Hyacinth Chinweuba/Joseph Bakare
Governor of Bayelsa state Seriake Dickson has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for disclosing the economic status of the country.
The comment rarely attributed to staunch and unrepentant members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a party under which he is seeking re-election is seen as a sign of loyalty shift.
PDP had accused Buhari of de-marketing Nigeria and chasing away investors by disclosing the true picture of the economy.
But the state governor who is campaigning for reelection in December 5 governorship poll in the disagreed with his party.
A statement signed by Dickson’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the governor who spoke while addressing during his newly appointed special advisers at Government House, Yenagoa, commended President Buhari for disclosing the economic status of the country.
He urged Bayelsans to tighten their belts and brace up for the harsh financial situation facing the state.
The governor said the only way out of the present economic doldrums was diversification from oil and gas sector of the economy.
Dickson said: “Already, you are all aware of the statement by the President that our country is in a very dire financial situation. That comment has attracted a lot of criticisms but I agree with the president that Nigerians are entitled to know the true state of the economy.
“Investors who want to do business in Nigeria are entitled to know the true state of our economy. Let me use this opportunity to call on all Bayelsans to listen to what the President has said that the entire country is broke.
“He has made us understand that the financial situation that we are managing is a national phenomenon. It is not peculiar to Bayelsa.
”For the allocation of last month, the Federation Account Allocation Committee could not meet until the past month because they didn’t have money to share to the state and , even when they met for the first time since I took over as governor, states have started getting zero allocation.
“I don’t know why people are blaming the president for saying that our country is broke because that is the truth about the economy. States can’t pay salaries, we can’t meet our basic responsibilities. I can’t pay allowances to myself and my staff.
“However, even in the midst of that we are managing to pay salaries. Even in this terrible month, we’ve directed that by Monday salaries of workers should be paid.”
The governor asked his new appointees, to deploy their experience in the present administration’s efforts to consolidate on its achievements.
He said the new aides were coming into government at a crucial moment of election and urged them to join forces with other critical stakeholders of the PDP to mobilize support for the party in the forthcoming election.
He tasked them to work closely with the state economic team to resuscitate the Bayelsa Palm Limited adding that the future of the state economy rests on agriculture, industrial development and tourism.
The newly sworn in appointees are; Chief Lambert Ototo, Special Adviser on Agriculture and Mr. Olaitari Ikemike, Special Adviser on Industrial Development.