Showing posts with label Timi Alaibe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Timi Alaibe. Show all posts

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sylva is a drowning man – Alaibe


Sylva is a drowning man – Alaibe

Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Timi Alaibe, regarded as the biggest threat to Governor Timipre Sylva’s second term bid, spoke with some journalists in Abuja during the week on his tenure as Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chief Executive Officer of the Amnesty Programme. Deputy Editor, SAM AKPE, was there. Excerpts…

In the last one year or so, you have been busy helping the Federal Government implement the Amnesty programme for ex-militants in the Niger Delta. What is your candid assessment of the programme? Put differently, would you say the problem of militancy has been solved in the Niger Delta?

You have asked a very direct question and I shall attempt to give you a direct answer. Over all, the Amnesty programme has been a resounding success. I make bold to assert that the programme will go down in history as the sincerest effort by the Federal Government to address the Niger Delta question. You would recall that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua had on June 25, 2009, proclaimed a 60-day unconditional amnesty period for militants in the Niger Delta, as a step towards resolving the protracted insecurity in the region. The terms of the amnesty included the willingness and readiness of militants to surrender their arms, and unconditionally renounce militancy and sign an undertaking to this effect. In return, the government pledged its commitment to institute programmes to assist their disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and provision of re-integration assistance to the ex-militants. In other words, the programme was structured to have three broad components. One, a security component dealing with the disarmament and demobilization of the various militant groups in the Niger Delta; two, an economic component with commitment to provide access to re-integration opportunities for the ex-militants; and three, to promote the economic development of the Niger Delta. Flowing from this, we proceeded to execute what has become, perhaps, the most successful disarmament exercise in the history of DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration) in Africa. By October 2009, (some) 20,192 ex-militants had willingly disarmed, turned in huge cache of arms and ammunition to security agencies and got enrolled in the programme. Going back to your question, I insist that the Amnesty programme has been a resounding success. Where we are currently would be better appreciated when viewed from the pedestal of where we were prior to the amnesty proclamation.

Can you explain that?

Let me take you down memory lane. By January 2009, militancy in the Niger Delta had virtually crippled Nigeria’s economy. Investment inflow to the upstream sub-sector of the oil industry had dwindled remarkably. Exasperated foreign investors had begun re-directing their investments to Angola and Ghana as preferred destinations over Nigeria. At that point, Angola surpassed Nigeria as Africa’s highest crude oil producer. This dwindling investment in the critical oil and gas sector threatened Nigeria’s capacity to grow its crude oil reserves as planned.
Like you may well know, Nigeria targeted 40 billion barrels proven reserves by end of 2010. Clearly, insecurity in the Niger Delta was identified as key reason investors were leaving for more stable business opportunities in Africa. For example, due to militant activities in the Niger Delta, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) by early 2009 had declared force majure on its operations, which caused a drop in its production capacity from one million bpd to about 250,000 bpd. ExxonMobil also experienced increased insurgent activities in its Nigerian operations. Sabotage, oil siphoning rackets and kidnappings of oil workers by suspected militants further threatened the operations of the oil companies and exerted immense pressure on the Nigerian economy. Worse still, citing insecurity, union officials all too often called strikes to protest insecure working environment. It got to a point where Nigeria’s export dwindled to as low as 700,000 bpd, compared with a targeted 2.2 million bpd for the first quarter of 2009. In 2008 alone, it was estimated that Nigeria lost over N3 trillion as a result of militancy in the Niger Delta.

So what has happened since the commencement of the programme implementation, especially in the oil sector?

Shortly after the October 4, 2009, deadline for Niger Delta militants to accept Federal Government’s amnesty offer expired, the government and other stakeholders began counting the positive results from the exercise. With peace restored in the Niger Delta, oil companies and associated companies re-opened shut-in wells; Nigeria’s oil production increased from 700,000 bpd to 2.3 mbpd; construction of East-West Road resumed; kidnapping in the core Niger Delta states drastically reduced; oil bunkering reduced; crime rate declined; signs that the process would succeed accelerated economic development across the nation. With cessation of hostilities, government began giving assurances that Nigeria can once again fill its OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quota and be trusted by major consumer nations to meet its contractual obligations; Nigeria LNG’s reputation as a reliable supplier of LNG cargoes was restored; with renewed confidence in the international oil market, Nigeria began to exercise more influence in the supply and pricing of oil and, of course, repairs of oil and gas infrastructure damaged during the unfortunate era of militant agitation speedily commenced, while contractors handling development projects also were given lee-way to fast-track their efforts to assure the ex-militants of government’s determination to ensure sustainable development in the Niger Delta. Finally on this matter, let me clarify that while it is true that the late Yar’Adua initiated the Amnesty programme, it is important to place on record that when it seemed that the programme was floundering, it was President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan that revved it up, gave it fresh impetus and provided all that was needed to attain the success that we are talking about today.

