PDP’ll Bring Desired Change In 2023 – Gov. Diri

Bayelsa State  Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would bring about the desired change Nigerians are yearning for in 2023.

Governor Diri also advocated the strengthening of the party from national to the state level in order to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre in the next general election.
He stated this during a meeting with the executive of the PDP South-South zone in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, the governor noted that PDP was the only reliable alternative party that could provide purposeful leadership at this point in time.

Senator Diri, who decried the worsening insecurity in the country, pointed out that Nigeria was sliding downwards on a daily basis and it behoves on the party to rescue the nation.

His words: “Nigeria is ripe enough for change. We have experienced the change that the APC brought and now it is time to change the change.  Today, there is insecurity and killings in almost every part of the country and Nigeria is sliding downwards on a daily basis.

“PDP is the only veritable and reliable alternative party for now. So, you and I have been given the mandate to rescue this nation. We have the best times to bounce back to the national scene.
“Our appeal is that the APC should allow the people to determine who becomes their president in 2023. We don’t want Nigeria to go down.”

Senator Diri also cautioned that the party and country’s interest should be placed above personal considerations in the choice of a presidential candidate, noting that political power should be utilised to positively impact lives as it was ephemeral.

On the proposed use of electronic registration for party members, he urged the zonal leadership to prevail on the national leadership to kickstart the process.
While commending the zonal leadership for its role in getting Edo State back into the PDP fold, Diri said South-South would remain a stronghold of the party.

While highlighting some of key projects being undertaken by his administration, particularly in the area of road infrastructure in the last one year, he assured that they would be ready for commissioning next February.
The projects include construction of the Yenagoa-Oporoma and Sagbama-Ekeremor senatorial roads, construction of a media complex to accommodate the state-owned radio, television and newspaper outfits, establishment of technical colleges, renovation of schools among others.

In his remarks, the PDP National Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih, commended the Diri administration for enhancing the state’s security architecture with the provision of operational vehicles.

Chief Orbih, who expressed concern over the security situation in the country, urged the governor to collaborate with his colleagues in the zone to put in place a security network to protect lives and property.
He also applauded the development strides of the governor in the area of infrastructure development, noting that the achievements of the PDP governors would boost the party’s campaign strategies.

Orbih, however, condemned in strong terms the recent nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari of a known APC member as commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission, describing the development as a threat to the country’s democracy.

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Bayelsa To Set Up Environmental Guards

In order to check deforestation and other environmental infractions, Bayelsa State would soon set up a body to be known as Bayelsa State Environmental Vanguard.

Governor Douye Diri, who disclosed this on Tuesday during the celebration of this year’s World Environmental Day in the state, lamented the degradation of the environment  through oil exploration and exploitation activities by international oil companies, illegal oil bunkering and other unhealthy environmental practices.

The governor, in a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, urged Bayelsans to shun practices that are inimical to preservation of the environment. 
He called for concerted effort to preserve the environment, adding that  a healthy environment is fundamental to the survival of the people.

He said: “Let me seize this medium to call on Bayelsans and residents to individually and collectively ensure behavioural change. Take responsibility of watching over our environment. I put you all on notice to defend our environment. Degradation of the Bayelsa environment must come to an end.
“The fight to preserve the integrity of the environment is global. But in Bayelsa, let us localise it, own it, speak it and work it.”

Governor Diri directed the Commissioner for the Environment to constitute a team for the establishment of a Bayelsa State Environmental Vanguard, which would be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a clean and healthy environment. He also directed the ministry and the state Physical Planning Board to ensure that all development plans had green areas to mitigate the heat caused by climate change and global warming.

He called on oil companies, government officials and well-meaning individuals to collaborate with government to achieve his administration’s policy of restoring the ecosystem.

In his goodwill message, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly represented by chairman of the Committee on Environment, Hon Ben Ololo, noted that the state’s environment was highly polluted due to unhealthy practices and called for tree planting, cleaning of drainages among other measures to preserve a healthy environment.
In a welcome address, the Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Iselema Gbaranbiri, re-emphasised the importance of a healthy environment to healthy living and urged the oil companies to be committed to the restoration of the degraded environment due to oil exploration.

