John ODHE, Yenagoa
The one-year anniversary of the governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri has continued to generate reactions in the public domain.
While government officials in the state are of the belief that the Prosperity Government has done well in the past one year, those on the other side of the divide, especially the opposition, share their views from the opposite direction.
Government officials have in different fora defended the performance of the Diri led government, citing the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 flood, the ENDSARS protest and litigations as reasons why the government did not hit the ground running as expected.
The officials equally rate the present administration high in the areas of prompt and regular payment of salaries to civil servants as well as resumption of payment of backlog of gratuities to retirees which, according to them, had been forgotten before now.
Also, a politician and public affairs analyst, Mr. Alaowei Opukeme is optimistic of holistic development as the governor Diri led government approaches one year in office.
According to him, Diri, within the period under review, has set high expectations in unifying political differences among politicians in the state.
He, however, noted that several factors were responsible for the slow pace of development in the past one year which he said include: the sharp drop in global prices of crude oil due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising debt profile in the state due to loans which affected the early days of the administration.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Einstein Oribo, described the past one year of the present government as a failure.
Oribo, who is a former aide to the immediate past governor, Seriake Dickson, told our correspondent in a telephone interview that the governor has not done well in the past 12 months.
His words: “The governor has not done really well. On infrastructure, obviously, it’s not something we should be contemplating at all. We have not seen any, except it is built in the spirit world.
“Except the ones that are built in the books, on the social media and on the television, we have not seen any infrastructure on ground. In that aspect, I think I should be pardoned if I use the word that he has failed woefully.
“On other areas, he has not also given us a guide. He has not given us a policy statement on any issue. To me, he has not even told us where his government is going to. He just came up with the phrase ‘Prosperity Government.’
“How do you achieve the prosperity? In which area of the prosperity do you want to achieve? Is it in the health sector or in the education? Is it in welfare or all the rest? He has not mentioned. Prosperity is a vague word. On the aspect of policy making, l would say he has also failed.
“When it comes to insecurity, we have not experienced what we are experiencing in Bayelsa the way it is now. Let me be fair to him at this point in that regard. It’s obvious he has not even sat down with those responsible for security issues. It means he has also failed woefully.
“The only area where we can say he has done a little or fairly good is the aspect of payment of salaries which is a statutory obligation. It is the right of workers to earn their salaries. So, I don’t see that as doing anything good for Bayelsans.
“I have not experienced any month that the federal allocation didn’t come to Bayelsa state. I am not one of the people that applaud governors for paying salaries because you are elected to pay people that work as the Bible says, the workman deserves his wage.
“It is only on that aspect that the social media guys are saying he is doing well. I wonder if we have been reduced to a salary paying state.
“Now, when it comes to comparing the amount of money that has come into the state with whatever thing that we can see on ground, the government would want to blame it on political distractions and litigations but for now, those litigations are over.
“But is that what was actually taking our monies? Is Bayelsa State supposed to fund political litigations? They should explain to us. Was the case between the Bayelsa State government and the political parties or between Douye Diri and other political parties?
“If his doing nothing is as a result of legal matters, then he should tell Bayelsans that he used the state’s funds for his legal issues. So, on that, he has also failed as the case may be.
“So, to me, if l should rate him for the past one year, we have never experienced a governor that had so failed in his first one year. I must be fair to the former governor, Chief Henry Seriake Dickson, his first one year was very promising. It was later he deviated.
“Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s first one year in office was another wonderful one. Governor Timipre Sylva’a first one year was another wonderful one.
“If you ask me to rate the first one year of all the governors of Bayelsa state, there is none that has failed like Douye Diri. He calls it prosperity government. We all live in Bayelsa, there has not been any impoverished time like we have experienced in the past one year where every face you see is frowning.
“For now, that is the governor God has given to us. We keep praying for him, that God should give him wisdom. But, payers alone cannot work. The person at the helm of affairs must be prepared to take his responsibilities.”