By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State weekend promised to implement programmes that would enable Bayelsans realize their full potentials if elected in the 2011 governorship election.
The governor who declared his intention to contest for a second term also pledged to be more focused, open and sympathetic.
Speaking at colourful ceremony at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, Sylva who alluded to the difficulties faced by the state when he first became the governor of the state, enumerated major achievements of his administration and provided hints about his developmental and economic plan for the next four years , if given a fresh mandate.
“When we came in 2007, we met a state that ranked very low in every imaginable sphere of the development indices – human development, education, health, infrastructure, etc. The statistics from several local and foreign agencies painted a grim picture.
“Industrial activities were also largely nonexistent. There was neither medium nor large scale industrial establishment. We lagged behind even in areas like fish production and other aqua-marine activities – areas where we should naturally have comparative advantage. The natural consequence of all these was low productivity, high unemployment, marginal participation in the oil and gas sector, frustration, and agitation, which, sadly, took a violent turn,” the governor recalled.
He however expressed delight that his mission to transform the state, deliver good life and expand the frontiers of progress is being realised through massive infrastructure projects, sustainable economic policy and strategic investment in peace and security.
Among several others the governor listed the achievements of his current tenure to include massive road projects, stable electricity, provision of potable water, provision of affordable accommodation, mass transit programme, completion of 24 health centres, accreditation for the Niger Delta University (NDU) Medical School and College of Pharmacy.
Others include the completion of the Glory Land Castle; the Goodluck Jonathan Bridge (formerly Ekole Creek Bridge); Judiciary Complex; Diete Koki Memorial Hospital; Peace Park and Glory Drive, which is the new gateway into Yenagoa metropolis, the Plastic Industry at Elebele-Yenagoa; new gas turbines for the Imiringi power plant , and new 1000 transformers to improve power transmission in the state.
Explaining further on the success of his administration in infrastructural development Sylva pointed out that “In all, the goal of the administration has been to create an atmosphere in which Bayelsans can fully actualise their full potentials rather than being dependent on government handouts.
“We have pursued this goal despite attacks from those who feel they have lost out following the end of unsustainable government handouts. To this group of people, we make bold to say, we owe you no apology. The era of government handouts is gone and gone for good. Our collective resources must be used to empower our people and build an environment that will enable them enhance their productive capacity. That way, our society will be the better for all of us.”
He stressed that with the advancements in infrastructure and, most significantly, peace and security, we have made giant strides towards the achievement of our goal of bringing happiness and better standard of living to the mass of our people.
Sylva noted that beyond those achievements is another great task “ consolidating our gains-by striving to continue the good works that the Good Lord has started in Bayelsa State”, which explains why he is contesting for a fresh term.
While promising to complete remaining on-going projects in his second tenure he however hinted that “the key focus in the next tenure will be on creation of sustainable employment for our people, entrepreneurial development, and agriculture.”
“My Dear People of Bayelsa State, my mission in government is not just to build roads, schools, hospitals, and provide other infrastructures. My primary goal is to unlock the full potentials of every member of our society, draw on their diverse capacities and enrich our society through their participation in governance.
“For it is when a government unlocks the full potentials of the people that they can effectively claim ownership of that government. Together, let us continue our good work of building a secure, peaceful and prosperous Bayelsa State”, Sylva stated.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Professor Kimse Okoko made the point that given the limitations around the period Sylva assumed duty, the governor had performed creditably well in all counts, but especially in the area of education.
Speaking on behalf of the National Assembly caucus of Bayelsa State, Senator Emmanuel Paulker said Governor Sylva has been able to attract unprecedented federal presence because of his warm relationship with the centre. He revealed that members of the National Assembly from the state were fully behind Sylva in his second term bid.
In their various solidarity messages, representatives of the Bayelsa State Elders’ Forum, youth bodies, students and other citizen organisations, including non-indigenes of Bayelsa State, and repentant militants showered encomiums of Sylva, assuring him of their unqualified support.