March 5, 2024

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More Headache For Dickson …As His Commissioners Go Against Him

4 min read

With less than two weeks to the end of the present government of Seriake Dickson in Bayelsa State, protests have continued to greet the restoration. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government is due to vacate the Creek Haven on February 14, 2020 following the inability of the ruling party to sustain its twenty-one years rule during the last governorship election in the state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) put an end to PDP’s rule on November 16, 2019 as Chief David Lyon, governorship candidate of the APC, defeated Senator Douye Diri of the PDP when the state governorship election was held.
However, the most visible parting gift for the Dickson led eight years restoration government in the twilight of the administration are a gale of protests coming from different unsatisfied groups that had worked for the out-going government in one way or the other.
The most shocking revelation concerning the ongoing protests against the outgoing government, according to our checks, is a perfected plan by serving commissioners in the state to join the fray to protest for their December salaries and severances.
One of the serving commissioners who spoke to TNN in his office at the state secretariat in Yenagoa on the condition of anonymity revealed that his aggrieved colleagues were set to storm the Government House gate at Onopa to demand for their allowances and other entitlements
Stating that he might not be part of the planned protest because of his closeness to the governor, the commissioner, however, admitted that he and his colleagues were not happy with the way they were being treated.
“When they came to my office to intimate me on the plans on ground to stage a protest to the Government House because of our unpaid entitlements, l totally agreed with them even though I may not be part of the protest rally because of my personal relationship with the governor.
“The governor is leaving office on a very sad note, l must confess. You can imagine the number of protests going on, on daily basis because people have been short-changed in different ways and people are not happy.
“Most ministries are as good as dead. A colleague of mine told me the other day that he had not reported at his office since 2018. That means he didn’t reach his office throughout 2019. It ought not be so if things were going on as expected of the government of the day,” he added.
It could be recalled that the series of protests against the outgoing government started early January this year when female footballers playing for the state owned Bayelsa Queens football club barricaded the entrance to the government house, demanding their unpaid allowances to the tune of about N22 million.
It was after the protest, we learnt, that the government was able to cough out N10 million to the Bayelsa Queens.
In a similar vein, the organized labour, last week, blocked the entrance to the Bayelsa state Treasury Building at Onopa and declared that they would not leave until the state government gives concrete evidence that the new minimum wage would be paid with effect from January as promised by the governor.
Chairman of the Bayelsa state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comr. John Ndiomu who led the aggrieved workers to the protest argued that the outgoing government was not sincere about its promise to implement the new salary structure, starting from January because there were no new vouchers to that effect.
Their protest seems to have paid off as the state government through the office of the Head of Service issued a statement directing all ministries and parastratals to prepare new vouchers for the payment of the new minimum wage for the month of January.
Meanwhile, political appointees including special advisers and senior special assistants have declared an endless protest on the outgoing government until their allowances are paid.
They have in several times barricaded the state Secretariat, preventing the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara from going in and out of his office as well as blocking the government house entrance.
The protest took a rather controversial twist and drew the attention and reactions from the public when the SSG was reported to have described the protesting political appointees as ‘hoodlums’.
The political aides to the governor have vowed to continue their protest until their demands for the payment of their entitlements are met.
When TNN visited the state secretariat on Friday, our correspondent observed that the vehicles of the state owned security outfit, Operation Doo-Akpo were stationed at the main entrance of the secretariat as well as the immediate entrance to the office of the SSG to prevent the protests from getting out of hand.
Also, members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational Institutions, Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) branch, have issued the state government a seven-day ultimatum to address its demands or face an indefinite solidarity strike action with the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
Mr Aprebo Clever, state Chairman of NASU SUBEB, issued the ultimatum during a press conference in Yenagoa.
It could be recalled that workers of tertiary institutions in the state are being owed December salaries.
According to Clever, the ultimatum was a follow-up to the 21-day notice the union had earlier given to the state government.
The state NUT leadership had before the resumption for the 2019/2020 academic session directed its members to stay away from the classrooms over poor working conditions and neglect by the government.

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