Bayelsa state governor, Senator Douye Diri, weekend said he was grateful to former head of state, late General Sani Abacha, over the creation of the state 25 years ago. The state was created on October 1, 1996.
Governor Diri said the people of his homogeneous Ijaw state remain grateful to the late Nigerian leader for that singular decision regardless of factors that could have hindered the state’s creation.
He stated this on Sunday during a thanksgiving service on Nigeria’s 61st independence and Bayelsa state’s 25th anniversary at the King of Glory Chapel in Government House, Yenagoa.
His chief press secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as eulogising Abacha, noting that the late head of state remains a hero to people of the state and indeed the Ijaw nation.
He said: “Let me use this medium to thank one man. He may not be popular in Nigeria but to me and all of us Bayelsans, we see him as a great man, a hero. The man, by the stroke of the pen, signed the creation of Bayelsa state. I am talking about the late General Sani Abacha.
“We acknowledge him as a state and people. By his singular assent, he created this state with just eight local government areas, which was less than the constitutional requirements.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary, the Bayelsa helmsman called on the federal government to ensure justice and equity in the distribution of resources in the country.
Diri expressed dissatisfaction with the present lopsided federal structure where the federal government takes resources from states and decides what is given to each state at the end of every month.
He said if the country was allowed to practice true federalism, it would enable the states as federating units to control their resources and contribute to the central government.
He also stated his belief that Nigeria would be a great country if there was justice and equity as each state had abundant resources that could be harnessed for development of the country.
He called for amendment of the Petroleum Industry Act to increase the 3% allotted to host communities to 10% as well as include states and local governments as trustees in implementation of the host community fund.