One of the founding fathers of Bayelsa State, Admiral FBI Porbeni has said that there is need for the country and Bayelsa State to go back to the drawing board to ensure there is equity and independent federation like before the civil war.
Porbeni said this when he spoke with newsmen at his residence in Port Harcourt where he highlighted salient points as they affect governance in the country. While speaking on the 60th Independence Day and birth of Bayelsa State, he said Nigeria should go back to true federalism to create healthy competition for states within the country.
The retired admiral who expressed displeasure at the current state of things in Bayelsa however encouraged the administrators of the state to go back to the blue print of Bayelsa and follow the plan as Bayelsa clocks 24 on October 1, 2020.
He said: “During Goodluck Jonathan’s time in Bayelsa, advisers were encouraged from outside the political circle which helped the growth of the place; if this is done, growth will be replicated”. He further reiterated that those piloting the affairs of Bayelsa State should look at the blue print of the state, go back to the drawing board, open the creeks and let in free flow of development.
“Bayelsa was made to be a city not a village. Look at how well other states with fewer resources compared to what we have in Bayelsa are doing. So I strongly say that the blue print of Bayelsa should be followed,” Porbeni said.
He also noted that education in the world today has really improved compared to his time, but that Nigeria will have to boost the educational system, add value to it and make it of world class standard to be equal with other developed countries. “We have the resources to improve on our educational system and make it of world class standard. At 60, we should meet the demand”.
He however lamented the fact that Bayelsa has retrogressed in time following the rise in population and advised they go with calculated speed to meet up with other states.
Speaking on the rise in insecurity of the nation, he said he subscribed to state policing so as to make states run smoothly like other states overseas.
“Insecurity kills the economy. We have to rethink ourselves. My boat in Lagos goes to water but in Rivers and Bayelsa states it cannot; where we have water. This act kills the economy,” he reiterated.
According to him, leadership is not enough but followership should be encouraged. He averred that when followership is strong enough violence will be reduced to the background. “I have an NGO that campaigns against kidnap and violence. When somebody is kidnapped, we campaign until the person is released. Our properties are not rented or used because of violence. This should be discouraged through responsible followership”.
Porbeni also spoke on sporting activities in the country, saying the problem with sports in Nigeria was lack of infrastructural maintenance. “As a second lieutenant, I coordinated the stadium in Lagos. We built very fantastic stadium that today lacks maintenance. By the time we built the stadium in Ibadan, most countries did not have standard tracks but today how is the maintenance?
“However, the Porbeni cup which is an inter football sports in Bayelsa, which over the years has died a natural death can be revived if the Bayesians are ready. Admiral FBI Porbeni cup is like celebrating your child’s birthday. I don’t care what I spend. If the state is ready, I am also ready. I am happy when I see youths jumping,” he said.
He further advised Nigerian government and those piloting the affairs of Nigeria to be centralized because people are scared of decentralization. He also advised the youths to be more enterprising instead of going into internet fraud and entertainment.
He added that young people should keep their minds open and stay positive. “In anything you do make sure you are the best. In NDA, I was the best all round in all my courses. When anything happens to you, be positive. In school, I was involved in a sport that was for slim and tall people, but I stayed positive until I started representing my school and my state. So an open mind and working hands can take you far. And above all, Nigeria @60; as we celebrate, we should maintain unity because unity is better than division”, he advised.