating the deal is a hoax. The documents we have seen in the public domain show that Sylva only averted a calamity that was imminent. The only way government can convince Bayelsans that it is interested in the economic welfare of the people is to investigate the matter and publish the report.

  1. Finally, the figures published on loan repayments should be kept in the archives. Barr. OJP is not the official authority to produce such financial figures. Government has a finance team to handle that. We cannot patch the incompetence of the Douye Diri administration. Bayelsans are yet to know what we are owing as a State. Bayelsans do not know how much money he inherited from the Restoration administration. Keeping those vital information in government House Lockers is a demonstration that government has a lot to hide from the people. Where are those stakeholders meetings with government we used to see during the Restoration Administration? Who is sufficating the Ministry of Information and Strategy? We would have taken the submissions of Barr. Owoupele seriously, if they were made by a Commissioner or any other official of government. OJP cannot be used as Cameroun zinc to patch the leaking roof of Creek Haven.

I used my position as General Manager of the State owned radio to campaign vigorously for the SDD/LAW ticket. I was part of those who wrote the manifesto of SDD/LAW ticket. Asking Bayelsans what government should take as a priority is provocative and this insults the sensibilities of those of us who painstakingly and prayerfully wrote the MANIFESTO. We did this for the upward climb of our State, not for appointment. WE thought the administration will be more transparent and accountable from the beginning. When power holders are not transparent, the worst atrocities can be perpetrated under the veil of secrecy. It is not too late to change this miserable posturing of government.

Let me thank Barr. Owoupele Jeremiah for standing in gap for government. I wonder aloud why they have not appointed him as the Special adviser on Public Affairs. Comrade OJP though somewhat biased in his analysis, has done well for government. This is the way we comrades should be intervening to discuss issues with dispassionate intensity in the common interest of our State.

I have had reasons to raise most of the issues discussed by Dr. Dennis Otiotio. The obfuscating void and the communication gap government has inadvertently created is really troubling. If it is incompetence on the part of government, there can be a change. Government can address those knotty issues that create room for suspicion and criticism. We cannot all. be criminally silent.

Dr. John Idumange, A Public Intellectual writes from Yenagoa..

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