Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, called on all Niger Delta leaders to close ranks and rededicate themselves to the development of the region.
He said the call became necessary in order to change the narrative of underdevelopment plaguing the region.
According to him, it was worrisome that privileged Bayelsans, and by extension, those from other Niger Delta states who occupied and are still occupying various political offices would prefer to concern themselves with mundane things rather than the development of the region.
The governor stated this on Thursday at the Government House, Yenagoa while addressing the Board and management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) led by the chairman, Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), who paid him a courtesy visit.
Dickson therefore charged the new NDDC board not to follow same path as the Niger Delta region is highly in need of development, lamenting that over sixty years after oil was first discovered in Bayelsa most of the communities with abundant resources are still not connected by road to the state capital.
” Till today, 61 years after the discovery of oil and gas, there is no road to get to Brass Oil terminal and even as we speak that is where oil is being lifted day and night. No road as we speak to Oporoma, Koluama.
“We are not a happy people. No investment on human capacity development. Young people from our region have all become militants who carry AK-47 rifle and these are young generation that should have helped develop our land which we have now lost .
“The only thing they are good for is to struggle for surveillance contracts while others smile to the banks locally and internationally. People flaunting oil wells and parading wealth rooted in oil wealth acquisition. What people sit in Abuja call oil blocks are ancestral properties of people of the Niger Delta”.
While congratulating them on their well deserved appointments, Dickson also expressed his administration’s readiness to partner with the commission to achieve greater goals and advised that they should concentrate on critical projects in the state and leave the building of schools and health facilities for his government which it has been embarking on with remarkable success since assumption of office in 2012.
He pointed out that one of the greatest challenges the NDDC has always had is politicizing its activities to suit the whims and caprices of some individuals and warned that if the present board allows itself to be used then posterity will judge them wrongly.
“We should avoid over politicization of the NDDC. One of the greatest problems that has faced the NDDC is the issue of political interference. I want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government and its officials to allow this board that they have constituted to work and not to interfere and use the NDDC as a cash cow to fund politics and political activities and as an avenue for political patronage. The NDDC should be allowed to face its primary mandate”.
The Bayelsa State Chief Executive expressed displeasure at the number of abandoned projects in the state and the attitude of some contractors, citing how the runway and terminal building of the ongoing Bayelsa International Airport in Amassoma would have been stalled if not for his government’s pro-activeness.