The people of Bayelsa State are full of expectations from the newly inaugurated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government with Senator Douye Diri as the pilot of the ship. Our Bayelsa State correspondent, JOHN ODHE, went into town and sampled the opinion of some individuals on their immediate expectations from the new government in the next 100 days and came up with this report.
Mr. Jacob Akpane:
In the first place, l thank God for the new government. The previous government, indeed, tried a lot in the area of infrastructure, but with the exception of the area of human capital development and welfare. So the major expectation l have from this new government is on human capital development and the welfare of the people. That should be the first priority of the new government. This is because all the structures and the projects that we are doing, they are done for the people. But if the human beings are not happy; if their welfare is not being taken care of, their little social amenities are not met, things like electricity and water are not there, if there is no money in the pockets of the people, every other thing you are doing will not count. Therefore, the new government should focus on salary payment for civil servants. Promotions should be effected. When a man works for three years and he is promoted, it is expected that some additional money will enter into his salary. The previous government refused to implement promotions. The new government should correct that anomaly. Overheads should be given to the various offices that deserve them because that is what they will use to run the cost of their offices effectively, and not their personal money. Salaries should come as and when due, to motivate the workers. In banking and finance that I read, there is what we call circular flow of income. If a worker is paid, he will not have the whole money to his self. He will go to the market to buy some commodities. By so doing, that money has been circulated to the petty trader. The petty trader would go and buy other things from others. The money is thereby circulating round society.
Mr. Amaetari Mozimo:
l don’t think my expectations are high considering the political terrain. You know how the government came in through the Supreme Court ruling. Most persons never anticipated it and the latest now is that there is a call for a review. So, it’s a period that I don’t think much can be expected rather than calling for peace. Let us see the Bayelsa project as everybody’s project instead of party ‘A’ and party ‘B’ ticket. As it stands now, Douye Diri is the governor though the shock is still there in most persons. What the governor should do now is to stabilize the state. I don’t expect him to be commissioning this or that in the next hundred days. The highest expectation that we need now is political stability because now the system is not stable. The PDP is not stable, the APC is not stable. In that kind of acrimonious situation, how can there be progress? There is nothing you can do. The appointments are coming. People will have reservations here and there. My expectation is for the governor to work towards achieving political stability. How does he do that? I expect him to carry everybody along. His inaugural address was fantastic. He should match words with actions. It is not only PDP people who are in his camp that he should work with. What about the professionals. We are all professionals in our different ways. He shouldn’t think of how to reward people for their political supports. I want the governor to stabilize the system by way of his actions to show that he is fair and just to all regardless of political affiliations. The interest of Bayelsa, not our petty party interests, should be paramount.
Mr. Elijah Igbobie:
We expect new ideas. It is a new government, barely a week and four days. It is not a government that was prepared to rule now considering the outcome of the governorship election held in the state on November 16, 2019. Now that he has been sworn-in by the circumstances of the Supreme Court ruling, l know he is trying to put his house in order. We expect a new twist in governance after he might have set up his government by way of appointing his commissioners and other aides who will assist him to run the government. We cannot say what will actually happen in the next three months but we expect policies that will affect the people positively and directly. We are expectant of good things to come especially improvement in power supply and other human development programmes. We expect projects that will touch the lives of Bayelsans and those who live in the state. I think that is what we expect for now.
Mr. Ayebaitari Easterday:
First of all, anybody that is governor of Bayelsa state is a leader of all. The man shouldn’t look at those who didn’t vote for him and those who voted for him. Of course, it is the mandate of Bayelsans that has placed him as governor of Bayelsa state. So, he should look at the interest of Bayelsans as his priority; most importantly, payment of salaries of civil servants as and when due, payment and implementation of promotion arrears to workers. Why the economy of Bayelsa state has been so crippled to this extent is because the previous administration did not give priority to the implementation and payment of workers’ promotions. The governor should look at that direction critically. Also, it has been a thing of regret that for the past eight years, the government of Bayelsa state has not been paying bursary to Bayelsa state students in higher institutions. This is lamentable. So, Diri should ensure that the payment of bursary to our students in higher institutions is given priority attention. Another direction is the payment of gratuities to retirees. It is also regrettable that people who have served this state for 35 years, a little below that or more, are not paid their gratuities after retiring from the civil service. The hope of all civil servants is to build their future, after retirement, with their gratuities but the previous government never gave them attention. I am not saying that the previous administration never did anything tangible in the state but in this direction, it failed. These are the only areas where the state economy can be oiled up. When workers and retirees get their salaries and gratuities, they go to the market to buy things. The economy will be turning around. Students would also get their monies from their parents. Immediately you fail in these areas, you are destroying the economy of the state. Another thing is the issue of power supply in the state. Power is failing because when you don’t supply enough power to the people and you come at the end of the month for payment, it becomes an issue. So, the power distribution company should be called to order. Commercial activities in the state had been so crippled because there is no electricity in the town. You go to the business centres, they use generators. Therefore, photocopy that would have been N5 or N10 is now N20. Typesetting per copy is now N150 to N200 instead of the original N100 per page. So the issue of light too should be looked at very critically.