Pauline Onyibe reports on expectations of the people of Bayelsa State from David Lyon, who takes oath office today as their new governor
Though David Lyon could be described as a novice in Bayelsa politics, having been in the private sector before now, he has promised to judiciously utilize the state’s resources for the common good of the people.
He declared during the campaigns that the leadership position he was going to occupy will be that of a social contract between him and the people of Bayelsa State.
Though that has always been the promise each time a new governor comes on board. With many not walking their talk, Lyon assured Bayelsans that he would treat the state revenue as the peoples’ money meant for development.
“Bayelsa money is not my money. Bayelsa money doesn’t belong to my deputy. It is the peoples’ money and we will use it judiciously to develop Bayelsa State.
“I, David Lyon, is signing a contract with the people to bring peace to our state, so that development will come to Bayelsa. This is the time for us to come together to develop Bayelsa. We have lost a lot. We have missed a lot. Let us come together to develop our great state,” Lyon, who also promised to improve on the security situation of the state, said upon his emergence as Governor-elect.
But in what seems an agenda for the new governor, former president Goodluck Jonathan, who hails from the state, advised Lyon to put the welfare and interest of Bayelsans above every other issue as he takes over the mantle of leadership of the state.
Jonathan, who gave the advice shortly after Lyon was declared winner of the Bayelsa State governorship election, said: “As a former President of Nigeria, I am a father to all Bayelsans, hence my doors are open to all citizens irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I urge you (Lyon) to make the welfare of Bayelsans a top priority and carry all Bayelsans along irrespective of the party they voted for. Elections are over now, so I want you to see yourself as the governor of all Bayelsans and not only to the sections that voted for you. This is the way to move Bayelsa forward.”
President Muhammadu Buhari also gave a similar advice, when he received Lyon at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, who said he looks forward to working with the incoming administration in Bayelsa State to improve the lives of the people, told Lyon to carry other divergent interests along in the next phase of governance.
Already, Bayelsans, who are expecting much from Lyon’s administration, have advised him to focus on a wide of issues, ranging from job creation to empowerment and consolidation of things on ground.
Some residents, who spoke with our correspondent asked for efficient road network, while others asked that the power supply in the state be boasted by rejuvenating the gas turbine.
Others asked that the new governor should reconcile all aggrieved people and carry everybody along with humility. He was also advised to incorporate technocrats in his government.
Lucky Ndeemue, a business man said his expectation from Lyon is that he should put smile on the faces of civil servants. “When you pay civil servants as and when due, the money circulates, but when the salaries are delayed, everywhere looks dry. So, he should not go the way of the outgoing government.
“If he goes the same way, there will be no difference Bayelsa and that means there will be no Next Level. We will still be having the same pains. So, I expect that all the bad eggs should be flushed out of government.
“We have suffered a lot. Business is not moving because of lack of electricity. No water to drink after over twenty years, we need good roads. I know that he cannot do everything but let him try his best.”
Biggie Obeisi, the caretaker of Tombia Market on his part, said: “Let the new governor establish more markets for the communities that deserve it and let be there security in the state because security matters a lot.
“Let him invest in community development so that it will touch everybody that is in the community whether indigenes or non-indigenes. Let him also establish skill acquisition centres for the youth, so that they can learn trades.
“Also, the gas turbine should be resurrected because the PHEDC is not giving us what we are paying for.”
Also speaking, Mrs. Rebecca Christian, a business woman, said: “So many women and men don’t have jobs, let him just provide jobs for people so that stealing and criminality will reduce. Let him work on the security of the state. Although there are some women who are not ready to do anything, those who are ready should be empowered so that they will start making some money without waiting for their husbands.”
Joy Emmanuel a journalist said: “I’m not expecting much from the incoming government because there is so much to be done. From the look of things, he can’t do more than what other persons have done, but we just pray that he will consolidate on what he is going to meet on ground because the challenges are enormous and Bayelsans have high expectations.
“Everybody wants David Lyon because they believe that he will perform magic, but in governance, there is nothing like magic. Some persons are also waiting without bringing anything to the table. They just want David Lyon to come and share money and I don’t think that will be possible.
“In the first one hundred days, I want constant light supply in Bayelsa. Give us steady light and a lot of artisans will be able to do their jobs. People can initiate businesses on their own. Let him focus on restoring light in his first hundred days.”
Paradise Esime, a borehole driller said: “Let there be good governance in the area of health and in the area of security and infrastructural development. I am not anticipating him to share money if not we will be going back to the old days because if we are clamouring for Next Level, he should not go back to the old way of doing things. If we are thinking of sharing money, that means we are in support corruption that they are talking about.”
Ezekile Ogbianko, the chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Bayelsa State chapter, said: “Let him not allow the politicians to spoil his mind, so that he can focus on the development of Bayelsa State. If he allows those corrupt politicians and those wrong advisers, he will have problem. If he focuses on only politicians alone without taking technocrats in his government, then it will be like the past government.
“These politicians will not advise him on the development of the state, but for their own selfish interest. So, let him appoint somebody that has passion for agriculture as an Agric commissioner. If he brings in a politician in the agric ministry, the person will not know where to start from. Let him appoint somebody that has been practicing agriculture to man that ministry. He should focus more on agriculture to emulate President Buhari to reduce unemployment in the state.”
Ebiakpor Barle, a public servant said: “I expect a government that will be humane; a government that will do the biddings of the people more than the biddings of the godfathers; a government that will carry everybody along. Let him rally round the bureaucrats, the fair and honest ones.
“Let him also clear all the outstanding salaries. We need industries but the first is for him to think of how to reconcile all aggrieved people in APC and also pick genuine people in the state whether APC or PDP. Let him work with people, who have credibility for him to have a solid cabinet.”
Esther Yabel, a civil servant said: “As Bayelsans, we need road networks in the state. The state is in dire need of roads. We have just one road. If something happens, we are trapped. That Igbogene road is a priority. Let there be internal road networks to connect each other.
“We also need massive development. Let them construct a flyover at the Tombia round about. Let there be a total overhauling of the educational system. Dickson had laid a very good foundation. Let him build on that.
“Let him pay the backlog of arrears of gratuities to retirees. For many years, retirees have not been paid their gratuities. So many persons are yearning for that.”
Lovelyn Samson, a house wife, said: “Let the new government build low cost housing estates, so that house rent will be affordable. It should also regulate house rents in the state, so that house rents will be reduced.”
No doubt, Bayelsans are expecting more than enough from the incoming government looking back from where they are coming, but the fact is that the state is in dire need of development.
The question against this backdrop is: Will Lyon be the long awaited messiah Bayelsans have been yearning for?