·Gov Diri calls for solution to East-West Road
By Ignatius Chukwu
Dr Samuel Ogbuku is from Bayelsa State and support is coming from the Bayelsa State government. This is rare. What is common is that heat comes from home, especially in the Niger Delta and most of the south.
Bayelsa-born Samule Ogbuku was appointed as CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by then President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2022, but was spared when the board was dissolved when the present president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, emerged.
Now, Dr Ogbuku has been reappointed as CEO of the board to continue his substantive term. Some had lobbied at the back for Ogbuku to be removed to allow loyalists of the new president to take over. That did not happen, and some were sad but many others have been jubilant.
The governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, seems to be one of those that desired Ogbuku’s continuity. He has given kudos to President Tinubu for re-appointing Ogbuku.
Diri expressed this appreciation when he received the Minister of Niger Delta Development, an engineer, Abubakar Momoh, and his entourage, which included Ogbuku at Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor, who described Momoh and Ogbuku as illustrious sons of the Niger Delta region, said: “They will do justice to the issues and challenges facing the region.”
He canvassed for partnership as a strategy to successfully deliver on the East-West Road.
He stated: “I will carry the message of partnership to my brother governors. We all want to see a speedy completion of the East-West Road because the issue has been on for many years. Several other roads like it have long been completed.
“We will cooperate with the Ministry of Niger Delta Development to take the message to wherever necessary to ensure the completion of the road, which is central to all the six states of the South-South region.”
Diri remarked that the Ministry of Niger Delta Development was too far from the people of the Niger Delta region, noting that the people would want to feel some inclusiveness in its activities.
He said: “Niger Deltans want to feel the impact of the Ministry. At the moment, it is too far from the people of the region. Not by its location, but impact. As at now, the people have been alienated.
“For example, we want to see the speedy completion of the East-West Road and other tangible projects in the region so that the goose that lays the golden egg is not allowed to wallow in poverty.
“Last year, Bayelsa State was cut off from civilization during the flood. The East-West Road was totally cut off. We appeal to the President to come to our rescue. Something urgent has to be done to ensure that Bayelsa is not cut off again this year.”
Speaking earlier, Momoh advised the governors in the South-South region to come together to push for the completion of the East-West Road, stating that President Tinubu had the interest of the region at heart.
He solicited the partnership of the Niger Delta governors to tackle the region’s developmental challenges and advised Gov Diri to seek areas of partnership with the NDDC.
He cited the partnership between the NDDC and he Rivers state government in the execution of the Okrika-Borokiri Road project.
The Minister also visited members of the Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council in their Secretariat in company of NDDC CEO.
Addressing the traditional rulers, he enjoined them to lend their voices to the call for urgent measures to be taken on the East-West Road.
Chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, King Bubaraye Dakolo Agada IV, decried the dilapidated state of many sections of the East-West Road, worsened by last year’s flood.
According to the Royal father, “After the flood, the road was left unattended to and the flood is returning with no remedy, so far, from the Federal Government.”
He appealed to the Minister to come to the aide of Bayelsa people before the oil-producing state would, again, be completely cut off from Nigeria.