Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, yesterday took a critical look at the state of affairs in the country, concluding that current leaders were not doing enough to unite the country.
He argued that Nigeria was, at the moment, sitting on a keg of gunpowder due to leadership failure that has polarised the people along ethnic, religious and political lines.
The governor made the assertion while speaking on the 58th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria and 22 years of the creation of Bayelsa State in a media chat in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Dickson described the current state of affairs in the country as unfortunate, expressing regret that Nigeria was still contending with basic issues of unity, justice and leadership after 58 years of political independence.
He urged the current political leadership in the country to stop paying lip service to Nigeria’s unity by taking concrete steps and actions to engender equality, justice and creation of a sense of unity and not political slogans for selfish interest.
“At the national level, Nigeria could have done better too. Nigeria at 58, we are still talking about elementary issues like unity of our country, and the more people talk about unity, the more disunited we portray ourselves to be. These are some of the things we grapple with which are actually, elementary issues.
“ Unfortunately, those at leadership levels who ought to take concrete steps are doing little or nothing about uniting the people. Unity should be shown by steps or actions a leader takes and not platitudes and political slogans people pronounce when it is convenient.
“Leadership is measured by the decisions you take, appointments made by taking deliberate steps to treat everybody equally to create a sense of unity, equality and justice.
“Once you do those things, you will build bridges of unity and solidarity.
That is one area our country clearly seems to be sitting on a keg of gunpowder. The country is more divided than ever before. However, our country has also made some progress at 58.
“Our democracy is taking roots because nation-building is not to be accomplished in four or eight years, or even in one’s lifetime but from one generation to another. We have a lot of national challenges, which all leaders should apply themselves,” he said.
On progress made by the state at 22, Governor Dickson said he was fulfilled by the achievements of his administration in virtually all sectors of the state’s economy, particularly in critical infrastructure development, education, health, security and tourism.
The governor who also commented on the multi-billion naira Bayelsa International Airport, explained that the state government was putting finishing touches to the project and was awaiting regulatory approvals for formal commissioning.
Dickson also said arrangements were on to ensure that the airport operates local and international flights, adding that, every facility, including the navigational facilities and the 3.5-kilometre- runway have been put in place.
He urged the people to use the period of the independence anniversary for sober reflection given the magnitude of devastation caused by the rising flood which has displaced thousands of people across the state.
On the question of epileptic power supply, the Bayelsa Chief Executive blamed the situation on what he described as lopsided nature of the Nigerian Federation where most critical issues promoting the development of the people are placed in the exclusive list.
“The lopsided Federation we have is the cause of the current poor power supply situation in the state. We don’t the freedom to do what we want to do because a lot of things are placed in the exclusive list. It is mainly a federal government failure and that is why we are fighting for restructuring and constitutional reforms in this country.”