ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has eulogised the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, for the creation of the state 25 years ago.
The governor said the people of his homogeneous Ijaw state remained grateful to the late Nigerian leader for that singular decision regardless of some factors that could have hindered the state’s creation.
Diri stated this during a thanksgiving service on Nigeria’s 61st independence and Bayelsa State’s 25th anniversary at the King of Glory Chapel in Government House, Yenagoa, a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, said on Monday.
Eulogising Abacha, the governor noted that the late Nigerian leader remained a hero to the people of the state and indeed the Ijaw nation.
He said: “Let me use this medium to thank one man. He may not be popular in Nigeria but to me and all of us Bayelsans, we see him as a great man, a hero. The man who by the stroke of the pen signed the creation of Bayelsa State. I am talking about the late General Sani Abacha.
“We acknowledge him as a state and people. By his singular assent, he created this state with just eight local government areas, which was less than the constitutional requirements.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary, he called on the Federal Government to ensure justice and equity in the distribution of resources in the country.
Diri expressed dissatisfaction with the present lopsided federal structure where the federal government takes resources from states and decides what is given to each state at the end of every month.
He said if the country was allowed to practise true federalism, it would enable the states as federating units to control their resources and contribute to the central government.
He also expressed his belief that Nigeria would be a great country if there is justice and equity as each state has abundant resources that can be harnessed for development of the country.
He called for amendment of the Petroleum Industry Act to increase the 3% allotted to host communities to 10% as well as include states and local governments as trustees in implementation of the host community fund.
Describing the Act as a recipe for anarchy in the Niger Delta, Diri said the exclusion of states and local governments in the implementation of the law would give room to unscrupulous elements to capitalise on the loopholes and cause crisis in communities as it would be difficult to determine host communities.
He added: “I call on Mr President to ensure that there is justice, equity, and fairness in the distribution of resources in our dear country. Let there be a new wind in the governance of this country. The PIA is not just and equitable to the people of the Niger Delta and Bayelsa State.
“If the Act will be implemented successfully, let me call on Mr President to also send another amendment bill to include the states and local governments in the administration of the law.”
The governor urged Bayelsans to celebrate and appreciate their past and present leaders, saying that each leader had contributed in various ways to develop the state.
He acknowledged that more needed to be done in terms of development but that the state had witnessed a lot of development compared to what it was.
The governor, who called on Bayelsans to pray for good leaders, also charged leaders at various levels to work hard to bequeath a prosperous society by doing the right things.