By Shedrack Frank
Yenagoa, May 5, 2021 The Bayelsa Government has urged members of the State Elders Council to support the struggle for restructuring of the country and passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
Gov. Douye Diri made the call at the council’s quarterly meeting in Yenogoa on Tuesday.
Represented by his deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Diri reiterated the state government’s preparedness to identify with any worthy cause aimed at addressing the injustice and imbalances in the country.
The governor attributed the “unrelenting agitations for secession by some ethnic nationalities to absence of justice, fairness and equity’’.
He, therefore, advised the elders to be united at all times and expand their lobbying across ethnic lines to advance the cause for equitable representation in all federal agencies and institutions.
Diri expressed the hope that the passage as well as the implementation of the PIB would address the agitation of host communities in the sharing of proceeds from oil and gas generated from the Niger Delta.
“When we talk about the issue of restructuring, we will need the elders to make it more effective. So, we enjoin you individually and collectively to take advantage of your outreach spread beyond Bayelsa to help us in the struggle.
“Our doors are open for your useful suggestions and advice. If there are urgent issues of interest to the Ijaw nation, and particularly Bayelsa, please don’t hesitate to knock on our doors.
“On the issue of the PIB, we believe that in no distant time, when the current industrial action by the parliamentary workers union is over, the bill will be passed.
“The state has made direct presentation and we believe that what we have proposed is quite representative enough of our interest, aspirations and desires.
We believe that if the bill is passed, our situation will not be the same again and there will be an improvement from what we are getting now. We also believe that our elders can do the necessary lobbying while we do our own.’’
Earlier, the Acting Chairman of the council, Chief Thompson Okorotie, expressed the group’s support for the restructuring of the country.
According to him, restructuring is the survival valve of the nation which is currently on the precipice.
Okorotie decried the worsening security situation in the country, saying that it was unfortunate that the South South region had yet to come out with its own security outfit like other regions.
The chairman appealed to critical stakeholders in the region to close ranks and fashion out effective security architecture for the area.