Wednesday 7 August 2013
According to Dick Gregory, an influential American writer and entrepreneur, “Political promises are much like marriage vows which are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter, but are quickly forgotten.” Contrarily, however, the experience of the people of Southern Ijaw Local Government vis-à-vis Chief Remember Pabraibi Nicholas Ogbe as Executive Chairman proves this assertion wrong.

Understanding that a key component of democracy is referendum, and that the human mind or human society is not divided into watertight compartments, the Chief Ogbe-led administration adopted a community-based approach in determining projects of uttermost relevance to the people of the area. This he did through a multi-stakeholder approach within the first thirty days in office. Gladly, this strategy has culminated in the initiation of twenty-three projects evenly spread across the four constituencies in the local government.

As a philosophy, the Southern Ijaw Local Government boss believes that despotism can only exist in darkness, and that there are too many lights now in the political firmament to permit it to remain anywhere.

Drawing from his experience as the immediate-past Bayelsa State Millennium Development Goals boss, Chief Ogbe sectorized projects with a view to implementing those of immediate relevance to the people of the area, while others in the medium and long-term list queued for attention.

Following the destruction caused by the 2012 floods, new office furniture have been procured and put to use. Currently, the construction of a storey-building meant for staff quarters at the Council’s headquarters in Oporoma, and the renovation of dilapidated ones are ongoing.

In order to keep legislators abreast of global legislative proceedings and practices, the Southern Ijaw Local Government boss, acquired laptops for councilors. He has equally given staff motivation its pride of place by finalizing arrangements for the procurement of official vehicles for senior staff of the council through a scheme that ensures minimal routine repayment. Timely disbursement of funds intended for administrative purposes and the prompt payment of staff salaries have become endemic to the administration that is Restoration Agenda-compliant.

In order to stimulate economic growth across the local government area, the construction of ultramodern market complexes in all four constituencies have been initiated, with the inaugural in Amassoma for which work has reached sixty percent completion.

Geographically strategic both to Bayelsa and Nigeria, security of Southern Ijaw Local Government has been accorded uttermost attention. Being a panacea for sustainable development, routine security meetings have been upheld. Already, peace is being institutionalized across the local government area. Additionally, strengthening the security apparatus of the area becomes paramount. As such, contracts have been awarded for the construction of Military Sub-base (JTF Posts) in Koluama-Ginagbene and Azuzuama, and a Police Station in Amassoma all of which work is ongoing for handover within ninety days.

Re-roofing of the Restoration Play Ground at Oporoma is equally ongoing in order to make the facility befitting for public functions.

Interestingly, fifty percent cost of all projects has already been disbursed to contractors, with a charge to make projects deliverable within ninety days.

Cognizant of the importance of human capacity building, within the past four months, Chief Ogbe sponsored fifteen final-year students of the area at the Niger Delta University internship centre with a view to adequately equipping them for the workplace.

Classified chiefs have been given their pride of place as partners in progress. By this, their allowances have been reviewed upwards and monthly payment done promptly.

Obviously, Chief Ogbe is writing a new political song – that which brings pride to a people. Though usually, the introduction of a new kind of political music is shunned as imperiling a state as such is considered to affect political institutions considered hitherto important. Delightfully, however, the Southern Ijaw Local Government story is significantly different.

These developmental strides of Chief Remember Pabraebi Nicholas Ogbe have, beyond the borders of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, received accolades from well meaning members of the society.

Having done creditably well during four months in office, the call therefore is for traditional rulers, and the general public to understand their role in collectively protecting these infrastructure for posterity. As Southern Ijaw Local Government prepares for the commissioning and handover of the ongoing twenty-three projects, it behooves contractors and all to imbibe a sincere and steadfast co-operation as this will define a permanent development plan and happiness for all.

Godfrey Pondei, Ph.D


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