So in what state was the Amnesty programme before you resigned in December 2010?

Yes, as at December 2010, (some) 12,917 ex-militants had undertaken non-violence transformational training at the Demobilization Camp we sited at Obubra, Cross River State. For this demobilization exercise in the camp, we engaged experts from Nigeria, South Africa and the United States of America. The transformational/reorientation activities in the camp are tailored to extinguish the belief of the ex-militants in violence and provide them a more powerful alternative – non-violence. In camp, they are taught to promote non-violent method in bringing about a better Niger Delta. The concept of non-violence is a method that is non-aggressive physically but dynamically aggressive spiritually. We inculcate in the ex-militants the fact that non-violence is for the courageous; that only cowards utilise violence as a means of conflict resolution; that the non-violent resister is just as opposed to the evil that he is standing against as the violent resister, but he resists without violence. In the non-violent approach, the attack is directed against the forces of evil, rather than persons who are caught in those forces. It uses the power of love. It is based on the conviction and belief from the long tradition of our Christian faith that the Almighty God is on the side of truth and justice. It is this deep faith in the future that makes the non-violent person to accept suffering without retaliation. The camp also provides career guidance designed to assist ex-militants determine their career aspirations going forward in terms of education, vocational and entrepreneurial skills. After the non-violence training and career classification in the camp, the ex-militants are placed in skills acquisition or training centres, both in Nigeria and offshore. As at December 2010, a total of 4,759 ex-militants who had passed through the non-violence training programme had been assigned to 57 skills acquisition/training centres in 13 states of the federation, while the 2,618 had been slated for training offshore. Indeed, just before my exit, we had sent 38 of them to South Africa. Another 200 delegates, as we now call them, are ready to leave for Ghana for vocational training. The overall re-integration agenda is to groom these ex-militants to become key players in the emerging economies of the Niger Delta – be it in construction, oil and gas, railways, tourism etc. Luckily, the Local Content Act and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) currently in the works in the National Assembly support this aspiration to get transformed and properly skilled ex-militants play key roles in the nation’s oil and gas industry. The final objective, of course, will be to get the trained ex-militants gainfully employed.

Is it not ironical that you are talking so eloquently about the restoration of peace in the Niger Delta while it is on record that a bomb goes off almost every day in your home state, Bayelsa, which is one of the Niger Delta states? In fact, it is even believed that the spate of violence in Bayelsa is threatening your campaign to become the next governor of the state.

Let’s get one fact clear here; the administrative rot in Bayelsa is not a reflection of the success or otherwise of the Amnesty programme. The violence in Bayelsa is politically-driven; the bombings and incessant attacks are induced and sponsored by the state government. Let me pointedly discuss this matter. There is simply no government in place in the State. There is no focused leadership. What you see is an illusion of a presence of a government. After almost four years in the saddle, the so-called incumbent governor has absolutely nothing to campaign with: no programmes, no projects; absolutely nothing, other than the deception that you see on the front pages of some newspapers that he calls his ‘strides.’ What strides? The so-called ‘strides’ have become a butt of joke, even among children. Imagine a state governor listing, as part of his achievements in four years, the fumigation of Okolobiri Hospital! Or is it the huge fraud of unseen and unknown ‘concrete roads and foot-bridges’ he has been listing as part of his ‘strides’? A state government receiving derivation income in billions of naira every month is priding itself as constructing foot-bridges and fumigating a hospital at this time and age. Then, what would the local government do? He is just wasting Bayelsa money to embarrass himself on the front pages of newspapers. Because he has achieved nothing in four years, he has nothing to campaign with; absolutely nothing to tell the electorate, so he is determined to stop other aspirants from campaigning. Can you imagine the governor of a state sponsoring violence disrupt the campaign rallies of other candidates, and at the same time shamelessly accusing the opponents of being afraid to campaign? We will not be cowed; we will not succumb to these dastardly antics of a rejected and drowning man. So, do not use the Bayelsa situation to judge the Niger Delta region. When last did you hear that a bomb went off in other Niger Delta states? By the grace of God, Bayelsa will turn a new page on May 29 this year. To further underscore the failings of the current government in Bayelsa, baseline statistics during the disarmament phase of the Amnesty programme, indicated that Bayelsa has the highest number of militant camps in the Niger Delta. These are patriotic youths of this country who, in the absence of care, resorted to militancy and other forms of self help. Over 9,000 youths of Bayelsa origin are currently enrolled in both phases of the Amnesty programme, the highest number from any state. This throws up the nature of the challenge of unemployed youths in the state because the number mentioned here does not even include those who are not in the Amnesty programme. The current government, meanwhile, has no plans or programmes for the huge population of the unemployed in the state. It got its priorities wrong, or how would it budget N1 billion in 2011 to construct golf course in the state. Golf course for who? Should this be a priority at this time? That man has no vision, even for himself. God will deliver Bayelsa from him.

