The first term of Bayelsa State’s incumbent governor, Senator Douye Diri, brought new developments and aligned with the state’s aspirations.
Senator Diri defied all odds, notably campaigns of calumny, election battles, fierce opposition floods, and covid-19, which affected activities, for about half of the first tenure.
On his miraculous enthronement in February 2020, Diri sprung surprises, first, by declaring peace, inclusive governance, and non-politicization of development and, as his policy thrust symbolized by the prosperity mantra, he enhanced the policy missions with his virtues of humility, passion, focus, disposition to peace and security, and warm acceptance of defectors, even from opposition parties.
Diri never forgot how he miraculously became governor. Thus, his mission was to live up to the divine elevation. To start with, he ensured relative peace and security by giving logistic support to conventional security agencies.
He also set up a community safety corps besides overhauling the Bayelsa Volunteers and vigilantes’ outfits.
Not basking too much in the joy of becoming governor Diri matched faith with action in physical and human capital development in various sectors.
As a reward, he and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, received massive endorsements and support from the people, including defectors from different parties. The electorates gave him and his deputy a second mandate on November 11, 2023, and requested more dividends, to which Diri reassured he would do more.
The Prosperity Administration took a two-pronged approach to development, focusing on physical infrastructure and human capital development to achieve comprehensive growth for both the environment and the people. The Prosperity Administration took a two-pronged approach to development, focusing on physical infrastructure and human capital development to achieve comprehensive growth for both the environment and the people.
Key among physical infrastructural projects, many of which have been completed, others nearing completion and some ongoing include all-important three senatorial road projects and bridges to Yenagoa to far-flung areas: Yenagoa–Oporoma–Angiama–Ukubie, Nembe–Brass, Sagbama—Ekeremor Roads. Others are Glory–Drive Phase 2; Ait–Elebele Outer–Ring Road; New Yenagoa City link–Road; Etegwe Axis of Isaac Boro Road; upgrading and beautification of Edepie-Etegwe Roundabout; Imiringi Bridge; Elebele Bridge, Nembe Unity Bridge; Igbedi Road and Extension.
Other physical infrastructure projects include more than 50 New Internal Roads, besides many rehabilitated in Yenagoa Capital City; and the rehabilitation of roads and bridges destroyed by the 2022 flood in Opokuma, Amassoma, Sagabama, and Ogbia. Ernest Ikoli Media Complex with Radio Bayelsa and NDTV studios equipped; Judges Quarters, Transport Terminal; NYSC Camp; Finance house; 150 schools built across the eight LGAs, and lots more.
Meanwhile, among construction projects, that were commenced in the twilight of the first tenure and going on fastly are Polaku Bridge and Sagbagreai Road being Sandfilled; Akaba–Okodi Road sandfilled and being stabilized, besides four culverts and four bridges, and Onuebum–Otueke road at stone base phase. others are Toru–Ebene–Toru–Orua road, which sandfilling has started; Opokumaa–Sagbagreia road at the asphalting stage; pilling ongoing for the Odi shoreline; Ekeremor shoreline project and many others.
The aforementioned and many others not highlighted are in addition to more than 37 projects executed by the prosperity government across the eight LGAs, through house assembly members and the ministry of local government. Such projects, many of which were commissioned during the 2023 guber campaigns, include concrete Link-Roads and walkways; Jetties; Pavillions and Town Halls; Youth Corps members lodge, etc.
To achieve the two-pronged approach to development, senator Douye Diri’s administration tailors its programs to the United Nations’ standard of providing physical infrastructure while also exploring the potential of the people.
Thus, the administration, in the first tenure, geared its social programs towards the UN’s indices of education and skills, self-reliance; motivation of the workforce, freedom, food security, good health, etc. with a sectoral approach, the Diri-led government set out to realize the social missions through key ministries, agencies, and departments.
In that regard, the state ministry of agriculture in partnership with CBN gave incentives, examples, seedlings, and loans to farmers to boost cassava, plantain, and rice cultivation; allocated lands to commercial farmers; set up rice mills at NDU and Federal University Otueke; completed cassava starch factory at Ebedebiri, and rehabilitated the 500-pond fish farm at Yenegwe.
For direct empowerment, the government trains mentors and gives a grant of N200,000.00 to SME operators to boost their investments. this is besides ICT and other skill acquisition schemes, which many youths and women have benefited from, not forgetting the 1000 youths trained in agribusiness at the CSS integrated farm, Nassarawa
The education sector in the state is key to human capital development, hence the Diri-led government built 150 school buildings across the eight LGAs; Airforce secondary school, Zarama; ICT centers for BYCOTECH, BMU, and Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama; collaborated with Microsoft to train 12,000 teachers in ICT and also introduced Izon as a subject in schools. it built 8 classroom story buildings in six communities in Yenagoa City, a model secondary school at Agudama-Epie; five science/technical schools across the state as well as upgraded that of Swali. in addition, the government sustained and improved the state Education Trust Fund, and higher education student loan scheme; and secured accreditation for programs in all state-owned tertiary institutions.
In terms of the workforce, salaries are promptly and regularly paid to civil servants; promotion, increment, pension, and gratuities, as well as call duty allowance to specialized nurses receive premium attention. Christmas bonuses were paid; NLC/TUC’s secretariat as well as civil servants’ restaurants built, just as the training of workers received attention.
There could be no meaningful development without healthy citizens. In this regard, the Diri administration has improved drug acquisition and distribution to health facilities through drones; completed referral hospital projects at Kaiama and Ekeremor; A. psychiatric/rehabilitation Centre, Ogbia; upgraded Ayamasa Health Centre; Egweama Health Centre and Mother/Child Hospital Azikoro in partnership with SDGs, Abuja.
In games and sports, the right motivation, training, and sponsorship by the government have placed Bayelsa contingents top in local and international competitions.
Whereas Bayelsans have returned the duo of Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to power for a second term, to bring new narratives to the state’s physical and human development, many have called for more efforts in the power sector; potable water; continuation of the abandoned Five Star Hotel project; rehabilitation of Peace Park, Elebele Oil Palm Plantation and the state’s Plastic Industry;
Establishment of industries; Seaport; Flood and Erosion Control; Dredging of Epie Creek, construction of more roads and bridges in Yenagoa city based on plan; appointment of competent persons into public offices, to mention a few. These and others, in addition to the completion of big projects initiated by the administration, are some of the tasks in the second tenure.
At various forums, Governor Diri, his deputy, Ewhrudjakpo, and other officials of the government assured the government would tackle such problems in the second tenure while also consolidating its first tenure efforts.
Mr. Ogidi Ben Bara is the publisher of TrackNews, he writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
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