Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri has said his administration’s execution of the Nembe-Brass Road project was not prompted by political consideration but for the economic benefits of the state and country.
Governor Diri added that the decision to embark on the project, which is a federal road in the Bayelsa East senatorial district, was borne out of his strong desire to create access to the Atlantic Ocean in order to harness its abundant natural resources.
Diri stated this on Saturday when he led the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship campaign team on a visit to the palace of the Okpo XXI of Okpoama Kingdom, King Ebitimi Banigo, at Okpoama in Brass local government area of the state ahead of the November 11, 2023, governorship election.
Okpoama is the hometown of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva.
A statement by his chief press secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said the governor, who kicked-off his re-election campaigns from the Brass council area at the weekend, stressed the need to diversify the state’s economy away from crude oil and gas as they were fading assets.
He noted that from his days as pioneer national organising secretary of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), he had noticed the level of poverty and under-development in Ijawland and vowed to change the narrative if God gave him the opportunity to serve the people.
According to Diri, “When l became governor, l wrote to the federal government and the Nigeria Agip Oil Company on the need to collaborate with the state government to construct the three critical senatorial roads. These are not projects that only the Bayelsa government can handle because the cost runs into hundreds of billions of naira.
“But when l saw that nothing was coming forth, and knowing that my tenure was time-bound, l became very ambitious and had to take the bull by the horns to undertake these projects, which also include the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie and the Sagbama-Ekeremor-Agge roads.
“The Nembe-Brass Road is not a political project. It is the major project l have brought to the people of Okpoama and the Bayelsa East Senatorial District.”
Diri who expressed his administration’s commitment not to abandon any project, assured that even if he had to borrow to complete the three big senatorial roads he would do so.
“l am here to ask you for a second term. I do not want to leave projects abandoned. This is about the destiny and development of our people. You have a governor that is already doing what you want. As l speak, work is ongoing on the Nembe-Brass Road,” he said.
While thanking the Okpoama monarch, the council of chiefs and other stakeholders for their royal blessings and warm reception, the state’s helmsman urged them to sustain the prevailing peace in the state before, during and after the election.
He said people should be allowed to canvass for votes without molestation, and cautioned that any traditional ruler that connives to breach the peace risks being dethroned by his administration.
Responding to the community’s requests, Diri directed coordinator of the Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps to immediately provide a Hilux vehicle for the Okpoama Police Divisional Command.
He also promised to look into the issues surrounding establishment of the maritime academy in Okpoama as well as the Okpoama link road.
Also, in his speech, the director-general, Governor Diri Governorship Campaign Council, Mitema Obordor, said Bayelsans had witnessed peace, meaningful projects and programmes in the almost four years of the Diri administration, which is why the governor deserved another term.
In his remarks, chairman of the Okpoama council of chiefs, Chief Paul Omubo Suobagha, who represented King Ebitimi Banigo, underscored the importance of the Nembe-Brass road, saying that they look forward to driving to their home town.
He appealed to the state government to dredge the Okpoama main creek, provide patrol vehicles for the police and implement the original plan of the Okpoama link road.