Ahead of Senator Douye Diri’s inauguration for the second term as the Governor of Bayelsa State, the President of the Ijaw National Congress INC, WorldWide, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, has described his performance in his first tenure as remarkable.
Okaba in an exclusive interview with TNN in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, commended Diri in the areas of security and infrastructural development.
The INC president explained that the governor’s intervention by supporting the conventional security agencies and also putting in place a community peace watch have brought about relative peace in the state.
Putting all the performance indicators together, Okaba said Diri scored average in his first tenure. According to him, “if we have to put all the performance indicators together, we score him 60, 65 per cent on the average because we were bothered as to the issues of peace, insecurity in Bayelsa State and the intervention of the governor by supporting the conventional security agencies and also put in place a community peace watch, there is relative peace.”
He noted that the governor “did something very remarkable. There are some locations in Bayelsa State that were known as the den of robbers and all that; he has transformed those areas; those robbers have left.
“Infact, even addressing sea piracy and all that. Apart from some pockets of insecurity that are also not very permanent features; they come up with political and economic interest, underplaying and counterplaying otherwise.”
On infrastructure, the Ijaw leader said “we have the three senatorial roads, the blue economy; it’s about the coastal region. So, one of the ring roads is leading to the Agge seaport and we believe that will also introduce Bayelsans and Niger Deltans to be part of the blue economy and also you know what road mean, it’s a gate way, investors could come in, transportation, security too. The multiplying effect of infrastructure is very key.
“Then, the INC for instance was in comatose for several years; about eight years, it was Douye Diri’s effort to actually bring back the INC and he has done very well for the INC so to speak.”
Okaba further stated his expectations from Diri in his second tenure. He said “that is why I didn’t give him 100 per cent. For the second tenure I want to believe that he will focus on industrialization of the state.
“Yes, Bayelsans are just civil servants, we have no industries, no factories, but I am sure we have some raw materials. We have like the water hyacinth, you have it all over the place; it’s cleared, monies are spent to clear them, those things have huge industrial benefit.
“We have the Raffia Palm all over. We have our fishes, we have our rice farms and all that, so I expect that we identify those good resources within and transform them into industrial use so that more money will come to the people. Those are the areas I think we need to do.
“Let Bayelsa be identified with some products, to identify that this is coming from Bayelsa and Bayelsa is the Jerusalem of Ijaw people. We also believe that he should be able to bring other Ijaw people from elsewhere to be able to address this same issues.”