Nembe/Brass Kings Endorse Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State for second term, 2023, for Breaking Jinx Of Abandoned Road Project.
By Isaac Ombe
Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
Ahead of the next governorship election in Bayelsa state which will hold late 2023, political moves have started in various forms and ways. As it is traditional in Nigeria, the incumbent governor of the state Duoye Diri is expected to seek re-election for a second term. A number of interest groups and stake holders have, in furtherance, kicked off support for the Diri whom is popularly called miracle governor in the state.
One of the earliest groups to express support for the governor are the Kings of oil rich Nembe /Brass axis of Bayelsa State and their subjects. At an event in the state, last month, the Kings and their subjects publicly declared their support for the miracle governor , citing as reason his ‘’exceptional and rare courage to unite the Nembe people through an age long bridge that had hitherto divided them.’’
The bridge, located between the two communities of Nembe Gbasambiri and Nembe Ogbolomabiri was reconstructed and commissioned at a carnival-like colourful ceremony, attended by former President Goodluck Jonathan and other important dignitaries. By that gesture, the governor indeed united the Communities of Nembe /Brass through a road project that had been abandoned for decades. Before the project was completed, the Communities could only access each other through water, for decades.
The ground breaking ceremony for the bridge project which took place at the Nembe end of the road a fortnight ago was a carnival of sort. The King’s and their subjects, including women and youth groups tuned out in large numbers to appreciate the good things he has done for them. All the eminent Kings and personalities of the Nembe/Brass extraction abandoned other busy schedules to personally grace the epoch making event, to assure Senator Diri of their unalloyed support for his second tenure bid.
At the occasion, virtually all the traditional rulers of the Clans that make up Nembe and Brass Kingdoms paid glowing tributes to Governor Diri. The traditional rulers that expressed their gratitude included King Edmund Daukoru, the Amanyanabo of Nembe. He said: “I will simply extend my heartfelt gratitude to the miracle governor for yet doing another miracle. A road that was conceived during the time of my birth and only being about to be completed when by all reckoning, after I am so advanced in age to see this happen to us, nothing sort of a miracle and is coming from a miracle governor. I say you are a fine example of what one expects to see in governance.
Reviewing the bold step the governor has taking at a time when the world economy and of Nigeria and even the state is facing challenges, Dakoru noted thus: “Your Excellency, you are undertaking this project at a time when revenue is scarce. Everybody knows oil production is dwindling. It must take a lot of praise on the part of your Excellency to undertake this project.’’ The Paramount ruler urged his subjects to give governor Diri the maximum support for all round success.
Speaking further, Dakoru said : “It’s an opportunity, your Excellency to thank you for the Nembe Unity bridge and for commissioning it.You have really written your name in the sands of time.There are many, many ways we can express our gratitude. Please may God allow you to complete your eight years so that you can do so many things for us”.
Also speaking in the same vain, King Josiah Biobelemoyethe , Amanyanabo of Opu-Nembe, who described Diri as a true reflection of a miracle to the people of Nembe Kingdom through the groundbreaking of the project added that governor has started doing miracles since he came on board as governor. According to the paramount ruler, .the first miracle was when he transformed the rickety Unity Bridge that had all the time kept our unity in rickety condition. That was why the unity of the Nembe brothers was always broken, he said.
Explaining further, he said: ‘’Now we are here witnessing his second miracle in the Nembe Kingdom. If I were not a Royal father I would have asked him to baptize me. But because I have been spiritually baptized by the gods of the land and God in Heaven I will only want to be a witness of your superlative miracles now and in the future”.
‘’You have saved us from the troubles of sea pirates or Creek pirates. We have witnessed people traveling from Brass traveling to Yenagoa for verification exercises and devilish sea or Creek pirates will acost them and some of their hard earned certificate will be thrown into high sea. Some lost their lives but with this, you have given hope to the hopeless. Your Excellency, in spite of the hardship economically, God will provide for you to complete this project so that it will not be a project to be left for another person to complete.’’
Alfred Diette Spiff, Amayanabo of Twon Brass, also described Diri as the miracle governor who has put his hand on the plough”, stressing “I know there will be no looking back.’’
Recalling how the same road project was awarded in the 70s, during his time as governor of Old Rivers State with little amount of millions, Spiff said: “This project was awarded for a sum of 3million in 1973,; that of Bonny was the sum of 5million; that of Koroama was 7million . We are talking in billions now.’’
The event, with banners flaunting his second tenure bid all over the arena, women groups, youths and other admirers danced to several musical tunes as Diri himself also sang gospel tunes to back up his speech and preparedness to develop all parts of the state if given more opportunity, saying ” the Canoe is now in Nembe, and we shall paddle it to berth in Brass”.
He assured that the present financial situation facing the state and Country cannot stop him from completing the all-important road project, stressing that concerted efforts will be geared towards sourcing for funds to complete the project which will be completed in three phases, with 21 kilometers and 6 bridges for the first phase.
The ground breaking ceremony which was flagged off by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at Nembe end of the road is one of the three senatorial roads to link the sea areas of the State. In his address, Governor Diri said the road had suffered several setbacks but that his administration was determined to bring to an end the sufferings of the people of Nembe and Brass in the hands of sea pirates and kidnappers.
Governor Diri disclosed that the project will be in three phases, to commence with the first phase of 21km and 10 bridges awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited for N54.1billion. According to the governor, a major advantage of the road when completed, is that it will open up the Brass Island, which has key national economic assets such as the Agip oil export terminal, the ongoing Brass Liquefied Natural Gas and the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical projects.
In his remarks shortly before flagging off the project, Fashola who was represented by Mr. Godwin Eke, the Director of Highways (South South), commended Governor Diri for commencing the project and assured that his ministry will leverage on the government’s current tax credit scheme with the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to the advantage of the project.
Moses Teibowei, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, in his address at the event also noted the bounty advantage of the road, saying it will attract large investment to the Brass Island, which had the potential of an economic free trade zone and transform the area to an economic and tourism hub of the state.
Tabulating the three phases of the road, Teibowei disclosed that the project was divided into three phases with the first phase commencing from Nembe to Saint Nicolas River while the second phase will be a 600metre bridge crossing the river and the third phase will be from the bridge to Twon-Brass. The project is estimated to be completed in 24 to 36 months.
Mr. Ziad Muonanse, the Deputy Managing Director of Setraco Nigeria Limited, who lauded governor Diri for the confidence reposed in his company for construction of major roads in the state, assured that the company would deliver on the project to the highest of standards and within the stipulated time.
started at my birth Today I’m at the my exit hall, and I’m now witnessing the construction of this road . I hope that you will complete it before I finally exit.
One thing was clear at the epoch making the event, both the prosperity governor DOUYE DIRI and the people of Nembe, Brass need each other to actualize his second tenure bid in order to do more miracle projects for them in his second tenure.