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Echoes Of Development In Bayelsa State: Episode Twenty    (20)

Hurray!!!; Bayelsa State At Twenty-Five: Hmm; Silver Jubilee Celebration!

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Bayelsa State will be twenty-five (25) years come October 1, 2021. As at the time of creation, the State was at the point of near zero level in terms of physical development which literally and empirically implied that we had all ample opportunities to plan, design, develop and monitor the development of the State in a professional and sustainable manner that by now Bayelsa should have been the best planned and developed State in Nigeria. In the same vein, Yenagoa the State capital should have been one of the best if not the best State capital in this country. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case as it stands as the most unplanned and undeveloped State, while in revenue allocation, it is among the first five States of the highest revenue inflow but no corresponding development.

Most worrisome is that our Governors, their appointees, law makers, and other politicians (both past and present) have been going to our neighbouring states like Akwa Ibom, Delta, and Rivers, who share the same revenue profile with us outside internally generated revenue (IGR) and have been seeing the continuous improvements in development in all their cities and major towns with intra and intercity roads most which are dual carriage, yet we cannot learn from them. If I may ask, who and what are we as Bayelsans?

Painfully enough, all the other five states created the same time with us have left us behind to the extent that we cannot see their back despite receiving more than three times revenue allocation each of them gets in corresponding periods. Shamefully, twenty-five years after creation, even the State Capital doesnt have pipe borne water and electricity such that the inhabitants depend on water vendors and personal power generating plants, yet, forced to pay for electricity they do not consume every month. The big questions are:

  1. ARE WE CELEBRATING THE 25 YEARS OF EXISTENCE AS A STATE OR WE ARE LAMENTING AND REGRETING THE MESS WE FOUND OURSELVES?
  2. WHAT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS UNFORTUNATE SITUATION WE FIND OURSELVES AND WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD TO COME OUT OF IT?”

From the desk of yours truly, we are the architects of our own underdevelopment. The following are some of the reasons why we are where we are.

Lack of blue print/work plan or programme that sets a target of physical and human capital development in a sequential order to achieve within the tenure of an administration. No succession plans for development based on adopted blue print of development in phases or sequentially and time lapse reviews.

Leaders do not imbibe leadership characteristics, instead they operate as maximum rulers that do not subject themselves to superior professional ideas so long as such ideas or proposals are not in agreement with their personal desires. A globally renowned entrepreneur said “One of the tests of a leader is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” Leadership integrity exists only when words and action meet. Which way Bayelsa?

Insincerity of leadership. Nepotism and sycophancy have reached an epidemic level. The worst scenario now is the use of media aids and other political marauders to insult and attack critics with a view to silencing them without understanding the message of the critic. Attacking the messenger without understanding the import of the message is an aberration.

Lack of objectivism in our reasoning by both the leadership and followership thereby leading us to the scenario of blind leadership and blind followership. The leader wants to hear positive commendations no matter how untrue they may be and so everybody like to tell the leader what he wants to hear to be favoured, and not what is good for the State objectively.

The demonic enslavement by partisan politics in all actions and interpretations. This is always engendering division and diversion. We are Bayelsans and not party people. Development of the State should be our first principle.

Chiefs, elders, and supposed opinion leaders derogatorily insulting their personalities to becoming errand men and women to Governors and others in authorities at different levels such that they cannot give objective advice. This is one disease that should be cured urgently if we must grow. Remember; the day you begin to insult yourself, others will follow.

Political loyalty and expediency are always preferred to professionalism and productivity.

Unproductive legislative arm that is not objective and proactive. Always compromising and succumbing to the dictates of the executive for personal gains.

Refusing to accept our faults, evaluate them and proffer solutions for effective implementation; instead, we are blaming our failures on others. To put it in simple perspective, we are only looking at the outside as our problems and refuse to look inward which is the root of our retrogression. For now, no algorithm of regression analysis (both linear and non-linear) can determine our level of underdevelopment over the years. Let us imbibe the culture of speaking the truth to one another no matter whose ox is gored.

More than 85% of the politicians in the State dont know the meaning of development and dont have the mindset for development of the State but personal benefits only at the expense of the development of the State. No wonder, a former Governor was always addressing them as “madam must go market appointees”

Too much recycling of indolent people without knowledge and ideas of the offices where they have little or nothing to offer, whereas the State has an array of vibrant, brilliant and highly innovative professionals in all fields of human endeavours that can exploit the advantages of the principles of group dynamics to move the State forward.

Always tagging critics as enemies and being vindictive to them no matter how objective and relevant the criticisms are, reminiscence of ignoring the message and silencing the messenger. This has not helped us in the past, it is not helping us and it will never help us even in the future.

MY ADVICE: My simple advice is for the current Governor to change the narrative. He should engage resourceful and experienced professionals both young and old from the State who may or may not be politicians but professionals in their various fields of expertise and exhibit sincerity to help move the State on the path of accelerated development. Enough of the old unproductive folks in the name of politics. Knowledge is power and ideas rule the world, so we cannot continue with people without knowledge and ideas.

Let us learn from our mistakes. Delta State is just five years older than Bayelsa, while Akwa Ibom is nine years older and they have multiple cities and towns, yet development is going on in all. Here, Yenagoa the State capital still maintains the Status of a glorified slum settlement and near zero development in the other towns. Let us emulate the strides of Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers States that share almost the same revenue profile with us with some differences in IGR, but having more LGAs, cities and towns.

Talking about IGR, Governor Diri should activate the Bayelsa State owned properties in UK, South Africa, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt under the Bayelsa Development and Investment Company BDIC to improve our IGR profile. The comprehensive list of the assets domiciled in BDIC valued to be over two hundred billion Naira (N200bn) was presented in EXCO in 2015 by the then Deputy MD of the company but no revenue has been declared as IGR from this source particularly those in UK and South Africa. The details are in the exco records in the office of the SSG.

While not being unmindful of the enormous challenges and liabilities his predecessor left for him, we earnestly pray to God to help Senator Douye Diri to change the narratives and write his name in Gold in the history of Bayelsa State. What we need as Bayelsans is accelerated development where the facts and the figures share equilibrium as such all Bayelsans both home and in diaspora are enjoined to pray and work objectively for the success of the State in all ramifications, while the Governor owe us a duty for words and actions to meet in all honesty with facts and figures. Please, stop the sycophancy and encourage the Governor. Dont tell me your accomplishments without facts and figures, show me.

Quote of the episode. An American Theologian; Tryon Edwards said: “He that never changes his opinions, never corrects his mistakes, will never be wiser on the morrow than he is today”.

BAYELSA MUST RISE.

GOD BLESS BAYELSA STATE.

From the CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT (CEPAD)

Surv. Furoebi F.S. Akene, FNIS, FNES is a development consultant.

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