Bayelsa State Governor, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, has described the recent claim by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, that the state government owes N800 billion, as “pathetic and manifestation of a mind in custody of a raving hallucination”.
Dickson said in a statement on Wednesday, that Lokpobiri’s claim only portrayed his depth of ignorance about governance in the state.The statement which was made available to newsmen by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. FIdelis Soriwei, said the Governor expressed shock that somebody of the status of a minister could show a demeaning lack of capacity for a simple research to arrive at the truth in the interest of the general good.
The governor described the minister’s claim as a manifestation of the peaking frustration of a diaspora politician who has alienated himself from the state and lacks the capacity to actualize his political dream to govern the state.
The governor urged Bayelsans and indeed the Nigerian citizenry to discountenance the spurious claim contained in the ill-conceived publication by the minister which he said was in conflict with facts and reality.He referred the minister to a report released by the Debt Management Office in September 2018, which provided in details the debt profile of all the states of the federation as of June 2018.
He stressed that the DMO, the Federal Agency which is the authoritative body on States and Federal government debt profile put the total debts owed by Bayelsa state at N123 billion.The Governor said that his administration had even ensured repayment of debts incurred by Lokpobiri’s political godfather and leader, Chief Timipre Sylva, in addition to the steady execution of several big ticket projects across Bayelsa.
He said that somebody with an analytical mind would know from the reports of the DMO that Bayelsa debt as at 2007 was N27 billion representing 1.40 percent of the debts by all the state.He posited that the debt profile of the state rose astronomically by 300 percent as the state alone had 13.0 percent of the total state debts with N162 billion from 2007 to 2012 during the locust years of Sylva.
According to him, the current figure of N123 billion representing 3.54 percent of the total debts owed by the states showed in clear terms a drastic reduction of the debt burden in spite of the recession occasioned by dwindling federal allocation and the execution of high profile projects in the state.
The Governor challenged Lokpobiri to channel his energy into more productive ventures in the interest of Bayelsans who have been denied federal presence because of his lack of influence and interest in the development of his state.
“Lokobiri’s claim that Bayelsa is owing N800 billion is a falsehood that exists in his hallucinating mind. Figures released by the DMO put Bayelsa’s debt at N123 billion.
“These figures include contractual obligations, pension and gratuities, as the major components.“The Governor wishes to say without equivocation that Bayelsa is not for bloodthirsty cultists and criminal. Lies and bloodletting which are the strongest credential of Lokpobiri cannot create access to political control in our state.
“Lokpobiri has failed to take advantage of his position and supposed contacts in Abuja to attract projects to Bayelsa. He should remain silent as he lacks the moral ground to make any comment on the development of Bayelsa”, the statement added.
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