ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government has issued a stern warning to the Peretorugbene Community Development Committee (CDC) Caretaker Committee in Ekeremor Local Government Area against engaging in any agreement or contracts with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the state.
The government gave the warning on Friday amid the extension of the tenure of the CDC by three weeks.
Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the warning at a meeting with the Amananaowei of Peretorugbene, the CDC Caretaker Committee, the President of the Peretorugbene Welfare Association, and other critical stakeholders at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
He said the extension of tenure of the CDC was part of the efforts to amicably resolve the misunderstanding in the community.
He assured them that the government would do everything possible to ensure the conduct of a new election in no distant time to usher in a substantive CDC in the community.
To this end, he urged the leaders and entire people of Peretorugbene in Ekeremor Local Government Area to work cooperatively with government to achieve a peaceful CDC election, unity and progress.
According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, lasting peace cannot be achieved in a place where feuding parties to a conflict refuse to make necessary sacrifices in the interest of the community they are struggling to lead.
He noted with concern that Peretorugbene had over time earned a reputation for endless leadership tussles, which militate against its unity and development as a strategic community in the state.
The Deputy Governor, therefore, called on all aggrieved parties to put the collective interest of the community above their personal interests and sheathe their swords for enduring peace to reign.
He said: “Let me once again use this opportunity to call on all the parties not to allow themselves to be judged on the dark side of history, but to make every necessary sacrifice as leaders and stakeholders to ensure that the CDC election is conducted peacefully in the best interest of the Peretorugbene people.”
He pointed out that although the tenure of CDC Caretaker Committee had elapsed, it was expedient to allow them work closely with the Amananaowei and the Peretorugbene Welfare Association to oversee the election process.
“May I, therefore, caution the Chairman and members of the caretaker committee not to dabble into any form of agreement or contract with any multinational company during the three weeks extension period,” he warned.
In his remarks, the Amananaowei of Peretorugbene, His Royal Highness Timi Odikeme, said the community had witnessed some level of peace following the state government’s intervention into the lingering leadership issue.
He pledged to maintain neutrality in the election and expressed his readiness to work with whoever emerges as Chairman, adding that the three weeks period was good enough to produce a new CDC body in the community.
On his part, the President of the Peretorugbene Welfare Association, Hon. Famous Daunemughan, expressed gratitude to the Deputy Governor and assured him that the community was ready to key into the peace initiatives of the government.
Also speaking, the Caretaker CDC Chairman, Deacon Calabar Patrick Dimaro, said he and his committee members were prepared to give the government a supporting hand to achieve its plans for the Peretorugbene community.