It cannot in anyways be characterized as a good commentary that Bayelsa, a state created on October 1, 1996 out of the old Rivers State, is not living out its motto: Glory of All Lands.
This statement of fact by the GbaramatuVoice on a state that has eight Local Government Areas: 8LGAs: Brass, Ekeremor, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Nembe, Ogbia, Sagbama, Southern Ijaw with Yenagoa as its capital, is predicated on so many Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)/realities.
First, going by reports, the state which is located between Delta and Rivers States, has a total landmark: 9,059 KM and blessed with the largest gas reservoir (18 trillion cubic feet) in Nigeria, producing 40% of on-shore crude oil in the country. Yet, it’s drivers/successive administration has not been able to provide magical strides or engineer prosperity particularly in the areas of; socioeconomic independence via creation of viable and robust Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), human capital development, and integrated infrastructural and industrial development.
The consequence of the above failure was further brought to the fore by a recent report titled “State of states 2019″, by BudgIt Research Firm underlining that out of the 36 states of the Federation, only; Lagos, Delta and Akwa Ibom are economically self-sufficient. Other 33 states in the country the report noted cannot finance their recurrent expenditure without federal allocations.
Lamentably, Bayelsa state, the ‘Jerusalem of Ijaw Nation is among these 33 states that would have such challenge if the federal allocation were not forthcoming due to fluctuation in crude oil price. As they cannot meet their expenditure only with their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The situation says more about the poor state of the state called Bayelsa.
A visit to the state reveals without labour that it’s Capital, Yenagoa, which has variously been superintended by different administrations has not been able to transform from an obscure local government headquarters to a sprawling modern city befitting an oil-bearing state. So also, are other parts of the state.
This should be a reality to worry about by not just Bayesians but every well-meaning Ijaw man and woman as the state is specifically considered the ‘Jerusalem of Ijaw Nation”.
Moving away from lamentation to finding solutions to the deteriorating situation in the state, there are important questions that these editorial comments seek answers to, they include but are not limited to; What is the future of Bayelsa without Crude Oil? What steps is the present administration taking to escape this trap? Assuming that Federal Allocation ends tomorrow, does it mean there will be no future for the state?
The Newspaper says God Forbid!
As a responsive and responsible media organization concerned with rapid development of Ijaw nation and Niger Delta via creative leadership, the GbaramatuVoice, hereby forward array of suggestions and recommendations.
First, it is factually documented that the state has a population of about: 1,704,515 (Male- 874,083 and Female- 830,432), and located in the Mangrove and Rain Forest. This vegetation is reputed for producing major crops such as: Cocoa, Rice, Cassava, Pineapple, Oil Palm, Rubber, Banana and Maize. The silver lining in this information is that it makes it easy for Governor Douye Diri led administration to contemplate integrated agriculture in the state while harnessing the state’s population advantage.
There are also reported cases pointing to the fact that the state is blessed with an appreciable number of solid minerals which ranges from; clay, silica to limestone. Bringing this information to the fore is the Newspaper’s way of reminding the current administration in the state that considering the slow growing economy but scary unemployment levels in the state, the current administration in the newspaper’s opinion will continue to find itself faced with difficulty accelerating the economic life cycle of the state until they contemplate industrialization, or productive collaboration with private organizations that has surplus capital to create employment. Achieving this will also require massive infrastructural development in the state.
From the Newspaper’s investigation, there are investment opportunities in the following areas; Light manufacturing, healthcare, tourism, energy, mining and transportation.
The GbaramatuVoice holds the opinion that it is in the interest of the state government to do this as a formidable way of curbing crimes and reduces threatening insecurity and avert economic crisis in the nearest future. This should be done not merely for political consideration but from the views of state development and sustenance of our democracy.