Wednesday, 23 January 2013




Report on the Project Tour and the Pre-Anniversary Press Briefing: The Social Media Perspective


At no time in the 16 years history of Bayelsa State has any single administration embarked on aggressive provision of physical infrastructure in the State. After the first leg of the project Tour, I am convinced that within Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s first tenure, Bayelsa State will host more international events more than Rivers and Akwa Ibom States put together. LET US SUSTAIN THE MOMENTUM AND SUPPORT THE RESTORATION ADMINISTRATION….Idumange John

The Restoration Administration led by His Excellency, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson will be one year old on February 14, 2013. Since the resurgence of democracy, 13years ago, it has become conventional for any administration to engage in some sort of self appraisal to understand not only the critical success factors vis-a-viz the underlying philosophy of government but also chart a clear road map along the road to change.
As part of effort to achieve this, and in the pursuance of the Restoration Development Agenda, government invited Non-Governmental Organization, the Independent Media: Print and Electronic; CSOs and the Social Media to embark on a project tour of the state.
At about 10.00am, Government Henry Seriake Dickson represented by his Deputy Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah, did a pre-anniversary and pre-tour media briefing at the Banquet Hall, Government House Yenagoa.
At the briefing, government took an excursion on how it took office with an empty treasury and tried to institute the culture of probity, transparency and prudence in the expenditure of expenditure of resources. The Deputy Governor also unveiled the priorities of the Restoration Agenda, which hinges on security, physical infrastructure, human Capital Development as well as a holistic development of all sectors to meet the macroeconomic objectives of poverty reduction, wealth creation and employment generation.
Government provided a sector-by-sector analysis of the strides taken so far in all sectors of the economy in spite of the GREAT FLOOD, which halted development and distracted the Restoration Agenda for about 10 weeks. Government averred that although there are very few completed projects in terms of construction, the gains of peace and security and the reconfiguration of the architecture of governance has improved efficiency, effectiveness and workers productivity. These steps; some administrative and others legalistic have opened a new vista in the political development of Bayelsa State. Government assured that it would not relent in her efforts to aggressively pursue the development of the State in all its ramifications.
The onopa ring road construction leading to the Lambert-Eradiri Road to Sani Abacha on the express, radiating to Tombia Junction has also commenced. The project kick-started about a week ago and payment of compensation to owners of property is on-going. The Commissioner for Works averred that evaluation work is being done by the Ministry of Lands and Survey his Ministry will work on the Report of the Ministry of Lands and Survey as to the criteria for payment of compensation. So far the compensation amounted to TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY MILLION NAIRA only. Buildings demolished include a Bank, about 7 No. three storey buildings, shops and other residential houses.
The Works Commissioner further disclosed that Environmental Impact Assessment has been done; but due to the terrain of Bayelsa State, road construction may be a bit higher than that of Delta and Rivers State.
Project sites visitation in Government House by stakeholders’ led by the Hon. Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure. First was the Security House still under construction but nearing completion. This was followed by the Governor’s office, it was demolished during the past administration, though it’s a twin bungalow which comprises the Deputy Governor’s office and that of the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff. The Hon. Commissioner also highlighted the press crew that, the government is waiting for the last design of the structure since initially the first design has to be reviewed due to the past ravaging flood. In less than nine months 9 months the project will be completed, delivered and commissioned.
We were also at the Swali-Ayama Road Bridge which is also under construction, major work is been done and engineers were seen on site working earnestly. We also got to the Isaac Boro Express way which work is been done by Julius Berger, also the Okaka Medium Security Prison, work is at an advanced stage of completion. These are the promises made by the Governor during his campaign and of a truth the Governor is sleeplessly working towards achieving all these and as a working Governor it will not be business-as-usual for contractors.

