Nigeria: ‘It’s Hopeless’, Says Ex-Commissioner Who Doesn’t Want to Vote in Bayelsa Election

The former commissioner said many people feel the same way he feels about Bayelsa.

A former commissioner in Bayelsa State, Furoebi Akene, has said that he does not want to vote in Saturday’s election in the state because he has lost faith in the quality of political leadership in the state.

“We have not seen a governor that is interested in the development of the state,” Mr Akene, who was a commissioner for Lands and Survey in Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration, told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday. “That is why I don’t even bother to go for the election. None of them, including the Labour Party candidate, is good for me to vote for.”

Mr Akene resigned in November 2015 from Mr Dickson’s administration because of disagreement over the then-governor’s leadership style. Since then he has been living in Abuja and does visit Bayelsa occasionally.

He said he would not want to live a life of regret in future by supporting any incompetent politician to become the governor of Bayelsa.

Mr Akene is into environmental management. He says he is comfortable living his life as a private citizen.

“For me, anybody can win (in the Bayelsa election) because they are the same bedfellows,” he added.

Mr Akene, who said Bayelsa had been badly managed by successive administrations in the state, argued that Akwa Ibom State has outclassed Bayelsa in terms of infrastructure and other development indices.

“We have almost the same amount of money,” he said of the revenues accruing to Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states.

Both Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom are oil-rich states. They are entitled to a 13 per cent monthly oil derivation fund from Nigeria’s Federation Account.

“The situation is very hopeless,” the former commissioner said of Bayelsa State.

“Bayelsa, with one small city called Yenagoa, we have never improved on it. For 27 years, we have not done anything. As far as I am concerned, the situation is hopeless.

“I am not going to vote.

“Until they get people who are serious-minded, I will then support that one.”

Saturday’s election in Bayelsa is a two-horse race between the incumbent Governor Douye Diri, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and Timipre Sylva, a former minister of state for Petroleum, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

Mr Akene, however, said Mr Sylva is a “better evil” when compared with Governor Diri.

‘I’ve tried my best’ for Bayelsa

PREMIUM TIMES asked Mr Akene how the ills in Bayelsa can be corrected if he refuses to participate in the state’s electoral process, and also that his comment could very well be interpreted as an indictment on him.

“When all the parties there are not open to corrections, what do you want me to do? I have tried to do many things to correct the wrongs. I have been writing, suggesting how the state could be developed,” he responded.

“I have tried my best.

“The people we have been putting in authorities don’t have the requisite exposure to know what development is all about. Two, there is too much selfishness and greed. We have a lot of sycophants. We have a lot of politicians who are so lazy, they don’t have anything to do except to feed on the state resources.

“People like us who tell them the truth are being seen as enemies.”

The former commissioner said many people feel the same way he feels about Bayelsa but that they could not speak out because of some personal benefits they derive from the government.

“When I was made a commissioner, I went into politics to see whether I could change things but the more I got deeper the more enemies I got,” he said.


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