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SYLVA'S GOVT NOT ON GROUND, SAYS OMBEH, GOVERNORSHIP ASPIRANT

By NBF News
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For 12 years, he enjoyed a flourishing career as a lawyer in the oil and gas industry working with Chevron/ Texaco.  Now, his attention has shifted to politics and his target is the topmost seat in Bayelsa State.

Mr. George Ombeh from Ekeremor community in Ekeremor local government believes he has the experience to take Bayelsa to the next level of development.

While insisting that his experience as a politician under the late General Sani Abacha transition programme would be handy as he plots his way to the Government House, Ombeh believes that Timipre Sylva administration has not performed to the expectation of the people.

Drumming support for the ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, Ombeh appealed to other geo-political zones to concede the presidency to the South-South arguing that, the region has contributed to Nigeria's development that it is high time other regions compensate it for its sacrifice. FEMI FOLARANMI brings in the excerpts.

Jonathan must contest
So far, President Jonathan has done well, and I believe people are happy with him. Whether he should contest or not, my opinion is that he should contest. If the North says it was because of June-12 that it was conceded to Obasanjo, then june-12 was a peculiar case. They saw an injustice done to the West and there was the need to let the West have a shot at the Presidency. Now, there is greater need to let the South-South, the Niger Delta have a shot at it too, considering that the oil which is the mainstay of the nation is derived from this region. We are the people that have been badly dealt with. In the history of this country we have never produced the president. We've never even had a vice president not until Dr Goodluck Jonathan came on board in 2007.

Well, we keep fighting ourselves as the people who provide the revenue for the country. The wealth of this country as it stands today is gotten from the South-South. Tell me one rich man in Nigeria today whose source of wealth is not connected to oil? There is none! So if the South-South has created wealth for men all over the country, why can't the country at least concede this post to the region for once? This would give the people of the region the opportunity to be developed and for the people to be empowered one way or the other.

I think Dr Goodluck should contest the 2011 general elections. I am a supporter of Jonathan's presidency. That's why you can see his picture over here not just because he is the president, but because I support his presidency.

Vote of no confidence on Sylva
As an aspirant, I would hate to talk about people and their government. But I will answer your question to the extent of my expectations of the responsibilities of the government and what we have seen so far. Strictly speaking, I will say this government has not satisfied me. This government speaks well. I say speaks well, because I attended the inauguration of Sylva as governor, at the inception of his administration. When I listened to his inaugural speech, I felt satisfied with him. But unfortunately the problem we have in this country is policy implementation. We have not been able to work on our talk. That is the problem that we have here, but I intend to change all that. We've not had sufficient evidence to show that the government has been on ground for the past three years.

As for his seeking a second term, my personal opinion as a lawyer is that the second swearing in of the governor was just a re affirmation of the first. You cannot benefit from your own fault. A governor cannot benefit from his own flaw particularly a sitting governor. That is what equity says. How does that correct the injustice done? Be that as it may, that is my opinion. I like to believe that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would be able to take this issue to the Supreme Court for the right interpretation, and I want to believe it shall be determined at that level.

Status of PDP exco in Bayelsa
It is unfortunate that politicians try to take advantage of every situation. INEC has announced the dissolution of the state executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa. INEC caused the dissolution of the state executive. INEC statutorily has the constitutional role in the constitution and election of party executive. INEC said from the records available to them – as it was then – didn't pass those expectations and therefore the state executive was dissolved. But the unfortunate thing is that they are doing the wrong thing by reconstituting a caretaker executive. I understand the national secretariat of the party is working on constituting a caretaker executive for Bayelsa. And I know that that is going to come out sooner than we expect. It is going to be very soon, and that's going to put a stop to the gap that has been created.

Antecedents
I am not completely a greenhorn in politics. In 1990, I went into politics when the Babaginda, a little to the right and left parties were there. I was a member of the Social Democratic Party(SDP). I contested for chairmanship position for the then Sagbama local government area, which is now Bayelsa West Senatorial District. During that campaign, I went to every community and hamlet in my constituency; but I didn't win the election. Later in 1997, after the creation of Bayelsa State, I contested for the State House of Assembly and won on the platform of the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM). I won the election at that time when United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) UNCP was everywhere and for somebody to contest and win on the platform of a seemingly unknown party, then he must be a very popular candidate. This goes to show I have the followership. So when Abacha died, and that era was discontinued, it was at that point I decided to go into the oil and gas sector.

Vision
One of the first things I would do is to tackle the three senatorial roads. It is not a difficult thing. As a government, we have got to work with the private sector, both internally and externally. As a government, we take on a lot of things that we ought not to, and at the end of the day we are not able to conserve enough funds for certain basic things. Frankly speaking, Bayelsa State can enter into agreement with some foreign companies like Julius Berger and open discussions things like, we want these three senatorial roads, give us the cost. You look at when you can recover the cost, then you enter into agreement with them for them to be getting monthly remittance. These are basic projects that the state needs at any time in the history of the state. In hundred years to come, you need this road. Instead of committing the state to frivolities or high debts, these basic things we can get the companies to do, and at the same time start paying on agreed terms.

I am coming into politics for a post-oil economy. You know oil is not going to last forever. We need to start positioning this state for the era when there will be no oil, or gas. And of course, there should be an opportunity to create employment for our teeming youths and empowerment of the ordinary man on the street