The King of Okpoama Kingdom in Brass Bayelsa State, Ebitimi Banigo, has observed that the new training model introduced for ex-agitators by the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) raised the dwindling fortunes of the scheme.
The King, who described Dikio as a rare professional, said the PAP boss’ emergence opened a new chapter for the Amnesty Programme following his reforms, especially in the award of scholarships.
Banigo spoke at the weekend when Dikio paid him a courtesy visit at his palace in Okpoama.
The monarch recalled that in the past the training system for ex-agitators was inadequate because of the lack of post-training plans for them, noting that Dikio came to the rescue with TEM.
The King, who is the Ibeyanaowei of Okpoama, lauded the PAP boss for renewing the hopes and aspirations of the people of the region through the Amnesty Programme.
He said, “No training programme can be successful except there is an endgame. That is why the programme that you (Dikio) have introduced is more beneficial. With your new training there can be transfered skills.
“Previously we see beneficiaries sell their starter packs after training because they see no need for it. Even though that is wrong, it is because of the kind of training they had”.
Banigo, who is referred to as the architect of modern banking, also asked leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta to take full responsibility for some of the failures that had retarded the growth of the region.
He said, “You can blame the government but we need to ask ourselves what have we done to better the region. Some of our actions are the bane of our problems. As leaders and stakeholders, it is not enough to complain, we should be held accountable for some of the failures.
“As a kingdom, we have a role to play, so do others and we believe that your visit here will be the beginning of a new chapter between PAP and the kingdom. We fully subscribe to your vision”.
He appreciated Dikio for the award of scholarships to students of the kingdom and requested for more engagement with his people, especially in areas they had the right expertise.
The traditional ruler also used the occasion to call on the Federal Government to come to their aid and solve the looming problem on their waterways by setting up a taskforce to patrol the sea and end the issue of sea piracy.
Earlier in his remarks, Dikio described Banigo as a role model, who distinguished himself in the banking sector and thanked him for his support and wise counsel to PAP.
He explained that he was in his Kingdom as part of his ‘back to region’ tour, which he introduced after his appointment to deepen the relationship between the PAP and the ancient Okpoama stool.
Dikio assured the monarch that using the existing relationship, PAP would explore the economic potential of the area and charged youths of the kingdom to protect their environment and preserve their heritage.
The PAP boss and King Banigo earlier took part in a tree planting exercise, where they advocated conscious preservation of the environment through planting of trees.