The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, said on Tuesday that the outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari, did not initiate any new project in any part of the state throughout his eight years in office.
He stated this at the inauguration and handover ceremony of the Federal Secretariat Complex in Yenagoa, which is named after former President Goodluck Jonathan, whose administration started the project in 2011.
Diri said, “While it is good that the Federal Government completed some of the projects started by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, we want to place it on record that for the past eight years, we never saw one new project in Bayelsa State.”
He pointed out that the Federal Government had witnessed first-hand the comparatively high cost of executing infrastructural projects in the state, stressing that the cost of constructing a kilometre of standard road in Bayelsa could be used to construct four or more kilometres of the same grade of road elsewhere in the country.
The governor, who was represented at the event by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Federal Secretariat, which was initially pegged for N2.5bn, had to undergo a cost variation after the 2012 catastrophic flood and was completed at a total cost of N3.1bn.
Diri expressed hope that with this experience, the Federal Government would henceforth be more cautious in matters of project cost evaluation and execution in Bayelsa State.
Diri said, “Some people who do not actually know what we are passing through in this state are quick to condemn us and make all sorts of comments about our level of development.
“But I’m happy and very sure that the Federal Government, having passed through what we experience in Bayelsa State, will not make such comments. In Bayelsa here, we spend a lot of resources to clear the road and create land for construction.
“I’m happy that the story will change, going forward, because they (Federal Government) have seen that what will cost them N2bn to build in Awka, Anambra State and Gusau in Zamfara will cost them N3bn in Bayelsa State.
“The Federal Government has seen that construction in Bayelsa here is more repulsive, resistant and difficult. The project here was billed for N2.5bn but after the flood in 2012, it was redesigned and re-evaluated.”
Buhari, who joined the ceremony virtually, remarked that the successful completion of the secretariat projects in Yenagoa, Awka and Gusau would save the Federal Government from the expenditure of renting office accommodation for its workers in the three states.
The Goodluck Jonathan Federal Secretariat Project in Yenagoa was handled by MS Trenur Nigeria Limited and has a total of 342 offices including, a post office, a banking hall and a standard conference hall named after another illustrious son of Bayelsa State, Ambassador Godknows Igali, a retired federal permanent secretary.