Gbaranbiri warned against illegal felling of trees, which he said was  leading to deforestation of forest in the state.
Highpoints of the event were poem recitations on the environment by students of different secondary schools in the state as well as a lecture delivered by Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Niger Delta University, Prof. Ibaba S. I Ibaba.

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Former US Congressman Proposes Rural Development Model For Bayelsa

A former lawmaker representing the State of New Hampshire in the United States Congress, Ambasdor Richard  Swett, has proposed a rural development  model for Bayelsa State. 

Speaking in Government House, Yenagoa, during a courtesy visit, Ambassador Swett said the development model would create jobs, housing, electricity and food among other necessary requirements for people of the state.  
A press release issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted Ambassador Swett, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Climate Prosperity Enterprises Solutions, as saying that the model was hinged on what he refered to as Total Environment Controlled Agriculture Plant (TECAP)

He said the facility is five-storey tall built on a hectare of land with agricultural activities inside and capable of producing 400 times what could be grown in a regular farming season on same size of land. 
He also explained that the TECAP facility, which would be a zero-carbon emission community, would have different businesses that inhabitants would benefit from and sustain the facility.

Swett further stated that each community would have a minimum of 3,000 persons that would have shares in the businesses that operate there.

The former congressman said funds for the project would be sourced from development agencies and other partners to make it a reality. 

He noted that his state of New Hampshire shared a lot of similarities with Bayelsa and other places where similar projects had worked, expressing optimism that it would work in the state with commitment from the government. 
Responding, Governor Douye Diri expressed appreciation to the former lawmaker for his choice of Bayelsa for the project, assuring that the government would do its part to make it work. 

He stated that the presentation was in line with his administration’s prosperity agenda, which is keen on attracting foreign direct investment.
Diri said he was excited about the model which, according to him, would attract private funds to the state.  
The governor set up a committee to be chaired by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo (SAN), to interface with the former lawmaker and his team. 

Other members of the committee are the Commissioners for Agriculture, Health, Power and Finance as well as the Technical Adviser on Public Private Partnership, Managing Director,  Bayelsa State Electricity Company and the the Principal Secretary, Government House, Mr. Irorodamie Komonibo.

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Democracy Day: My Administration Will Change Bayelsa Narrative – Gov. Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has expressed his administration’s determination to change the developmental narrative of the state.

Governor Diri spoke on Saturday in Government House, Yenagoa, during his maiden media chat that was broadcast live on all Yenagoa-based radio stations.

The media interaction was part of activities to commemorate this year’s Democracy Day celebration. 
The governor, in a press release by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said democracy was about the people and that Nigeria had come a long way with 22 years of uninterrupted civilian rule, which he observed had not been smooth but worth celebrating. 

He noted that the urban renewal programme among other projects and policies of his administration were part of the drive to give the state a new look and make it more attractive to investors.
Governor Diri said the state had a lot of tourism potential and that his government was open to discussion and ready to sign memorandum of understanding with partners to develop projects in the tourism sector.
He explained that the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in the state capital was in line with the administration’s urban renewal policy.

He expressed concern over the proliferation of shanties across the state capital coupled with the obstruction of traffic by traders along the major roads, which he said was unacceptable.

The governor noted that as a result of the demolition, sanity had been restored in most of its major markets in areas like Swali, Kpansia and Tombia-Etegwe, adding that some of such illegal structures serve as hide-outs for criminals.
On the issue of the federal government’s infrastructure development refund to the state, Senator Diri clarified that the actual amount it received was N27.5 billion and not N38.4 billion as being speculated.

He further explained that the total refund due the state was N38.4 billion but that according to the federal government, its release would not be possible in the next four years and offered the state a second option of a discounted amount of N27.5 billion through the Debt Management Office, which it got last December.

The governor also said the refund had been committed to constructing critical capital projects such as the Yenagoa- Oporoma road in the Bayelsa Central Senatorial District and the Sagbama-Ekeremor  road in Bayelsa West as well as the Opolo/AIT-Igbogene ring road project, the dualised Glory Drive-Onopa road, the Nembe unity bridge and the installation of street lights in the state capital among others.

