Bayelsa APC, PDP bicker over youths’ prospect
CLO, ERA chide government’s sloppy attitude
The uneasy calm that pervaded the political landscape of Bayelsa State since the December governorship election, appears to be collapsing as the two major political rivals in the state have suddenly woken from slumber.
The parties – the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) had remained inactive after the election preferring to take their cases to the tribunal.
And since the matter moved to the Appeal Court, both parties literally relocated to Abuja in pursuit of victory through the courts. Their secretariats have remained under lock and keys with the principal officials nowhere to be found.
However, they seemed to have found their voices recently and woken up to their various responsibilities in the governance of the state.
APC called the first shorts when it raised alarm over the seizure of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) results for the state by the examining body. The party claimed that the future of a generation of the youths was on the verge of being wasted by the government.
Fortune Panebi, the state publicity secretary of APC, berated Governor Seriake Dickson, accusing him of deliberately scuttling the destinies of the ‘bright children’ whom he described as the leaders of tomorrow.
Besides, Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) and Environmental Right Action (ERA) have chided the state government for what they described as an embarrassment and unacceptable development where an emergency has been declared in the educational sector.
The APC argued that the WAEC seizure of the results only compounded the problems confronting the educational sector that has been mismanaged by the PDP administration.
“While the situation of non payment of teachers’ salaries in Bayelsa continues to be an embarrassment to all and sundry even as the governor’s deliberate impoverishment of public servants has now become an ego issue on his part, a far more dangerous twist is looming in the education sector in Bayelsa state.
‘’This is the seizure of the results of secondary school pupils by WAEC over the state government’s refusal to pay statutory dues. This is a brazen act, the height of irresponsibility on the part of a government. To say the least, Governor Dickson is deliberately wasting away a generation of tomorrow’s leaders due to his inaction in this regard,” Panebi stated.
WAEC withheld the results of the state’s students over unpaid debts owed it by the Bayelsa government, a situation the APC noted implies that the students who passed the last Unified Tertiary and Matriculation Examination (UTME) might not be able to go ahead in securing admission into tertiary institutions.
But the state chapter of the PDP labeled the APC’s outburst as mischievous and total display of ignorance in the governance process. According to the state chairman, Moses Cleopas, the allegation was a deliberate deceit to score cheap political points.
In particular, he said that APC lacked the moral justification to criticize Dickson’s administration, because “what Bayelsa State is going through is as a result of the misrule by the APC-led Government at the centre.” This maladministration, he claimed has ruined the nation’s economy having been unable to initiate policies to reinvigorate the nation’s economy.
In addition, he alleged that the situation in Bayelsa was made worse by the financial recklessness and huge debt burden left behind by the immediate past administration under the leadership of Chief Timipre Sylva of the APC.
Cleopas asserted that the PDP administration has committed about N100bn to service the bond liability it inherited from that administration, explaining that despite the huge debt burden it inherited from Sylva’s administration, the PDP government has through careful application of scarce resources, kept the machinery of the government running.
He maintained that Bayelsans, especially parents of the affected students have come to terms with the damage to the state by the previous administration and the perpetuation of the sufferings of the people by the APC-controlled Federal government.
The PDP chairman called on the APC leadership to apologise to Bayelsans and Nigerians for the untold hardship they have been subjected to, stressing that the Dickson’s administration will not allow its self to be distracted by charlatans, who have proven over time that they do not have anything positive to offer the people of the State.
Nonetheless, the CLO and ERA have said the situation where WAEC had to seize the results of students from the state was not only embarrassing but also unacceptable, arguing that it was the responsibility of the present administration to make education a priority as he had promised.
The state Coordinator of ERA, Alogoa Morris informed The Guardian that it was a worrisome development saying: “Emergency has been declared in the education sector and we still face this kind of thing, it speaks volume of the kind of government we have, it means other sectors are facing worst kind of things, it means the expected priority is not there for declaring a states of emergency.
“This kind of thing is least expected and it is big embarrassment to the present administration. If the present administration declares a state of emergency in the educational sector and this kind of thing is happening, it is laughable, not only laughable; it is most unfortunate and embarrassing. It means that they did not match their words with action.”
Similarly, the chairman of CLO, Nengi James said: “If education should be a priority, it is the responsibility of the government that has affirmed to pay NECO and WAEC for their candidates to do so. We don’t need to be beggars on that issue if they have failed to do so, it is a responsibility that they have failed.”