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Bayelsa faults APC's claim it spent N2b on AMAA; says the event was private sector-sponsored

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The Bayelsa State government has condemned in its entirety, the story making the rounds that, Governor Dickson lavished N2billion to host the 2014 African Movie Academy Awards, AMAA.

A Government House statement has described the story credited to the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, APC in the State and published in the media as false, mischieveous, cheap blackmail and clearly an attempt to mislead the public to score cheap political points.

For the umpteenth time, the government wishes to place on record that, His Excellency, Hon. Seriake Dickson has never and will not waiver in the implementation of his administartion's Restoration agenda, which is anchored on transparency, accountability, probity, truth and fairplay.

The Governor did not mince words, when he remarked at the inception of his administration that, most of the policies and programmes of government will be private sector driven, as it is with the top economies of the world and this has been the trend since 2012, when he took over the reins of power in the state.

In keeping to this policy, the restoration government of Hon. Seriake Dickson has in the last 2 years, fully involved the private sector in the running of AMAA and this will be sustained throughout the life span of the administartion.

To put the records straight, prior to the 2013 AMAA, government organised a fundraising at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja and realised little over N800m, while it raised over N200m from a pre-AMAA sponsors' dinner in Lagos for the 2014 edition.

Interestingly, a number of the sponsors made their contributions, even after the fundraising events and with these monies, AMAA 2013 and 2014 were successfully organised.

Furthermore, to gain the confidence of private sector, the Governor also directed that a special account be opened for AMAA funds and has been the case since 2013.

And, in appreciation of the support government got from the private sector, the Governor himself took full page advertorial in some national dailies to personally thank the major sponsors of AMAA 2014 and these things are not hidden.

It therefore, beats one's imagination that, despite all of these programmes, which were well publicised in the media, somebody, who calls himself the image maker of a party like the APC could come up with a statement that, Governor Dickson lavished N2b to host AMAA and even describing it as an erected conduit through which scarce public funds were drained.

The APC may be stating what perhaps was the practice under the immediate past administration of Chief Timipre Sylva, which they were all a part of, but they failed to understand that, it is no longer business as usual with the restoration government.

The Government wishes to state that, it will continue to host AMAA and other events, like it have been doing in the last 2 years, because it is crystal clear that, these events do not only open up the state's economy to the benefit of its people, it also exposes and expand the local economy for the active participation of Bayelsans, thereby creating jobs.

The Government and indeed Bayelsans are not blind to the fact that, from the eateries to the hotels to transportation and the vast chain of allied services, the boom benefitted the local economy and will continue to do more in this regard to essentially promote the boundless tourism potentials in the state.

By government's projection, the youth in particular, who are creative in the arts and music, will continue to get a boost through sponsorship and training in the best creative institutions around the world to unleash their creativity and impact the world to the glory of our dear state.

While we appreciate criticisms, which of cause forms the bedrock of democracies all over the world, it will do us a whole lot of good to have them backed up with facts, instead of the complete falsehood in the APC publication.

Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State