By Lindsay Barrett
Hardly anyone can doubt it if told that Bayelsa State is one of the most important territorial components in the effort to build a wholesome democratic system for the Nigerian nation. The state has become known for the volatility of its administrative profile throughout the duration of the most recent manifestation of the political growth of the nation and has been the source of some of the most dramatic eventualities of the era.
Apart from having been the home base of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the first member of a southern minority ethnic group to become President, several other events have occurred which have encouraged analysts and observers of the Nigerian polity to take particular notice of the Bayelsa State experience.
Paramount among these was the Supreme Court judgment of 2020 which overturned INEC’s award of the gubernatorial election to the APC candidate and awarded the victory to the major opposition candidate Senator Douye Diri who represented the then-incumbent ruling party in the state the PDP. Knowledgeable observers regard this outcome as being in some ways almost “miraculous” since they consider the announced result as having been questionable because of the irregularity of the conduct of the election in two remote coastal local government areas.
Diri was considered to have been cheated of genuine victory by the INEC verdict, but the eventual decision was based on the apex court’s definition of the ineligibility of the APC ticket. As a consequence, those who had attempted to manufacture the regime change in 2020 have been hard at work trying to turn public perception against Diri’s re-election at the next gubernatorial contest, which is due later this year. However, it has become clear in recent months that this would be a difficult task as some of Diri’s policies and his conduct in office have captured public sentiment in the first four years of his tenure.
The primary issue around which public opinion in the state appeared to have coalesced in his favour very quickly arose from his efforts to restore the amount and regularity of public workers’ salaries and allowances, which had been reduced and interfered with by the previous regime. Diri’s reputation for long and selfless service as an advocate and activist in the promotion and empowerment of the indigenes of the Niger Delta communities is well known.
As a consequence, this initiative was regarded as being the fulfilment of his natural inclination for service to the ordinary people once he had been given the opportunity to govern the state. Now that his first term in office is coming to an end it is becoming clear that Senator Diri has endeavoured to put some far-reaching development programmes in place to an extent that surpasses the record of his predecessors and intimidates his challengers.
As a result, the Diri Administration’s determination to improve access by road to the coastal communities of the state is a major innovation. In recent weeks some surprising comments in favour of his performance as governor have been heard from prominent members of the opposition, especially from a senior member of the APC who hails from Brass.
Some close observers of the polity in the state have attributed these statements by erstwhile opponents of Diri to the fact that his road development initiatives have generated popular support for his governance style in the remote rural areas of the state. Because of this, it is widely believed that any attempt to perpetrate the irregularities that were carried out in these remote communities at the last contest will provoke popular resistance.
Analysts and observers of the affairs of the state have adjudged the commencement and implementation of the road-building initiative introduced by Governor Diri to be the landmark achievement of his governorship. They believe this programme will provide the state electorate with good reason to grant him a renewal of tenure for the following reasons.
Bayelsa State, which lies at the heart of the oil-producing belt of the Niger Delta, hosts the original oil wells that laid the foundation of the industry that provided the humongous revenue that various Nigerian governments have used to build the nation. An informed study of the history of Nigeria’s international trade and contact with the outside world reveals that the territory was an important location from which both enslaved human beings and palm oil were shipped in ancient times.
The development of progressive modern society in the region should therefore consist of the development of infrastructure and services in the territory from which effective wealth has been generated for such a long time. Unfortunately, the circumstances in the region have been exactly the opposite and Bayelsa State was established to help reverse the unqualified neglect of the region.
Of its eight Local Government Areas three of its coastal territories which are adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean are recognised as having been major suppliers of hydrocarbon resources but none of them have efficient road links to the state capital of Yenagoa.
The Diri administration has targeted this deficiency for corrective action in spite of the undoubtedly formidable extent of the cost of such development. The LGAs of Brass, Ekeremor, and Southern Ijaw which are affected are to be linked by roads passing through some of the most picturesque riverine terrain in the country.
However, the environmental challenge of construction in that territory is a daunting one. To this end, the state government has embarked upon some of the most demanding contractual agreements ever engaged in since the state was founded.
Sand filling for a major causeway to the ancient town of Brass has already gone a long way, and construction of a major bridge to Oporoma the headquarters of Southern Ijaw LGA has already commenced. The highway to Ekeremor town is already in use, and sand filling of the highway alignment from there to Agge town which is on the Atlantic coast is proceeding effectively.
This state government initiative when coordinated with a programme of community road development being implemented through constituency projects inaugurated by Hon. Fred Agbedi the member of the House of Representatives for the district will enable the completion of these new routes and change the development trajectory of not only the state but also of the entire Niger Delta.
This aspect of the Diri Administration’s performance will encourage the development of economic potentials in agriculture, industry and tourism to be implemented in these territories. Accessibility will enhance the commercial viability of the local markets and improve the standards of educational institutions and health facilities in these hitherto inaccessible communities.
Governor Douye Diri has emphasised the introduction of this programme by placing it at the head of his priorities in governance to an unprecedented level and this has made it obvious that his objective in leadership has been to prepare the state for the future rather than to seek to create a narrative of personal political glory, which many of the previous leaders of the state have been accused of doing.
Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.
In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.
Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”
“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.
“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.
“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”
Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”
Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life
Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.
Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”
Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.
The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.
While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.
According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.
The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.
“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.
“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”
Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.
Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.
Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).
Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks
The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.
The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.
Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.
CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.
Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.
DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.
Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.
Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.
Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.
ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.
CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.
CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.
The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.
CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.
- Source: Independent