In a recent interview, Sylva boasted that you are not known in Bayelsa State; that claims in certain quarters that the president backs you are false. The governor even lampooned you as a political ant and that the Labour Party in Bayelsa is nothing but a political graveyard of sorts?

I find it rather time-wasting joining issues with Sylva. I did not read this interview you are talking about, but my associates and aides drew my attention to it and excerpts were actually brought to me. The truth is that the man is simply scared. He knows that the game is up. Bayelsans desperately seek a fresh and better start. Typical of all drowning persons, he is seeking to cling to anything to stay afloat. He has resorted to name-calling and utter falsehood. But I think we should discuss issues and not nonentities. Overcoming the daunting, albeit embarrassing, challenges Bayelsa faces today requires a new vision. Bayelsans are determined, more than ever before, to move forward together, for the challenges we face are bigger than party and politics. It is not about LP, PDP or any other party. Sylva’s government has no sense of direction. Look at all the governors in the South South, from Rivers to Delta to Akwa Ibom to Edo to Cross River; they are opening up roads, building over-head bridges, hospitals, introducing and sustaining quality free education and healthcare projects, empowering their people. Sylva is busy advertising his failure in the media. Do you know how much he spends a week advertising those failures on the pages of newspapers? Add this to the regime of indebtedness he has thrown the state into. The governor should please tell the Bayelsa people the specific development projects that accounted for about N100 billion debt profile he has accumulated for the state. He should be worried about mismanaging the financial and general goodwill of Bayelsa people. Bayelsans are much more concerned about rescuing the state from his mediocre administration. A political party is a mere platform to contest elections. When elected, it is your duty to provide leadership. When you achieve results, nobody cares about your party platform. Sylva has every reason to fret; his cup is full. He is going. He is simply seeking to obfuscate the facts of the politics in Bayelsa today. All Bayelsans support President Jonathan. Indeed, I chose the LP because I support Jonathan. LP is not fielding a presidential candidate in the April elections. Therefore, Jonathan is my presidential candidate. He is the candidate of all well-meaning Nigerians and, by the grace of God, he will emerge resoundingly victorious in the presidential election. So, the current governor of Bayelsa has no escape route. He cannot blackmail Bayelsans to re-elect him, to reward him for crass ineptitude, simply because he is of the same party with the president. No, no it will not happen; our situation is peculiar and urgent; the collective mission of Bayelsa people is to, first and foremost, rescue our state from the grips of failure.

In a publication, you were quoted as saying you left PDP to embarrass the president.

I’m sure the president himself must have laughed when he read that because he knows the truth. I have been told that Sylva is using that as a campaign issue. The man is recklessly desperate. I really don’t think I need to comment on this because when my attention was drawn to that false and manipulated report, I quickly issued a corrigendum which was well-published by the same paper the following day. That cancelled the previous publication. My relationship with the president is well-known. It is unthinkable that I would say such a thing. When I wanted to leave the PDP for obvious reasons, as a mark of respect, I informed the president and other senior party leaders. Permit me not to disclose the details of our discussions. I acted based on the advice of the political leaders of Bayelsa. I left PDP to seek a neutral platform for the actualisation of the peoples’ vision. With our deep knowledge of the delegate system of voting in the primaries of the PDP whereby a sitting governor decides who should vote, we knew clearly that Sylva would rig the process to his advantage. I am in LP to fulfil the aspiration of overwhelming majority of Bayelsans who desperately desire that the state be rescued from the claws of its current clueless leadership. Never in my life would I contemplate embarrassing the man who gave me the opportunity to implement a programme that has turned around the economy of Nigeria by bringing peace to the Niger Delta.

Are you saying that your aspiration under LP enjoys the support of the president?

