A former governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson, is again facing trial in the court of public opinion, over the alleged high cost of the construction of the state airport. The former governor had been roundly criticised even while he was in office, for spending a whooping N70 billion on the airport.
Last week, the newly elected chairman of the APC in the state, Dr Dennis Otiotio had re-opened the matter during an interview with a radio station in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. He had alleged that the cost of the Bayelsa airport, a project of a PDP governor, was over inflated.
His position was re-echoed by one of Dickson’s former aide, Dr John Idumange, who wrote on his facebook wall, that in comparison with other airports, the Bayelsa Airport project was actually over invoiced.
He presented the following analysis:
* Asaba Airport……N21.2billion
Idumange’s position was countered by a certain Bob Yekwe Bouperekumo who tried to defend Dickson on the grounds that the cost of the airport was higher because of the rising exchange rate, but his position was quickly pooh-poohed by other people who told him that the exchange rate as at the time of the construction was even lower than what it is now, when newer airports have been constructed by other states.
Bouperekumo had attacked Idumange, saying, “I don’t want to believe that you don’t know these things. I know you are well schooled, so these figures shouldn’t confuse you.
“You want to force me to believe that the falsehoods in your attacks on the government of the day are deliberate, and if so, it is condemnable. The building of The Asaba Airport, for instance started around 2008.
“In 2008, the value of 1$ was N117. So the N21.2 billion that was used in building the Asaba airport equaled about $181Million. In Buhari’s economy of today, the exchange rate is around 1$ =N472.
“The $181million dollar that was used in building the Asaba airport would equal about N85.4billion. (Again, do your calculation, using 181000000×472)
Is it not clear to you that the Asaba Airport is indeed more expensive that the Bayelsa Airport? Will you compare N85.4billion spent on Asaba airport to the N70billion spent on the Bayelsa airport?”