by Okoi Obono-Obla
I was recently in Bayelsa State to supervise the Registration exercise
of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State. On the 3rd
February, 2014, I boarded Med View Airline flight from Abuja to Port
Harcourt. On arriving Port Harcourt I hitched a ride from the Port
Harcourt International Airport to Yenagoa, the Capital of Bayelsa State,
the home State of President
immediately struck me was the derelict and deplorable condition of the
East-West Highway that straddles Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta State.
This is despite the fact that on the 29th May, 2007, Dr. Goodluck Ebele
Jonathan after the late President Umaru Musa Yar’ adua won a
controversial Presidential Election admitted to be flawed by Yar’adua
necessitating the constitution of a Panel to recommend electoral reforms
in the country, became Vice President.
President Yar’ adua was dogged by ill health that culminated in his
transition to eternity on the 5th May, 2010. And by the succession
process prescribed by the Constitution, the baton of power fell into the
hands of President Jonathan who was sworn into office on the 6th May,
2010, by the then Chief Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu after the demise of
President Yaradua on the 5th May, 2010.
It therefore goes without saying that President Jonathan has been in the corridors of Federal Power since 2007.
I wondered how President Jonathan who has been in the corridors of
power (at the Federal Government level) has woefully and spectacularly
failed to muster the political and financial will to see to the
completion of the East-West Highway that is so central to the
socio-economic development of the South/South Region in particular and
Nigeria in general.
I also took a ride along the roads
leading to the Ogbia Local Government Area of the State. It is worthy to
note that Ogbia is the Local Government Area where President Jonathan
comes from. This road is in such a dilapidated and deplorable condition
that one of the bridges thereat has completely collapsed to the extent
that an improvised bridge constructed with timber and bamboo sticks was
used to hold the collapsed bridge to enable light weight vehicles pass
through the road. It is an ugly sight to behold that such a bridge will
be found in Bayelsa State which has large reserves of crude oil and
indeed the State of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
There is such air of discontentment and disillusionment in the State
that a visitor can feel it as you walk around the streets of the sleepy
capital, Yenagoa. The people of the State groan under the weight of bad
They openly complain that Governor Dickson runs a
close government made up of a coterie of sycophants mainly drawn from
his part of Sagbama Local Government Area of the State where he comes
They openly say that all juicy positions in government
and contracts are reserved to close relations of Governor Dickson. They
complain of a financial glut and lack of money.
They say the Government of former Governor of Timi Sylvia was better.
The accusation of clannishness is not only made against Governor
Dickson, Bayelsan also alleged that President Jonathan only reckons with
people from his own group in Ogbia Local Government Area.
people also allege that Governor Dickson runs his government from Abuja
and that he hardly stays in Yenagoa! Bayelsa has very difficult and
challenging terrain and topography.
It is a low and swampy
land. So it requires plenty of money to construct roads and build
houses. To reach many places in the State from Yenagoa such as Brass,
Southern Ijaw etc one needs to travel over turbulent and treacherous
waters on boat for several hours. But with sincere and concerted efforts
these challenges can be overcome or surmounted.
There is no room for excuses. It is do-able because all the city of Amsterdam is built on top of water!