Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has lauded the Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) for its sustained efforts to promote developm
Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has lauded the Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) for its sustained efforts to promote development of Ijaw communities, and for being a strong voice for enthroning professional and ethical values.
He made the commendation while speaking during a visit by the association as part of its engagement with key stakeholders towards the sustainable development of Bayelsa State and Ijaw communities in other states.
Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Association, Major General Paul Toun (rtd) equally commended the Governor for his joint initiative with Rivers and Akwa Ibom State Governments in securing victory at the Supreme Court on the contentious Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act.
He noted that the decision was a significant achievement not just for the states concerned but also for the south south geopolitical zone and thanked Governor Dickson for the active role the Bayelsa State Government played. General Toun called for more of such leadership and action on matters affecting Bayelsa State, Ijawland and the Niger Delta, especially the environmental emergencies faced by the people and the vexed issue of the tenure of the current Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
He called on Governor Dickson to also take the initiative in fostering collaboration among the South South states in order to build a strong regional economy, by reviving and co-funding the BRACED Commission. He added however that there was need for robust economic intelligence and action to avoid any further loss or derailment of industrial opportunities such as the multi-billion dollar Petrochemical Complex, the Brass Fertilizer Plant and the Brass LNG project.
He said the Association was worried by the devastation caused by flood in the state and has been advocating for the declaration of a state of environmental emergency in the state by government. The IPA’s advocacy may have started paying off with the recent visit of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to some affected communities and the declaration of Bayelsa State as a disaster area by the National Emergency Management Agency. He presented to the Governor the association’s Statement on Environmental Emergencies in the Ijaw Homeland, the recommendations of which if implemented, he noted, would go a long way in averting and mitigating the impact of further occurrences.
Also speaking, President of the Lagos Chapter, Elaye Otronafowei, called for greater collaboration between the association and the state government in the various ongoing and completed projects such as the Bayelsa Airport, Agge Seaport, Brass Fertilizer, Brass LNG, the Eco-industrial Park, and asked what opportunities are available for indigenous professionals.
He disclosed that the association had in early October 2017 embarked on an independent tour of projects in the state and expressed delight at some transformative projects like the Airport, Medical Diagnostics Centre, and the Ekeremor-Agge road.
The IPA boss presented the report of the tour to the Governor who appreciated the group for responding to his invitation and thanked them for the spirit of solidarity.
Responding, the Governor described the role played by the association during this period of humanitarian emergency by contributing towards relief materials to flood victims as rare and a way of giving back to the society and urged the group to do more.
He thanked the IPA for creating the time and expending the resources to carry out an independent tour of infrastructural projects under construction. According to him, “this was an opportunity for the association to do an assessment of what the government has done in term of existing facilities in the state.”
He noted that the Ijaw nation was pleased with the unity and coordination in the group, and that these were qualities greatly needed to move the the Ijaw nation forward.
Other top officials of the Association present at the meeting were Iniruo Wills (President of IPA’s Homeland Chapter), Geoffrey Kwale (a former Vice President of IPA), Stella Alaere Raine (Vice President of the Homeland Chapter), Margaret Agidee (Chapter Treasurer), Marie-Therese Teibowei (Chapter Publicity Secretary) and Mike Ombu (Chapter Assistant Secretary).