On the state-owned international airport, Senator Diri announced that commercial flights would commence next month as it was in partnership with United Nigeria Airline to operate daytime flights pending when the runway lights for night flights would be installed.

Responding to a question on the President’s recent directive to revive cattle grazing routes across the country, Diri said there were no such routes in the state.

He explained that although he was not countering the federal government’s decision to resuscitate grazing routes, his administration had put in place a legal framework to ban open grazing and movement of cattle on foot.
The Bayelsa governor also emphasised that the southern governors had adopted the same position on the issue as part of measures to check farmers/herders clashes across the country.

Diri maintained that his government could not afford to expose its citizenry to the looming danger.
His words: “For us, there are no cattle grazing routes in Bayelsa State. Our people are traditionally and occupationally fishermen. The idea of cattle grazing routes in Bayelsa is very strange to us in this part of the country.”

Senator Diri, who pointed out that in a federal system of government, states have rights to enact laws to regulate the activities of its people, stressed that the prohibition on open grazing of cattle would be fully implemented in the state.
“There may be cattle grazing routes in the north but what is applicable in the north may not be applicable to us in the south. I don’t want to believe we are running a unitary system of government.”

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Bayelsa Seeks FG’s Assistance On Nembe-Brass Road

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the state needs the assistance of the federal government and relevant stakeholders to construct the Bayelsa East Senatorial road from Nembe to Brass given the huge cost involved. 
Speaking during the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, Senator Diri said as part of efforts to make the road a reality, he has met senior federal government officials in Abuja, whom he said responded positively to the state’s requests. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying the importance of the Bayelsa East senatorial road cannot be over-emphasised given the socio-economic relevance of the area to people of the state and the country.

He said all hands needed to be on deck to make the project a reality. 
Governor Diri remarked that relying on the Presidential Executive Order 7, the federal government embarked on construction of certain road projects with  private organisations in parts of the country  and appealed that same gesture be extended to Bayelsa. 

He said written presentations have been made to the federal government and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to ensure that the taxes that would have been paid by Agip and others to the state are used for construction of the Nembe-Brass road.

He assured that the state government was ready to play its part to ensure that the road was constructed and called on Bayelsa legislators at the federal level to support the move in the interest of the state and country. 
His words: “The Federal Government out of Presidential Executive Order 7 is constructing a road alongside some private companies in the case of the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas project in Rivers State. Federal Government is also doing same in the western axis in Lagos and other areas. So we are appealing to the Federal Government to extend same gesture to us.

“As a government, we are prepared to also bring in whatever is our  deal into the project. So, on your behalf, I went to Abuja to meet with very senior officials of the Federal Government and I can report to you that they received us very well. If all our requests are granted, from next year we can kickstart the Brass road project.
“I want to use the opportunity to call on all well-meaning Bayelsans from all walks of life to support this noble idea by this government, particularly those who are representing us at the federal level. Please speak on behalf of the people of your state.”

Diri emphasised that the doors of the state government would remain open for constant consultations with relevant stakeholders, particularly the oil companies operating in the Bayelsa East Senatorial District until the road is constructed.

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Bayelsa Gov Advises Appointees On 62nd Birthday Celebration

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has advised his appointees to join him in prayers for God’s wisdom and direction to govern the state instead of spending money on congratulatory messages in the media or on celebration.
Governor Diri, who turns 62 on June 4, said in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, on Wednesday, that what he needed on his birthday was prayers to remain focused as the task ahead was enormous.
He urged all his appointees to be patient and remain committed to delivering on their assignments as the time for celebration would come.

Governor Diri explained that he was not against private individuals or corporate organisations congratulating him in the media but that state funds need not be channeled to such gestures.
“At this time, what we need is to focus on the governance task on our hands. We also need prayers for God’s wisdom and direction.

“So, I advise my appointees at all levels to join me in praying for wisdom to govern our state and to rightly deliver on our mandate. I’m not usually  a birthday celebration person. Being governor has not changed that. My appointees as government officials need to know this too. 

“Private individuals and corporate organisations are not under any obligation to congratulate me if they choose to but I’m against any gesture that would result in misuse of government funds,” he said.

