How Three Ijaw Governors Emptied The State Treasury

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Bayelsa State is the least developed of all the federating states in Nigeria. Outside of the state capital, Yenagoa, the state is devoid of any measure of development. It is vastly underdevelopment in spite of the billions and billions of naira that has been allocated to, and received by the state since its creation in 1996. What follows is the satirical story of Bayelsa State. This is the story of how three sons of the soil helped to impoverish their state. This is the story of how three Ijaw governors — Alamieyeseigha, Goodluck Jonathan and Timpre Sylva — looted the Bayelsa treasury. This is the story of how three men made a mess of their people’s fortune. Please see: Niger Delta Governors: Where is our Money?

Part A: When Alamieyeseigha was the Governor:

In 2003, Umaru Diko, a member of the Arewa Consultative Forum and an alleged member of the Kaduna Mafia, went to visit DSP Alamieyeseigha in Yenagoa. Being a true and hospitable Ijaw man, the governor invited Diko to his Amassoma home for dinner and other matters. The ACF chieftain was impressed by the lavish mansion, grounds and the costly furnishings. He asked:
“Your Excellency, how can you afford all this on a governor’s salary?”
Alamieyeseigha smiled knowingly, took him to the window.
“Can you see the river?”
“Can you see the bridge and beyond?”
“Of course,” answered Umaru Diko.
“You want to know how I can afford the things you see and cannot see?” ask the governor.
“But of course” Diko answered. “I want to have a semblance of what you have.”
“10 percent of the state treasury, 15 percent of all contacts…20 percent of the security votes…30 percent patronage fee,” said the governor smugly.
“Your Excellency, your people are not doing too well; I think you should…”
“Umaru, haba, whatever I have and whatever my people don’t have is not my doing. It is the will of God. I don’t decide; God does.”

Part B: And Then Goodluck Jonathan:

Then in 2007, Lamidi Adedibu, the noted Yoruba chief and godfather of Ibadan politics, paid Goodluck Jonathan an official visit in Creek Haven. He was honored at a state dinner which was attended by several PDP officials. True to form and character, the governor later invited Adedibu to his Otueke, Ogbia home. The Ibadan high chief was impressed, and so taken he didn’t know that such grandeurs existed in Ijawland. And so, out of curiosity, he asked:

“Your Excellency, how are you able to afford all this on a governor’s salary?”
The ever affable and ever smiling Goodluck then took him to the balcony.
“Can you see the river and beyond?” he asked Adedibu
“Can you see the bridge over it?”
“Of course! I can also see the fishermen struggling to catch fishes”, said Adedibu.
“Well, I am not sure they are struggling…they are not trying hard enough.”
“Ok…ok…but Your Honor, how are you able to afford all these goody-goodies?”
“Chief Adedibu…na God oo. You see, whatever God has decreed, no man or woman can put asunder. I am what I am by the grace of God. My people should learn how to be good farmers and fishermen. They have no taste for the kind of things God have given me.”
“But your Excellency, how are you able to afford all these with the amount of money you make in a month or a year?”
“20 percent of the state treasury, 35percent of all contacts…40 percent of security votes…50 percent patronage fee,” said the governor sheepishly.
“Na so? Rasheed Ladoja is giving me less than 20 million naira a month. He is greedy ooo. I go show am pepper.”

Part C: Descend into Hell:

In the spring of 2009, former Obasanjo errand boy and a one time gubernatorial candidate, Andy Ubah, paid Timipre Sylva an official visit in Yenagoa. Being a young, cultured and jolly good fellow, the governor invited Ubah to his Okpoma, Brass, home. The Ndiigbo chief was so impressed he couldn’t contain himself. He called all his billionaire friends to relay what he’d seen. Andy Ubah has seen a lot, but the things he saw in the private home of Sylva made him envious. For a while, he entertained the idea of moving to Brass or to Yenagoa. Out of curiosity, he asked the governor:

“Your Excellency…how can you afford all this considering your meager salary?”
The governor said nothing, but he instead asked Ubah to take a walk with him. As they strolled, Ubah could see the poorly clothed and poor fed natives a few feet away. He wondered why in the midst of fetidity, the governor lived large. But before Ubah could raise further questions, the governor placed his right arm on his shoulder.
“Andy, don’t worry. The people are content with what they have, or don’t have. They are not complaining. Or have you heard anyone complain? There are no viable oppositions here. All the so-called opposition comes to me for food, for water and for their daily sustenance.”
“You mean they rely on you for contracts, for jobs, and other favors?”
“Look, man, the opposition in this state is the dumbest. What’s more, they are hungry.”
“Really? Weak, hungry and dumb?”
“Of course! I encourage them to raise their voices at the federal government, the oil companies and the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy” said the governor.
“So, you shift the blame; make the people believe the federal government is their enemy?”
“But beyond that, how are you able to afford all these luxuries? Also, you visit Europe, Canada and America more than a dozen times a year…you have homes everywhere.”
“Andy, I am not a greedy person. I am not greedy at all. I have been very considerate to everyone,” said Timipre Sylva.
“Really?” Andy Ubah asked
“I am entitled to 50 percent of the state treasury, 60 percent of all contacts…70 percent of security votes…60 percent patronage fee.”
‘Wow…wow…wow,” a disbelieving Ubah intoned.
“My brother, you wait until 2010/2011, you shall see wonders…what I have now is nothing…God will double whatever I have now,” said the governor.

Part D: Future Predators:
Waiting in the wings to unleash their own brand of calamity are Timi Alaibe (formerly of the NDDC), and Peremobowei Ebebi (the current deputy governor).

Note: This submission is a take-off, a spoof of “Indian Political Maths.”

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