Tension builds in Sagbama LGA of Baylesa State
There is growing tension in Sagbama local government area of Bayelsa State, over the sack of more than 500 local government workers there.
Our investigations showed that the sack order was given by the chairman of Sagbama local government council, Mr. Peres Peretu.
The affected workers who were employed since 2003 are said to be bracing up for a showdown with the council chairman and some principal officers of the council, who are believed to be working relentlessly for the chairman to realize his goal of staff retrenchment.
It was gathered that trouble started for the workers as soon as the council chairman assumed office last year, with a promise to fish out any staff with irregularities in their appointments.
However, following an order from the chairman recently to stop their salaries, the affected workers have since mobilized themselves to make the LGA ungovernable.
In a related development, the Sagbama Restoration Agenda (SRA), a newly formed socio-political movement to restore the lost glory of Sagbama Local Government Area, has called for the immediate removal of the chairman of the LGA, Mr. Peres Peretu.
The protem chairman of SRA, Chief Dick Douye, made the group's position known at Biogbolo, Yenagoa, while exchanging views with journalists on Friday.
Douye said the SRA is demanding either the outright removal or suspension of the chairman, after making a thorough appraisal of his actions since he was sworn into Office in May last year.
The SRA chairman noted that of all the elected council chairmen in Bayelsa State, the Sagbama local government chairman was the only one pursuing an evil agenda to retrench more than 500 workers in his council.
Douye who didn't conceal his anger with the Sagbama local government boss, wondered why Peres Peretu has disregarded all appeals made on him by reasonable personalities in the state, including the local government service commission chairman, Chief Monovie Ogbara; the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Joshua Igbagara; the member representing Sagbama Constituency 1 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Pastor Peter Akpe as well as the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Nestor Binabo to shelve his evil plot to sack 500 workers.
Douye said the people of Sagbama local government area didn't legally elect Peres Peretu as chairman, as he was forcibly imposed on them and asked to know the motivation behind his retrenchment of workers, when the chairman himself was a beneficiary of the very system the workers used to get their appointments. He maintained that as far as the council boss was pushed into office through the back door or what he called 'open electoral fraud' , he lacked the moral authority to fight "against his friends in the same boat with him."
"The question here is, Peres Peretu was never elected by the people of Sagbama local government. It is high time we told him this plain truth. Has he forgotten how he was manipulated into that seat he is using today to oppress his fellow SALGARIANS? If our governor, Chief Timipre Sylva can be magnanimous enough to forgive over 3,000 environmental sanitation workers with appointment irregularities, then who is Peres Peretu that he is creating so much tension and attempting to make the local government a battle ground?", he queried.
The SRA chairman lamented that Peres Peretu has made it impossible for the legislative arm of the council to have any sitting for the past 10 months, thereby making his administration a one man road show.
Douye who accused Peres Peretu as a mischief-maker in the local government, for fighting virtually everyone, including local government workers, the press, councillors and the founding fathers of the PDP at the local government level, pointed out that the chairman was pursuing an hidden agenda to destroy the livelihood of hundreds of workers and their numerous dependants.
The SRA chieftain concluded by making an appeal to the leadership of the ruling PDP in Bayelsa State to stop the retrenchment, otherwise Peres Peretu would soon throw Sagbama local government area into a theatre of political crisis, the dimension of which may well go beyond the imagination of anyone, he said.
Meanwhile, efforts to reach Peres Peretu for comments on the matter proved unsuccessful as he was said to be away on an official assignment. However, one of his aides who didn't want her name in print said the chairman wanted to sanitize the local government, before he would employ new staff to fill up the vacancies that would be created through the exercise.
By P'figu Cookey-Gam