…As Diri Wants Elders Stance Against Violence Polls
The Bayelsa State Government has cleared the air on the state of its ultra-modern Diagnostic Centre in Yenagoa, the state capital, which had not been open to the public for a while due to some contractual issues.
Governor Douye Diri, who gave the clarification while speaking at the End-of-Year Bayelsa Elders Council meeting held at the Niger Delta Wetland Centre, along Osiri Road in Yenagoa, assured that the facility would soon resume its services.
Represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor said government was compelled to shut down the centre in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as a precautionary measure against getting the facility infested with the infectious virus.
He explained further that the diagnostic center could not be immediately opened after the COVID-19 threat had abated because the initial contractual agreement with the technical consultants in charge of the running the facility had expired.
Governor Diri, however, assured Bayelsans that all the contractual issues had been sorted out and the experts were at site working round the clock to get the facility running again in a couple of weeks.
He said: I can tell you authoritatively that in a couple of weeks, the Diagnostic Center will be up and running again. After a lot of concerted efforts, we have been able to get the company back to site.
“Twin issues made us keep it in the state it was. First all, the COVID-19, and the second was the issue of management after the initial agreement had expired.
“Secondly, the issue of agreement. The initial agreement had since ended, but we have sorted all that out now. As I speak to you now, they are there at site working round the clock to get it back. I believe by the grace of God, in the next couple of weeks, we will get that place running.”
He reiterated his administration’s irrevocable commitment to completion of inherited uncompleted projects, noting that government’s desire to complete some of the projects was being hampered by ongoing litigations in a number of cases.
Speaking on the fast-approaching 2023 general elections in the state and country, the Bayelsa Chief Executive tasked the Elders Council to spearhead the anti-election violence campaign to all the towns and communities in the state.
Governor Diri who specifically mentioned Ekeremor, Southern Ijaw, Brass and Nembe LGAs as being notorious for electoral violence, promised that government was ready to give the necessary support to the Elders Council to carry out the campaign on the need for peaceful elections in Bayelsa.
He said: “We really want you (Elders) to tell our youths that this idea of brigandage and criminality in the name of election, just have to stop. Because it is a civic responsibility. It is not a military responsibility.
“We must put ourselves together to guard against this tendency, especially in the flash Local Government Areas of Ekeremor, Sagbama, Southern Ijaw, Nembe and Brass, which are becoming permanently consistent in terms of electoral violence.
“We believe our elders and traditional rulers have a big role to play. If there is anything the elders want to do by way of organizing enlightenment campaigns to these LGAs.
“We believe the state government is prepared to partner you because we believe that the earlier we educate and enlightenment them the better for us. The idea of chasing out some people out of the community and treating them as conquered people and then takeover to write election results.
“We want you elders, chiefs and traditional rulers to be in the front,.because if we lead in this matter, they will classify it as political vendetta or political intimidation. That is why we don’t want to be in the front but ready to give all necessary support”.
Earlier in his presentation, the Chairman of the Bayelsa Elders Council, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (Rtd.) gave kudos to the Prosperity Administration for the milestone it had achieved on the three major senatorial road projects and other infrastructural works in the state.
John Jonah, who is the immediate past Deputy Governor of the state, called on government to complete some key projects still left derelict like the Tower Hotel and the four gas turbines acquired by the previous administration.
The highpoint of the meeting was the presentation of a special research report on Flood Control and Mitigation, conducted by members of the Nigerian Society of Engineers within the Bayelsa Elders Council.