By Elizabeth Joseph,
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah, (Rtd) has decried the unwarranted and misleading reports about the South-South geo-political zone and Bayelsa state in particular, saying it is a deliberate distortion of the facts.
Rear Admiral John-Jonah stated this when he played host to the 23rd batch of 20 Student Officers, including 2 directing staff of the Foreign Affairs Academy, Lagos, during a cocktail party in their honour at the Golden Castle Tulip Hotel, Yenagoa.
He stressed that, the people of the region which mainly produce the oil that sustains the federation, have overtime become the most misrepresented and called for an urgent change in the narrative to attract greater foreign investment and development to the area.
The Deputy Governor, who described the student officers as Ambassadors of the country, urged them to tell the Bayelsa story beyond the shores of the country.
“Anywhere you go, please tell our story, the south south story. The South-South, in most cases have been one of the most misrepresented people in this country”.
According to him, the Bayelsa dream to take the “state to the world and the world to Bayelsa” can be achieved with the collaboration and support of the Foreign Service department, as the state is young and has much to offer in terms of profitability and productivity.
Rear Admiral John-Jonah (rtd) urged the 20 Student Officers to be objective in their analysis and reports, stressing that, they have the privilege of making life better for Bayelsans by making recommendations to the government.
“You have the privilege of making life better for Bayelsans because you have the opportunity to study and advise us and I am sure you will write your reports and a copy will come to us”.
“Because you are not part of us, what you write, we feel you will be very objective to advise us and I promise our team will take whatever recommendation that will come from you which would be applicable to us based on the environment that we exist”.
In a remark, Director of Training, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Rachel Ocheni said, the visit to Bayelsa state and other parts of the six geo-political zones, is part of a one-year course for the 20 newly employed staff of the ministry.
Mrs. Ocheni, who affirmed Bayelsa as home of hospitality, said having visited many landmark projects and places in the state alongside the student officers, it is obvious that, the state has a lot to offer in terms of cultural deposits.
She expressed appreciation to the state government for the support and warm reception accorded the team, while assuring that the Ministry would not cease to showcase the potentials of the state outside the shores of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the student officers, Mr. Dauyun Ogidi-Oke thanked Governor Seriake Dickson and his Deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (rtd) for hosting them and promised that they would carry the message to the world.