Former Senator, Mr. Clever Ikisipo, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari‘s efforts to develop the Niger Delta region, especially Bayelsa State.
Ikisikpo, who is a kinsman to former President Goodluck Jonathan, said Buhari did what Jonathan failed to do for the people of Bayelsa.
The Senator stated this on Saturday, September 16, when students’ representatives from Bayelsa East District, conferred on him an award for his outstanding leadership qualities in Kolo area of the state.
The district consists of Ogbia, Nembe, and Brass local government areas of the State.
According to him, Buhari made sure that some persons from Bayelsa were given a licence to build refinery and were awarded oil blocks.
Ikisikpo added that other developmental projects are being undertaken in the state and other parts of the region by the Buhari administration.
He said: “If I say we should appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari, people will ask, why should we appreciate him. You may not know why we should thank God for making Buhari the President of Nigeria.
“Today, what our own could not give to us, Buhari has given to us. An Ogbia man, Dr. Eruani Azibapu, has been given a licence to build a private refinery. We had an opportunity given to the people of Ogbia, Nembe and Brass to own oil blocks in the past, did we get any? No.
“But Buhari has given one of us, a woman, an oil block. That is why I am saying we should appreciate Buhari. He is doing well for the Niger Delta people. Because if the refinery is built today, it will take not less than 10,000 workers. Will Brass, Ogbia and Nembe, not get up to 3,000 workers there? Then, would you not be empowered?
“So, are we not supposed to appreciate Buhari? The oil block we could not get is to be given to one us. If oil block is given to an Ogbia, Nembe or Brass person, are we not going to get one of the Alakijas, are we not going to get one of the Danjumas. Oil block is one the things that make those people billionaires. Today, Danjuma can give somebody N2bn without batting an eyelid.
“Finally, I want to also say we need to appreciate Buhari for fighting corruption and bringing positive change in the country. My friend, one of the serving senators from Bayelsa State, asked me, so, if Buhari had not taken over government, so we would not know the quantum of amount coming into Bayelsa State.”
He noted that the Ijaw misused the opportunity to develop the region.
The former lawmaker said that some of the presidential aides from Bayelsa squandered the commonwealth of the people through excessive greed and reckless spendings and made it impossible for the region to feel the impact of governance.
He said: “I want to tell you some bitter truth. There is an adage that says, ‘before you remove the speck in someone’s eyes, first remove the log in your own eyes.’
“God gave us an elephant but we allowed the elephant to get rotten. Some may not get the adage perhaps. If we had judiciously used that elephant properly, I think by now, Bayelsa East would have become a ‘small Dubai’.
“But we misused the opportunity. Through that opportunity, we could not get oil blocks, through that opportunity; we could not get even modular refineries in Bayelsa East.
“Bayelsa East is the first place to produce crude oil in Nigeria, but go to Oloibiri where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity, the place is a thick forest, where you can kill the biggest animal on earth. Is it supposed to be so?
“When I entered the House of Representatives in 2003, my first motion was how to make Oloibiri a place that would be conducive to every Ogbia person, every Nembe person and every Brass person. I moved a motion that the Federal Government should build an oil museum there. A beautiful resolution was given, but nothing happened.
“At the House of Reps, the first position given to me was deputy chairman, House Committee on Appropriation. The former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan, was the chairman.
“I told him in our first budget meetings that what I wanted was the Yenegwe-Okaki-Kolo-Nembe-Brass Road. When we met with the Budget Office, they asked if the road was a federal government road. I said yes. And they said, go and bring documents. We got the documents at Federal Ministry of Works and presented them.
“That was a project that was started during Melford Okilo’s administration, but was abandoned and went into oblivion. Today, the project has been forsaken. Like I said, we were given an elephant, if the elephant that we were given, had used the opportunity very well, that road would have moved up to Brass today.”
Ikisipo is also a former two-time member of the House of Representatives.