The Commissioner went further to say “I can tell you the ministry of Education awarded over 200 projects, SUBEB also awarded over 200 projects, I am also aware that the ministry of housing awarded almost a hundred projects, then the ministry of energy has awarded 20 or 30 projects. We use these ones to cater for the needs of our indigenous contractors because for example if you go to the Isaac Boro road, you see what Julius Berger is doing there, the depth they are digging, an indigenous contractor cannot dig to that level before they start sand filling so what will happen is that over time, because of the removal of unsuitable materials, that road will fail easily so we must agree that look this is a good okro soup we want to eat and we must buy good quality Okro and a good cook to cook because if you have good materials and a bad cook cooks it, the soup is also bad. So that is why we are saying that we know where to fit the indigenous contractors into. And that is why we have advertised for some internal roads. That does not mean we are going to give the internal roads to mediocre, we will make sure the indigenous contractors we give it to, are those who have proven by mentor that they can handle the project. So, in terms of indigenous contractors, we are catering for them in other ways. Even though we do not give them gigantic projects because we do not want to fail or falter in these areas. In terms of completion, we have our time lines for the completion of all these projects.
Our ministry is dynamic because the Governor is dynamic. And because he is dynamic, he sets the agenda. And that is why we have a dynamic ministry of Works and Infrastructure because he believes in the lead way to stretch it to whatever limit he wants, he wants efficiency and effectiveness and speed, he gets that. So in terms of completion, each of these projects has their completion time. For example, the Isaac Boro road was initially twenty four months but we have made it thirty months because of the additional work we need to do. The Diete-Spiff road, is about twelve months completion period, our Secretariat has twelve months completion period, the Multi door court house has twelve months completion period the commissioners quarters we are building has six months completion period, the road to Boro town has four months completion period, the NYSC orientation camp has six months completion period, then the Igbogene Dualization has about eighteen months completion, the Ecumenical center has twenty months completion period. So we have a period of completion. In terms of funding, what we are doing is that we look at the projects that are running at the speed and we give them the funds that are required. So if you look at the budget, which is making some peoples tongues to wag, that is only ministry of works that is working, it is not true. What is happening is that Ministry of Works is responsible for between thirty to thirty five percent of the state budget. If you have a Ministry that has that kind of huge budget, definitely they should be the ones doing the work because if they do not work effectively, the budget performance will be below expectation. So if people say it is only ministry of works that is working, it is because the ministry has the highest budget. I can tell you that you can tie some three, four, even eight ministries budget together for you to arrive at the ministry of works budget. It is not because the governor favors the ministry but it is because that is what the ministry needs to do. Look at the cost of doing the Isaac Boro road alone, that is about seventeen to eighteen billion Niara (N17-18b). the Opolo-Elebele is about twelve billion naira(N12b), the Oporoma-Yenagoa is about thirty one billion Naira(N31b), the Ekeremor-Sagbama is about thirty billion naira (N30b), the flyover, the one that is at NNPC is going for about six billion naira (N6b), the Ecumenical center is going for about one point eight billion naira(N1.8b), the road safety road, Diete Spiff road, Hospital, Water board road is going for about one point eight billion naira(N1.8b), the dualization of Igbogene-Sani Abacha is also about two point four billion naira (N2.4b). So when you have this money like that, it a summation of this one that gives the Ministry its annual budget. And some of them you do not have to pay for the whole year, because they are spread over a period. So I think we have made adequate plans in any case, we also know that the Governor is handling the resources of the state like his personal resources, he is managing it in a way that for this period we have been in office, we have saved quite a lot of money and I cannot tell you how much because if I tell you, you will shout despite the debts that we are paying, we have a monthly debt hangover of about of about four point five billion naira (N4.5b) it is going to five billion naira (N5b) some months yet we have saved enough money in this state.
If we are not paying any debt, you can see that our state would have been one of the most liquid states. We do not have internally generated revenue but through our federal allocation, based on the way the Governor has managed the resources of the state, we have what we call an external IGR, because it comes from our allocation we generate that money from our external money which is coming from our part, so I think we are liquid enough to take on all the projects we are talking about. But in any case, you know the Governor, there is nothing, since I knew him in 1995 till date I have not seen any project he has put his hands on that failed. So that shows it is not only having the capacity, but God is behind him. And you know when you are with God, you are a majority. And nothing fails; anything that is under the hand of God never fails.
These are the words of the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure. He is one of the most transparent leaders in the restoration administration.
God bless Bayelsa State.


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