Governor Henry Serieki Dickson
The Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State governor on Political Affairs, Mr. Fred Agbede, has described the allegation of tampering with Local Government funds made against the state government as a product of ignorance and mischief makers.
Agbede, who spoke to journalists in Abuja Saturday on milestones so far recorded by the administration of Governor Henry Serieki Dickson in the last one year, said the government has instituted a legacy of transparency by rendering monthly account of state allocations from the federation account to the people.
Speaking on recent allegations of pilfering of Council funds made against the governor, Agbede said the state does not tamper with nor make any deductions from the Local Government accounts.
He said both the Chairmen of Local Councils and the governor himself have come out openly to tell Nigerians that no kobo of the Local Government has been tampered with by the state government.
He said the state government is not particularly surprised at the allegation because under the democratic setting, there is bound to be all kinds of criticisms, adding that while some may be constructive, others could just way out of order.
“In politics, you have people with divergent views, sometimes well-articulated and sometimes may just be out to create a negative impression about government. Some of them are feeding Bayelsans with the wrong information may be out of ignorance or mischief,” he said.
The adviser said the governor is about the only one who has made it a practice to render a monthly account to the people regarding the exact amount received from the federation account and what it would deployed for.
“When some people came up to allege that the state government is tampering with local government funds we had to tell the world that is not true. In fact we all know that in the past administration, local governments take part in mobilizing for one political activity or the other but this administration does not do that. Whatever activity the state government is organising, it takes the responsibility,” he said.
The state government has nothing to do with the funds accruing to the Local Government councils, “ he said.
“Before the present administration, what used to accrue to Bayelsa each month from Federation Account was a subject of controversy, while some people could say it is N10 billion, others could claim that is N30 billion, but as at today on monthly basis, the governor will go ahead to declare how much that came to the government and how much is to be devoted to salaries, contracts and other development programmes, “ he said.
According to Agbede, the one year in office of Governor Dickson has restored confidence on governance in Bayelsa state.
He explained that within the first one year, the government has already shown that it is ready and willing to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people by embarking on some bold initiatives aimed at lifting the hopes of the people.
For instance, he said the government has restored various scholarship programes that were abandoned and had in addition taken measures to revive the education sector.
He also said the government has began construction of roads and seaports at various locations in the riverine areas of the state to improve transportation.