• Backs Diri on decentralization

From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa


A former Secretary-General of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Alfred Kemepado, has cautioned few individuals parading as groups and making unguarded remarks about the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, after misunderstanding the governor’s position on pipeline contracts awarded to private firms by the Federal Government.


Kemepado said it was unfortunate that some favour-seeking individuals, claiming to be groups, resorted to attacking Governor Diri, whom he described as the symbol of peace and unity in Ijaw nation.


He described their act as shameful, despite the state government’s efforts to clarify its position on the matter in a statement signed by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah.


“Like Alabrah explained: there was no time the state government called for the cancellation of any pipeline contract awarded to non-state actors. The government only advocated that such private firms should be supervised by conventional security agencies for optimal performance.


“The government also believed that the scope of such contracts should be expanded to include the Niger Delta states for more community and stakeholders’ engagements”, Kemepado said.


Kemepado commended the Bayelsa government’s position on the matter describing it as noble, adding that such good intentions deserved to be applauded by peace-loving and development-oriented stakeholders in the Niger Delta.

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He called on the Federal Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) and the military to give the governor’s suggestion the attention it deserved, insisting that it would only be a win-win for the region.


“Even if some persons, for selfish reasons, misunderstood the earlier remarks of the government, will such persons pretend that they didn’t see, hear and read the clarifications, which clearly showed the good intentions of the government on the matter?


“It is unfortunate that some individuals parading as groups still issued statements and tried to haul tirades on the Governor. I make bold to repeat that the Bayelsa government’s position is as clear as crystal and doesn’t contain any mischief or ulterior motive. Common sense should have told them that the governor is only pushing for more and not calling for any contract cancellation.


“Niger Deltans must do away with the era of making statements without first paying sufficient attention to issues. Groups and individuals are expected to hail and join Governor Diri in his recent calls for true federalism and the inclusion of Niger Deltans in petroleum assets redistribution”, he said.


Kemepado called on the overzealous stakeholders to tread cautiously and prioritise the peace and development of the Niger Delta over their selfish quest for favour.


He also called on persons still nursing election hangover to know that the election had been won and lost and that Diri was disposed to working with everybody despite political differences to advance the growth and development of Bayelsa.