Bayelsa State has contributed in no quantifiable measure to the development of Nigeria for nearly 60 years; but it is the State with the least federal presence, according to its chief executive, Henry Seriake Dickson. He is fuming and feeling betrayed, like his people, by the federal government.
He told a visiting Senate delegation from its Committee on Works, led by its Vice Chairman, Senator Clifford Odia, that Bayelsa has the least kilometre of federal roads, pointing out that the Federal Government has utilized resources from the state and the Niger Delta to develop major capital cities in the country.
He said crude oil terminals in locations such as Brass in Bayelsa, Bonny (Rivers) and Forcados (Delta) where oil is lifted daily are not accessible by road.
The Governor therefore called on the National Assembly to spearhead the on-going efforts on restructuring the country to achieve an equity, peace, stability, justice and sustainable development.
Dickson said, ‘’You have seen for yourselves. All you have talked about is the Yenegwe-Kolo road which has been on the drawing board since the time of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, even before the civil war. Let me use this opportunity to once again, remind the Senate of the pitiable situation of our people and to draw attention to that and see what the National Assembly can do not just by way of exercising your powers of appropriation, but more fundamentally, to support the on-going calls for the re-organization of our country to make it more equitable, stable and peaceful.
“We all want a united, big and strong Nigeria but a Nigeria of truth, justice and compassion because if we don’t take the right step to make a peaceful change possible now, a generation is coming up that may make violent change inevitable, which is not what we want.’’
In his remarks, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Senator Clifford Odia, said they were in the state to inspect all federal projects, with a view to assessing their level of completion.
Senator Odia, however, expressed dismay over the poor quality and slow pace of work on the dualization of the Yenegwe-Kolo road project, which has achieved just a dysmal 47%, even though, it was re-awarded since 2009.
He said, ‘’We are here to inspect federal roads in Bayelsa and we have been able to visit a few of such roads. We visited the site of the dualization of the Yenigwe-Kolo road and what we found there to say the least, was very embarrassing. That project was awarded in 2009 but only about 47% of the project has been completed and the quality of work done falls below standard.’’
Senator Odia assured that, the committee would institute a panel to investigate the structural integrity of the road and ensure that provisions are made for the Nembe-Brass road in the 2018 budget.