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Gov. Diri Eulogises Late Kalama

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described late High Chief Felix Pere Kalama as a man who lived an impactful life worthy of emulation.

Senator Diri, who eulogised the former foremost banker and politician on Saturday during a funeral service at Agbere in Sagbama  Local Government Area of the state, said the large number of people that came to pay their last respect to the deceased was proof of his impact on those he worked with.

He admonished the gathering that the only legacy anyone can bequeath are the good deeds during your lifetime.
His words: “The only way we can write our testimonial and be remembered is to leave good legacies. We are encouraged that Pere Kalama led a good life worthy of emulation.”

Governor Diri, who said the deceased left at a time the state needed to tap from his wealth of experience in politics, prayed that God would grant the family and the community the fortitude to bear the loss.

Earlier in his exhortation, Pastor of the Refined People’s Assembly, Ken Bitere,  reminded the people of the inevitability of death and the need to positively impact on society and leave a good legacy.

Pastor Bitere urged the people to embrace Jesus Christ and positively touch the lives of others.
High Chief Pere Kalama, who died on April 21, 2021, was born on July 21, 1951 to parents from Agbere and Asamabiri communties in Sagbama Local Government Area.

He had his early education at Agbere and Asamabiri and later Ghana and London.
He was a banker, who served in various capacities and was later appointed as Executive Director of the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue.

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Gov. Diri Tasks INC On Ijaw Nation’s Challenges

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has urged the new leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to build linkages at home and abroad in order to successfully address the Ijaw nation’s challenges.

Governor Diri, who expressed confidence in the capacity of the new leadership to effectively champion the cause of the Ijaw people, applauded their change of strategy in seeking a better deal in the Nigerian state.
He spoke on Friday during a courtesy visit by the executive council members of the INC to Government House, Yenagoa.

The governor in a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, challenged the ethnic nationality apex socio-cultural body to foster unity among all Ijaws and speak with one voice, particularly at a time that other ethnic nationalities were taking positions on matters affecting them.

He also charged the INC to build consensus with National Assembly members of Ijaw extraction and other stakeholders to ensure that they adopt a common position on all critical issues.
He said: “We would not expect our members of parliament to be speaking in varying tongues with the INC and even with the government of Bayelsa State. You need to synergise for all to be on one page. 

“What we should cherish most now is our unity and that is the only way we can speak with one voice. Let it not be a one-off event but a continuous engagement with members of the National Assembly.”
Senator Diri, who also urged the INC to always adopt diplomatic approach in fighting for the yearnings and aspirations of the people, said the Ijaw nation would not play second fiddle to any ethnic nationality and equally not be shortchanged by the international oil companies.

“If the Nigerian state continues to explore and exploit unjustifiably and visit the injustice that we are seeing today and continue to terrorise and intimidate us, then violence can only be a last resort.

“The Ijaw nation will not play second fiddle to any other ethnic nationality. Our territories are very clear. Let no map of any other ethnic nationality include one fishing port of the Ijaw nation. I am sure that you will stand to defend Ijaw nation across the states where the Ijaws are natural owners of the land.”

According to the governor, the Ijaw nation should not be seen stooping down to beg for crumbs from the international oil companies but rather be seen as partners in the exploration and exploitation of its God-given resources.
He also expressed gratitude to Ijaw traditional rulers, community leaders, youths and other stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful, transparent process in electing the current INC executive council while restating his position for a non-aligned and non-partisan congress.

In his remarks, the INC President, Prof, Benjamin Okaba, said the visit was to inform the governor of the body’s plan to chart a new course for the Ijaw nation.

Prof. Okaba noted that the congress would interface with stakeholders across the six states where the Ijaws are indigenes and build consensus on critical issues as well as create legitimate structures from the community to zonal level.

He said the congress would convoke an all-Ijaw summit and had set up an 11-man committee with Rear Admiral Geoffrey Yanga (retd) as chairman saddled with the mandate of providing direction for the INC.

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Electronic Voting Will Ensure Rancour-free Elections In Nigeria, Says Gov Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the hitch-free conduct of the recent Ijaw National Congress (INC) election indicated that Nigeria can hold rancour-free national elections.

