The Bayelsa Governor visited the Rivers community.
By Arodiegwu Eziukwu
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, on Monday visited Abonnema, the headquarters of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers apparently to mend fences for the Soku oil wells ceded to Bayelsa by the federal government.
The oil wells have been a major source of dispute between the neighbouring states. The Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, has also accused President Goodluck Jonathan of ceding the oil wells to Bayelsa because that was the president’s home state.
Mr. Dickson called on Ijaws to build bridges of unity across the country and speak with one voice in pursuance of their collective interests.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Amayanabo of Abonnema, Disrael Bob-Manuel, Mr. Dickson expressed gratitude to the people for their show of understanding and maturity in handling the Soku-Oluasiri oil wells dispute.
“The first thing I will like to say is to appreciate you, your chiefs and indeed all the wonderful people of your kingdom for their show of maturity in handling some of the issues that have come between us as brothers.
“You are all aware of the long-standing unfortunate disagreement between our major Ijaw brothers here and those in the Nembe clan, which dispute as you know predates even the creation of Bayelsa State. It is an unfortunate chapter in our history as Ijaw people.
“But the important thing is when disputes, which are inevitable in the course of human interactions, take place, it is important that we have the right frame of mind and show understanding and maturity to move for an amicable settlement,” Mr. Dickson said.
He said in line with his administration’s policy of ensuring peaceful co-existence among the Ijaws, the Bayelsa State Government under his watch would do everything within its reach to achieve amicable resolution of the dispute. He emphasized the need for leaders in the region to close ranks and utilize the resources of Ijaw land to develop the region rather than cause disaffection among its kith and kin.
Mr. Dickson commended the people for complementing government’s efforts through self-help projects in developing their area and upholding the rich Ijaw cultural heritage.
He also saluted them for supporting the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Responding, Mr. Bob-Manuel expressed gratitude to the governor for the visit, noting that it would go a long way in strengthening the bonds of unity between the people of Rivers and Bayelsa States.
Commenting on the dispute, he expressed satisfaction with the way the issue was handled by the president and urged other stakeholders to address the matter dispassionately.
He called on the Federal Government to prevail on the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) to complete ongoing land reclamation projects which according to him has suffered serious setbacks over the years.
“We went to the Aso Rock Villa and we had a very fruitful meeting with the President. I was not shocked but impressed by his humility, candour and openness and we believe that these issues will be resolved amicably,” the royal father said.
Mr. Bob-Manuel also called for the resuscitation of a sea port that existed in the-colonial era to boost socio-economic activities and rehabilitation of the only girls secondary school in the area.
Mr. Dickson was accompanied on the visit by the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike; and the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus.
Others are Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Felix Obuah; Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Edmund Oguru, among others.