;A RARE TOWN HALL MEETING IN YENAGOA .

                  …….Chief Sylva, Gov. Diri led stakeholders for Development Talks.

By Isaac Money-Yenagoa 

The meeting of Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of state for Petroleum, and  governor Douye Diri  of Bayelsa state  in a convivial atmosphere at a stakeholders meeting in Yenagoa  was seen as a good development for the state which had witnessed political turmoil between top leaders of the two major political parties in the state, the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) and All Progressive Congress(APC) in the last eight years.

To the chagrin of  doubters who felt governor Diri came on board through ex-governor Seriake Dickson  who had most times given the impression that he had unfinished political axe to grand with Chief Sylva. Hence the feeling that Diri might not attend the stakeholders meeting organised by the Petroluem ministry  to discuss issues of development for the state..

The two leaders however surprised the doubting  Thomas’s as the duo met even previously since  the Diri-led administration came on board and  the coming on board of Sylva as Minister  respectively .

Before now , many  sees their body language towards each other  as quite impressive and away from  the usual war war situation exhibited by the previous Dickson-led administration.

At the town hall meeting where the two leaders re-echoed a way forward for the development of the state, Chief Sylva revealed what the President Mohammadu Buhari -led administration has up its sleeves for the state  even as governor  Diri  and other stake holders again called for the relocation of multinational oil Companies’  offices to the state.

Another surprise gift by the duo for Bayelsans  at the meeting was the advocation  for political leaders to eschew political differences to ensure development of the  state.

In the  eight years of the immediate past administration such sincere talks never surfaced between a highly placed political leader from the state’s extraction at the Federal level.

Commenting on  the frank and sincere talks exhibited by the two leaders and the pictures taken thereafter,  an indegene of the state commented thus :  “Beautiful  images like these have continued to flood the net with great admirations. Kudos to our political leaders” . The  comment is one among many that commented on the victory of love between Minister Sylva and governor Diri which has made the governed or the electorate excited and with great expectations ahead.

The Special Town Hall  meeting in Yenagoa, which was the fIrst of its kind between a Federal Minister of the state’s extraction and an incumbent governor of the state in the last eight years,Chief Sylva    reechoed the need for  Bayelsans , especially the elites to discard  political differences and work together for the development of the state.

Flanked by governor Douye Diri, Simbi Wabote Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, and other top government officials, Sylva who underscored the need for all to work to make Bayelsa a peaceful and investment-friendly destination reeled out some lofty developmental projects  including  some ongoing federal projects to create job opportunities for youths in the state. 

Also in the. offing  are the Brass fertiliser plant, the Oil and Gas Industrial Park project at Ogbia, the Oloibiri Museum and the petrochemical plant in Polaku were targeted intervention projects, added Sylva who also  assured that action would be taken on the Nembe-Brass road, and promised that all ongoing projects being handle by the Petroluem ministry would be completed.

Like Sylva, governor Douye Diri, in his remarks also called for harmony among politicians for the development of the state, and  for the umpteenth time , called on the Multinational oil,companies to relocate their headquarters to the state, and  commended  President Mohammadu Buhari for completing the 17-storey  secretariat Complex of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa.

Emphasising on the importance of relocating  the International oil companies’  head offices to Bayelsa and other states , Diri said  “The relocation of such offices will further cement peace and attract investments to the region as there is no total peace anywhere in the country as shown by the EndSARS disturbances.

Disturbed by redundancy of the state’s Airport which has not been in use since its commissioning , governor Diri called for aproval of the license for it to function , as well as the construction of the Nembe-Brass road, which he described as strategic to the operations of the Brass Fertiliser plant project.

The governor further harped on the need for collaboration between the state and federal governments to collectively pursue development efforts rather than politicising issues of development. 

“Let us move away from politics of deceit, bitterness, hatred and lawlessness. We should be mindful of what we are handing over to our next generation”, sounded  Diri  in a tone depicting need for peace  

“Let us put aside our political differences and come together to work for the collective interests of our people.”

The governor equally commended the federal government for initiating such a meeting and emphasised the need to interface more with the people in order to avoid speculations and protests.

He urged President Buhari to appoint a substantive minister for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources or elevate the serving Minister of State, adding that the people would continue to agitate for a better deal from the centre but through legitimate means.

“Let us have this paradigm shift from bitterness to development. Going forward this should be a model and not wait for a directive from Abuja before we meet to dispel rumours.”

In his remarks, the  Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr Simbi Wabote, said the board was playing a significant role in creating investment opportunities that provide employment for the people.

The event which was Christened. “Special Town Hall meeting” spurred key stakeholders to demand better federal government’s presence to fast track overall development of Bayelsa state.

The stakeholders   also called on federal government to revisit the abandoned federal secretariat and housing projects among other federal infrastructure lacking in the state.

Others who presented similar demands at the event included Clever Inodu, chairman of the Central Zone, Ijaw Youth Council, and the council’s spokesman,  Ebilade Ekerefe, who stressed the need for constructive  engagement of the youths was vital to sustaining the peace and security in the Niger Delta.

The youths also reechoed the relocation of multinational oil company head offices to the region, stressing ‘”were are still awaiting for the fulfilment of the federal government’s directive to the oil multinationals to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta.

King Joshua Igbugburu, Pioneer chairman of the state’s Traditional Rulers Council, elder statesman, Chief Thompson Okorotie, representative of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Chief Nengi James, expressed concern over the number of abandoned federal projects in the state.

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