Governor Diri stated this on Friday during the inauguration of the new INC leadership at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa.
He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting to avoid conflicts during elections.

A statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, noted that the failure of the country’s electoral body to adopt e-voting has led to politicisation of revered state institutions and disrespect to such institutions.
The governor also said that the adoption of e-voting would provide an opportunity for Nigerians in the Diaspora to choose their leaders through the ballot.

His words: “I am an advocate and supporter of electronic voting system. Many Nigerians have been denied the right to vote because they are not in Nigeria and cannot participate in choosing their leaders.
“It is a challenge to Nigeria. Let the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be challenged. If the Ijaws can do it, the Federal Government can also do it.

“If Ijaws can enfranchise Ijaws in Europe and America to be part of deciding who leads them, INEC can equally do it. It will check violence, criminality and state institutions being politicised.”

Giving his charge to the new executive council of the apex Ijaw socio-cultural body, the governor stressed the need for the body to advance the cause of Ijaws to achieve equity and fairness in Nigeria.
In his inaugural address, the new INC President, Professor Benjamin Okaba, assured that the body would work for the progress of the Ijaw people.

Prof. Okaba also said  the INC fully supported the recent pronouncement by governors of southern Nigeria prohibiting open grazing in the region, saying the organisation would provide the necessary support to ensure adherence to laws aimed at protecting the people and their land against invasion from external forces.

Okaba, who stated that INC would collaborate with other ethnic minorities that share the same experiences with the Ijaws to achieve their dreams, said the ethnic group was aware of surreptitious moves by some groups to annex territories in the Niger Delta because of its resources, but that no part of Ijaw would be ceded or conquered.
“The INC wishes to use this special occasion to and in an unequivocal term remind and warn such characters that the Ijaw territory was never and will never be ceded or conquered. We belong only to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Should there be a compelling necessity to pull out of the present Nigeria, we shall go our separate ways in fulfilment of the dreams of our ancestors,” he said.

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Anti-Grazing Law: Gov. Diri Commends Bayelsa Muslim Community

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commended the Muslim community in the state for their support to his administration’s anti-grazing law.

Governor Diri gave the commendation on Thursday when he hosted Muslim faithful in Government House, Yenagoa, to mark this year’s Id-el-Fitri celebration. 

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted the governor as saying that he was pleased with the participation of the Muslim community prior to the passage of the bill and the subsequent enforcement of the law.
He stated that the anti-grazing law was not against any ethnic group but to ensure peace and order in the state.
The governor particularly thanked them for joining hands with government, citizens of the state and adherents of other religions to keep the peace and ensure mutual coexistence.

He said: “I like to commend you for your peaceful disposition throughout this period of fasting and prayer. I like to also appreciate and commend you for supporting and helping the government to keep the peace in Bayelsa State.
“I recall that even when we sent the Executive Bill to the House of Assembly on the burning issue of open grazing, you were part of it. You participated even at the level of the committee for the public hearing.

“When issues arise, you have never taken them to yourselves to seek help from other sources. You are always law abiding either to the constitution of Nigeria or the laws made by the government of Bayelsa State. You were holding meetings before and after the bill was signed into law. The law is not against Muslims nor anyone in our society but to ensure that we live peacefully and that there is order and mutual respect for the various parts that make up Bayelsa.”
While describing Nigeria as a circular country, Senator Diri said everyone was free to practice their religion and to eke out a living peacefully.

“Across humanity, you have criminals and all kinds of persons. Therefore, I like us to moderate the way we speak and the way we use words in condemning a particular religion or profiling of any ethnic group. We have different characters across various religions and ethnic groups.

“The most important thing is our ability to tolerate each other and our ability to resolve all issues when conflicts arise.”
Responding to requests made by the delegation, Governor Diri approved a bus for Muslim community and promised to address others when the economy of the state improves. 

Speaking earlier, the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Bayelsa State, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo, commended the governor for his fatherly role in relating with different religious organisations.
Alhaji Otobo said this has endeared the governor to him and other Muslim faithful and strengthened their resolve to maintain peace and nip religious tension in the bud. 

He appealed for more support from the government towards building a befitting central mosque as well as sponsorship of Muslims to pilgrimage.

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