Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has again upbraided federal authorities responsible for granting full license allowing commercial flights into the newly-built international airport in Ammasomma, for playing unhealthy politics with the development of the state.
Dickson who spoke in Yenagoa, the state capital, argued that there is hardly any fully fenced airport in the country, stressing that the about N70 billion facility had long been completed and could compete with any other one across West Africa.
The governor also blamed the politicians in the state for working against the progress of Bayelsa because of petty politics, accusing them of always deploying their influence for the wrong purposes.
Dickson also promised to present a detailed handover document of all the sectors in the state in his eight years as governor, saying, however that it would be the prerogative of his successor to continue with his modest achievements during the period.
“Now on the airport, this is where people play politics with security and everything. Security, we don’t play with it . As governor, you secure both those who disagree with you and those who do not. Otherwise, we will have no country.
“That is the problem of Nigeria right now because everything is skewed towards who you support. And they forget that life is in constant state of change.
“It only happens and life changes. As you do this today, you are successful, so you are laughing. You don’t know who will be in control next. Things always go round. So, they muddle politics with development” he said.
The governor maintained that the facility had been long completed and everything fully installed, but admitted that the fence was 60 per cent complete, which is better than most airports in the country without fences at all.
He added: “All the complements of an airport, firefighters, superior to those everywhere, air traffic controllers, who are being paid. Yet people who do not even know how to build one solid road came here to compare. If I had federal might, I will say governor you have done well ; tell me how I can support you. And I am very alone in that line of reasoning.
“Now petroleum ministry has come, Bayelsa people. We are busy playing politics with Police , soldiers, INEC , thugs. Tomorrow when you leave, we should see you were there. You see the transport university they are building there (Katsina), the refinery they are building up to Niger. So, I don’t want to talk again about these things, because it’s like because of the illiteracy level, the level they manipulate them is high, but it is painful.
“They left the entire business of developing Bayelsa to the governor of Bayelsa. And they won’t even allow you to work. They blackmail you and call you all sorts of names. Opportunity comes once in a blue moon. You must use it for the good of our people and I have no apologies for that.”
“If you are in government at the centre, collaborate with the state. But what they do is to keep writing petitions to the EFCC. That is their kind of backwardness. I built airport from the scratch. The acquisition we are still dealing with it. Clearing, sand-filling ”
Governor Dickson who is expected to handover on February 14, 2020, having served out his eight years, also promised to reveal more when he leaves the position as governor.
“When I finish my tenure I will talk more because we need to do more enlightenment. We gave these jobs to some of the biggest contractors. We are dying of underdevelopment and they are there, I am talking and they are also talking.
“I don’t blame them. Governor Dickson is talking and those who did nothing here are also talking. Posterity will judge us all. The airport, one of the best in the entire country, I don’t know why good things pain our people. In Bayelsa, anything good you do, pains somebody. That airport has no business being the way it is. We finished it since.
“I work with passion. Money that was supposed to be carted away, I used it to work for my people. We are building schools that they refused to build. That airport is ready for business. But aviation is in the exclusive list . When they came, they said try and do this and that. We have done everything.
“Their last press release was ridiculous. They said we have completed but the fence is 60 per cent. To do that fence, you need casting. But how many airports in Nigeria have complete fences? Even the very old ones. They even have wire meshes. Our own is concrete and they agree we have done 60 per cent,” Dickson said.