Peeved over the alleged sorry state of the Niger Delta region, with Bayelsa State as the epicenter of the plethora of problems of under-development starring the oil rich region in the face, chieftain of the state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Perekeme Richard Kpodoh, has said that the party has lost relevance in the region that could invariably sabotage effort to revitalise it in the state.
Kpodoh, a founding father of the APC in the state, who spoke to journalists in Yenagoa, said though several bigwigs had continued to search for solution to the crisis rocking the PDP, including the move by former President Goodluck Jonathan to mediate over the leadership tussle in the party, but instead of abating the crisis is growing and spreading like wildfire.
According to him, the crisis would have subsided but for the fact that no meaningful development was made in the region, despite the fact that power resided with Dr Goodluck Jonathan, a son of the area from 2010 to 2015, yet the hue and cry was centred on under-development, as ecological problems permeate all states in the region, capital intensive roads that should have create commerce and industries were not built, stakeholders were not empowered, health challenges were not addressed.
On former President assertion that PDP is still relevant in the region and that it would regain power, Kpodoh pointed that former President Jonathan was responsible for 80 percent of the problem that had smeared the party’s image before the citizenry, stressing the statement credited to Jonathan that PDP would return to power remained a mere wishful thought.
He expressed sadness that the former President, who served as governor before his elevation to occupy Aso Rock, knew the problems of the region, particularly Bayelsa State that he governed, yet he could not muster the political will to build a road to Nembe/Brass waterway Island, Sagbama/Ekleremor Agge Deep Water seaport road and the Oporoma/Ukubia/Koluama road in Southern Ijaw LGA.
Continuing, Kpodoh averred that Nigerians also held their grievances about the former President Jonathan PDP led government, particularly over the way and manner funds were stolen under his watch, which brought hardship to the country.
Kpodoh regretted that under his watch corruption, profligacy and theft was celebrated in the name of governance; and members of the party had continued to return money they stole, as most of them were still in court for plunging the nation into hardship and economic woes.
Calling on the EFCC to go deeper in their investigation to recover looted funds, Jonathan should explain to Nigerians how funds disappeared under his watch because nobody is above the law, even as noted that so long Jonathan is at the nucleus of the re-building of the party it would crash, except they seek one with better image before Nigerians.
Kpodoh, reiterated against the argument that exchange rate was lower, food items were more affordable under the Jonathan PDP led government, he noted that it was a smokescreen because they were wasting the reserve and scattering money which led to the free fall of the naira.
He took a swipe on Diezan, who could not help construct road to her community in Yenaka, yet billions of dollars were recovered in her private properties, and former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan is also in court over illegal funds recovered from her private account, and submitted that the Niger Delta people and Nigerians are amazed by the staggering realities, and they are not ready to allow the party regain power until all the funds is returned.
Kpodoh lamented that in the state families in the region, Bayelsa in particular are unable feed, pay their children school fees, business are shutting down because of the waste associated with the Jonathan’s administration in which aides of government were busy helping their pockets and build empires for themselves at the expense tax payers monies.
Accordingly, He noted that Jonathan would have touch the hearts of the Niger Delta people not completing the East/West road project, but surprisingly the road which the commercial arteries of the region is still not completed, while several lives has been lost on the bad road, adding that the party without mincing words has lost relevance in the region.
Kpodoh averred that youths in the region and Bayelsa have turned their backs on Jonathan led PDP, regretted his inability while in office to approve license for modular refineries to replace local refining, nor give directives that oil multinationals should relocate their headquarters to state’s where they have their operations.
To this end, he posited that since former President Jonathan was responsible for the crisis, particularly his inability to win the hearts of the Niger Delta people, then it would also amount to failure for him to talk about political solution to PDP crisis. He, however, reiterated that the region is deeply angry with former President Jonathan for mortgaging development that would have come to the region, even as they wished that when providence called for the region to occupy the presidency, it should have been someone else and not Jonathan.
Meanwhile, “We are very grateful for remembering us and alleviating our suffering for years by reconstructing this road in our community.
“The poor financial standing of the country notwithstanding, the government still finds it expedient to execute this road project even though it is its statutory responsibility to do so”.
This expression was chorused by a septuagenarian, Elder Moses Uloho, while speaking to the Nigerian Tribune at Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli north when Governor Ifeanyi Okowa inspected the expansion and resurfacing of Ughelli-Agbarha-Otor road project.
The road was among the ongoing projects inspected last week by governor Okowa who was short of words at the turnout of villagers to express their appreciation for the government’s gesture.
Other road projects include Kwale township roads, Ozoro-Oleh road, Ughelli-Afiesere road, asphalting overlay of Ekakpramme-Ekrokpe-Usieffurum road, Ovwian main roads and Ugbomoro.
Scores of community leaders, women and youths came out en masse to welcome the entourage of governor Okowa with dances, waving of hands and banners.
Of a spectacular note was at Usieffurun where school children lined up on the road for hours.
Attracted by their cheerful disposition, the governor had to pulse the journey and came down from the vehicle to acknowledge them.
However, some of the residents in the communities expressed concern that some of the roads might not stand the test of time due to lack of drainage, even as the governor queried a supervisor for poor supervision at the Kwale project.
Speaking at the end of the inspection at Ovwian in Udu Local Government Area, Okowa said he was impressed by the turnout of people at the inspection just as he commended them for having absolute hope in the administration saying that despite the dwindling resources, the government would not deter to make life better for the citizenry.
The governor expressed satisfaction with the execution of work by the various contractors handling the project but quickly added that those identified with shoddy jobs would be blacklisted.
“At all the projects inspected, I am satisfied with the level of work done and very surprised at the turn out of Deltans to receive us which was evident that the projects are people-oriented,” Governor Okowa said.
He stated that he ordered for query to be issued to the civil servant who supervised one of the road projects in Kwale because, he was not satisfied with the work done, asserting, “things must be done right, we will not condone shoddy jobs.”
speaking on the inspection, the state commissioner for information, Mr. Patrick Ukah stated, “you can see that our Governor is a man of the people, the reactions of the people was evident that he is a grassroots man who is committed to uplifting the standard of living of our people through the SMART agenda,”.
“Governor Okowa’s administration has delivered beyond his electoral promises despite the recession that hampered developmental projects in other states of the country”.