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‘Alamieyeseigha can’t justify N300b allocation’

Posted by The Punch on 2005/12/07 | Views: 463 |

‘Alamieyeseigha can’t justify N300b allocation’


Youth Leader, Peoples Democratic Party, Bayelsa State chapter, Mr. Kikile Esueme, told BISI OLANIYI that the honourable thing for the state Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, to do in the face of the allegations against him was to resign. Excerpt

Youth Leader, Peoples Democratic Party, Bayelsa State chapter, Mr. Kikile Esueme, told BISI OLANIYI that the honourable thing for the state Governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, to do in the face of the allegations against him was to resign. Excerpt

What is your reaction to the decision of Alamieyeseigha to jump bail?

It is unfortunate that we are having this type of incident. When the governor arrived, we know that those who went to Government House to see him were people in a fit of surprise. They went to confirm if it was true. It is unfortunate that the governor is not telling the truth about his mysterious arrival. But it is obvious that there was no mystery about his arrival. It is condemnable. It’s a national shame. It is an embarrassment. We are only praying and hoping that this nightmare for Bayelsans will be over very soon.

But are his fears not valid that he was not going to get justice owing to the involvement of the Federal Government?

Everybody talks about the interests of the Nigerian government in this matter. But the truth is that money laundering does not only affect the person, but also affects the country, the image of the country and Nigerians generally. His jumping bail at this time has put a lot of question mark on the integrity of Nigerians, who are hardworking and earning their living in the United Kingdom and other places in the world. The issue is not that he was not going to get justice. He knew he was going to get a deserved justice and he knew what he was going to get. That was why he decided to jump bail. He knew that the issue of immunity did not arise and the whole plank of his argument was that he had immunity in London and he knew it was going to fall like a pack of cards.

Don’t you fear that the protest for and against the governor’s action could lead to the declaration of a state of emergency?

Nobody wants a state of emergency in Bayelsa State except Alamieyeseigha. He does not want to go down alone. He wants to go down with everybody. He wants to destroy the system, which every well-meaning Bayelsan will not want to happen. That is why the anti-Alamieyeseigha demonstrations have been peaceful, well planned and not shown signs of violence, even before the military moved into Yenagoa. The coming into Bayelsa of the troops has reduced whatever tension was building up. It was a responsible thing that was done by the Federal Government to ensure peace and for people to be going about their normal duties. The position of Bayelsa people whether Alamieyeseigha should stay as a governor or not, will be decided by the elected representatives of the people, who are members of the House of Assembly.

What will you advise the governor to do at this stage?

There are only two alternatives in this matter. He sees the impeachment through or he resigns. There is no middle course in this matter. No political solution to it. The governor has no moral justification to continue to sit as a governor over Bayelsans. We are not looking at the legal perspective. Because of the things that have happened from September 15, 2005 when he was arrested in London till date, there is no moral basis for him to continue as the governor. Even upon his return, we have seen the level of animosity and anger by Bayelsa people as demonstrated in those protests. We know that for people to demonstrate and carry a coffin and put your poster on it, it shows that you have been buried finally. It is only a man with integrity and moral standing that will say that the only way out is to leave the office. But I do not think that the governor has that kind of morality in him. So he will not resign. He will see the impeachment through, try to defend himself and fight back. But the best bet for him is to resign and face whatever are the consequences of his resignation.

The governor has a lot of cases to answer. I have consistently said that the money that has come to this state and the development for now are not commensurate. We have not judiciously utilised the allocations from the federation account. That means they are lining somebody’s pockets. From September 15, it became obvious that it was lining up the governor’s and his family members’ pockets. As at today, Bayelsa State has received well over N300billion without anything to show for it. No road and water, while electricity is epileptic.

The governor’s information managers have said the reports indicting him are mere allegations that were yet to be proven in any court…

They are allegations and he is innocent of all the charges until proved guilty. That was why we expected him as a man of honour to have faced his trial in the UK. He decided to run, to dishonour that title of “His Excellency”. The lawmakers asked the governor to answer the gross misconduct allegations. If they are not satisfied, he goes. If they are satisfied, he stays.

But does he not have a point that the lawmakers are being teleguided from Abuja?

The governor is making a mockery of our democracy to say that the lawmakers are being teleguided from Abuja. How did the former Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Boyelayefa Debekeme, emerge? Was it not in his Government House that it was teleguided? If he could impose a speaker on the Assembly because he wanted a weakling, what makes him think that Bayelsans cannot go and sit in Abuja and call their representatives and insist that he should be removed? The people who are pushing for his impeachment are Bayelsans like him, who have the interests of this state at heart more than even himself.

The acting Governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and the 15 lawmakers who sat in Yenagoa on November 29, 2005, have all relocated to Abuja. Is it ideal?

Some local government chairmen were beaten up when the governor arrived. If the impeachment must be done, there must be proper security. The lawmakers must be secured and they have to be alive to do their jobs

Is it right for the Federal Government to withhold the state’s November allocation leading to non-payment of workers and contractors?

I do not know why workers have not been paid. That tells you the level of gross mismanagement of resources coming to the state. How much is the workers’ salaries that a state cannot set aside funds for two or three months salaries in case of an untoward event? We need to be prudent.

May be because of ongoing development projects…

Where are the ongoing development projects? The governor said he had not been around for this period that is why the pace of work at project sites is slow. Is that how government should operate? Because of the governor’s absence, contractors cannot be paid. I was amazed when I heard it. The governor thought he was talking to fools. What does he take Bayelsans for? That showed how the state’s resources were mismanaged. Council funds have been withheld in Lagos State for how many months, are they not running? We need a system that will function and not woven around a personality in whose absence nothing will function.

The PUNCH, Wednesday, December 07, 2005

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