Yenagoa—The Bayelsa State government through the office of the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayibaina Duba has refuted the recent claims by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Perekeme Kpodoh.
Recall that Mangrovepen.ng reported a recently publicised statement by Kpodoh wherein he claimed that the cost of projects being executed by the Bayelsa State government was shrouded in secrecy and that the contractors were unknown.
Duba in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday described the claims by the APC chieftain as “scurrilous and laughable” this is because according to him, names of contractors and consultants involved in government projects are often displayed on the project sites on a board.
He added that only those bent on mischief are incapacitated from seeing the obvious.
According to him, the costs of government projects after being approved are also often made known to the public through media briefing by the state information officer during which details of the projects are outlined for the public.
In his words, “One leg of this claim is laughable. Contractors and even consultants involved in a road or building project are often displayed on boards at project sites. Only those with ocular issues or bent on mischief cannot see them.
“The road, building, and other projects undertaken by the Governor Diri administration, which Kpodoh could not deny, are clearly visible and not done under the cover of darkness.
“But, importantly, these projects are transformational and positively impacting the lives of Bayelsans across the three senatorial zones of the state.
“The cost of these projects are also readily available and not hidden. As a government founded on openness and transparency, after a project is approved by the state executive council at its meeting, the Information Commissioner alongside his colleagues from the relevant ministries briefs the media.
“During such sessions, the necessary details are disclosed, including the cost.
“So, it is perhaps only Kpodoh and his band of political mischief-makers that do not know that, for instance, a big-ticket project like the Yenagoa-Oporoma road, a long-neglected federal government project before the immediate past administration revived it, is 22.2km.
“This information is even displayed by the construction firm, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. ”
Duba stated that the Douye Diri-led prosperity government has embarked on numerous capital projects because it is committed to the development of Bayelsa State.
He said Kpodoh has an infamous reputation of blackmailing the government once the state does not pander to his whims and caprices, noting that while the Bayelsa State government recognises the right to free speech by every citizen, it will not succumb to blackmail.
“The government is convinced that its actions are in the best interest of Bayelsans and the furtherance of the state’s developmental goals.
“Only a government committed to bringing pride and glory to the state, rather than ridicule, will embark on these and other impactful projects.
“The Brutus of Bayelsa politics has an infamous reputation of attacking every administration in the state the moment he falls out of favour.
” His key weapon is a recourse to blackmail once his demands are ignored. His current posturing as a patriotic Bayelsan is consistent with his pattern.
“This government believes in free speech and has shown the capacity to accept constructive criticisms. But it will not submit to blackmail and the pressure to fritter away the resources of the state under any guise.
“Governor Diri, so far, has graciously bent over to accommodate Kpodoh and given him succour when necessary.
“In appreciation, the same man has written tonnes of commendation messages about the governor. Early this year, he called on Bayelsans to join him in thanking the governor for picking up his medical bills when he was ill and required surgery.
“This government also clearly understands that Bayelsa at 26 is still work-in-progress. And it is committed to playing its part in significantly changing our developmental narrative.
“In just two years and eight months, this administration has made remarkable and undeniable progress. Only those who wallow in ignorance and mischief will not see that we are no longer where we used to be,” the statement party read.