A Silent Revolution  In Bayelsa  State: One Year Of Impacts  By The Prosperity Government

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The story was told of Pa Dikiwari Simon (real name withheld), who retired from the civil service ten years ago but was facing financial hardship due to nonpayment of his pension and gratuity. In 2020, Pa Simon one day went to the bank and requested for the withdrawal of the money left in his account leaving two thousand naira only pending when he will be paid again as usual.

The account officer demanded to know why Pa Simon wanted to withdraw all the money in his account and what he would do with such an amount. In his reply, Pa Simon who had no knowledge that his gratuity had been paid told the account officer he needed all the money because he does not want to waste time visiting the bank all the time because of little money. When he was told how much he had in his account, Pa Simon fainted.

This is one of the many things the Governor Douye Diri led Prosperity Administration has done behind the scene, silently engaging in human capital development to better the lots of Bayelsans. When Pa Simon was asked why he fainted, according to him he was shocked to see such huge amount as gratuity because he thought his children will be the ones to benefit from his pension when he joins his ancestors.

No doubt this is the case with many retirees who have benefited from the Governor Douye Diri’s silent human capital development without ringing a bell.

According to an American author, Richelle Mead, “the greatest and most powerful revolutions often starts very quietly, hidden in the shadows -remember that”.

Thus, the saying of Richelle Mead is in tandem with the human capital development strides of Governor Diri which seem silent but has created a paradigm shift in Bayelsa State for the retirees and civil servants in particular.

Before now, civil servants who have served the state meritoriously for thirty-five years or at the required retirement age of sixty were owed gratuity and pensions but Governor Douye Diri who has compassion for civil servants swung into action by dedicating one hundred and fifty million naira monthly for the settlement of backlogged gratuity, not including monthly pensions and the prompt payment of civil servants’ salaries.

The Governor in December, 2020 also made available Five Hundred Million Naira one-off for retirees with a plan for increment.

The Holy Bible in the book of Luke Chapter fourteen verse twenty, says “For which of you, intending to build a tower, will not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has sufficient to finish it?” Thus, Governor Douye Diri, on assumption of office on the 14th of February 2020 first sat down to map out the way forward, evaluating the uncompleted projects on ground and new projects his administration will implement and how he would go about achieving them. Undoubtedly, the Miracle Governor had many bridges and oceans to cross to get to the Promised Land as he was first embattled by unending court cases, trials he must face like a man to prove his credibility.

It is said that the ability of a man is not determined by his physical strength but the knack to stand strong in the midst of trials and handling those challenges faced. Hence, he was proven to be a man conquering through these bullets firing from left, right and centre, like a superman in the movies, tackling his antagonists in the sky and eventually landing triumphantly. While in the wave of the series of these litigations, the outbreak of the dreaded worldwide Coronavirus pandemic emerged that triggered worldwide lockdown, causing devastation. In a bit to proffering solution by the World Health Organization [WHO], other agencies and government world over to ease the lockdown, the #EndSARS protest surfaced, causing chaos in almost all the states in Nigeria.

Governor Douye Diri, who came into power during the eve of the Coronavirus Pandemic did not only deal with the #EndSARS protest but also the unfortunate incident of flood that ravaged a better part of Bayelsa State, making the Prosperity Government to be almost incapacitated all through 2020.

Notwithstanding the circumstances of these epileptic and frustrating situations, the Governor who has the interest of Bayelsans at heart and yearns for development however, began by off-setting backlogged debt of the previous administration.
In a bid to stir an economic revolution in the state via Agriculture and the desire to return the state back to farming and make Bayelsa state a food hub, the state government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a private firm, CSS Integrated Farmer Limited on training of young farmers. The aim of the partnership was for youths to take advantage of his administration’s agricultural drive to develop themselves and the state.

To this effect, lands have been cleared in some communities across the state, waiting for consumable and seedlings. In Fishery, individual farmers have also been incorporated in the programme; their ponds have been cleared by the government pending the arrival of fingerlings. While for Cassava, an Industrial Starch Manufacturing farm at Ebedebiri in Sagbama Local Government Area, has already been installed by government. In all these, the government’s plan is to off-take all products from farmers after every food production to avoid gloat.

Due to his love for education, the Prosperity Governor has also awarded scholarships to many Bayelsa youths to further their education. Recent among them is the automatic employment and scholarship awarded to the first female First Class graduate from the Faculty of Law in the state-owned Niger Delta University and the Nigerian Law school, Barrister Ebizi Blessing Eradiri for her masters and doctorate degrees in any University of her choice in Nigeria or abroad.

In accordance with his election campaign promises to Bayelsans, Governor Douye Diri has approved the construction of roads across the state including the Yenagoa-Oporoma road, the reconstruction of the Elebele bridge, the ongoing Tombia roundabout expansion, the Igbogene-AIT outer Ring Road and the Rehabilitation of fifty internal roads in Yenagoa city. The Governor has also approved the construction of the Bayelsa Media House at the premises of the Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation which will house Radio Bayelsa, the Bayelsa State Newspaper Corporation [New Waves] and the Niger Delta Television [NDTV]. The contractor has already been mobilized to site.
Therefore, as the Douye Diri led administration celebrates one year in office on the fourteenth of this month, Bayelsans should rally around the Prosperity Government to build Bayelsa state to achieve the desired goal. It is said that Rome was not built in a day, therefore, Bayelsans should be patient with the present administration as the administration and its intention to take Bayelsa on the sure path of prosperity is getting clearer by the day.

Written by Deintei Emmanuel-Edonghen

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