My brother, for about one year, I worked very closely and directly with His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as his Special Adviser on Niger Delta. He is a man intensely focused on success; he abhors embarrassing situations, hates failures and loves peace and peaceful environment. I am contesting to be governor of Bayelsa to lead others to free the president and all Bayelsans from the embarrassment that the current state government has become. Do you remember that when the president visited Bayelsa, Sylva was booed and stoned by the people, in the presence of the president of this country? Nothing could have been more embarrassing. He was stoned, booed and insulted. I don’t have any iota of doubt in my mind that Mr. President wants his state to be better governed, developed, peaceful and habitable. I can assure you that from May 29 this year, President Jonathan will be spending his weekends in the new Bayelsa of our dream.

Sylva calls you a political ant.

Let’s discuss issues. Leave Sylva and his ranting alone. He is not worth any decent discussion. I’m not into name-calling. If I were a political ant in Bayelsa, why is he panicky? Why is he sending people to attack opponents everywhere they go to? Why is he running an illegal security outfit called Famutangbe (meaning ‘kill and throw away’ in Izon language)? This is the extent Governor Sylva loathes our people; maintaining a security outfit with a name reminiscent of a declaration of violence against the same people he swore to protect. Why would a governor set up a killer squad under the guise of maintaining peace and security in the state? The same squad supervises the pulling down of billboards of political opponents of the governor without anybody calling it to order. Look, let’s get serious: Bayelsans know me like the back of their hands. All my working life, I have done all I can, all that was within my powers, to bring development to the state. Today, a substantial chunk of the development projects in our state is attributable to my previous service in various spheres, including my service in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). I am talking of infrastructure and mega developmental projects, particularly roads and bridges construction, shoreline protection, reclamation and canalisation. The excerpts of his interview that I saw, he was talking of uncompleted NDDC projects; what is that supposed to mean? Has NDDC folded up? So, simply because some NDDC projects are on-going or pending in Bayelsa, Timi Alaibe, who left there some years ago, should be blamed? Governors of other Niger Delta states are busy piling pressure on the NDDC to initiate projects or complete on-going projects in their states. Sylva obviously hates NDDC projects because they remind him of Alaibe. That’s pettiness! He spoke also of the Niger Delta Masterplan, which he said we executed at the cost of N25 billion or N45 billion. You can imagine a governor descending to the level of peddling rumours for lack of what to do. For the avoidance of doubt, the masterplan did not cost this amount. Unknown to people, the two lead consultants to the master plan (GTZ International/Wilbahi Engineering Consortium and Norman and Dawbarn Consortium) were companies sponsored and led by two prominent Ijaw personalities; both of them incidentally from Governor Sylva’s senatorial district. More interesting is the fact that Governor Sylva’s company, Sylvasky Nigeria Limited, led the group that provided sector consultancy on tourism. If the project cost the amount he has announced, then NDDC must have paid the money to the lead consultants and himself. I am waiting for him to publish his facts. He is a confused man. Like I said, Bayelsans know me; I have always given the state and indeed the entire Niger Delta region my best and my all. As the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, I worked round-the-clock and even took risks to rid our state and other states in the Niger Delta of militancy. I am proud to say that today we have paved the way for a better future for these our brothers and sisters who are currently in first-class skills acquisition centres across the country and abroad. As governor of Bayelsa State, I shall, by the grace of God, do much more. We will invest in major critical infrastructure that will involve the construction of roads and bridges that will open up our land-locked communities, villages and towns. We shall reclaim lands from the sea, rivers as well as creeks and protect our shores. We shall diversify the economy of Bayelsa to empower our people and create job opportunities.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Who Is Afraid Of Timi Alaibe?

Timi Alaibe

Who Is Afraid Of Timi Alaibe?

~ By Daniel Wilcox.

Since the day Mr. Timi Alaibe declared his interest to contest for Bayelsa State governorship under the Labour Party many nerves have been racked. Those who are yet to grasp the reality of Alaibe's declaration are already hell-bent on snuffing life out of him. This is to be expected from a people who have no political credibility.
Alaibe decided to team up with the Labour Party to wrest power from the incumbent non-performing governor of Bayelsa state. It is natural that when superiority challenges inferiority, the complex in the lesser party would seek to annihilate the higher party. This is precisely the situation in Bayelsa state today. It is now a consensus of opinion that Alaibe is bringing the Midas touch to the governance of the state if voted into power. Not a few would agree that the state desperately needs speedy transformation. But those who want the status-quo of the frittering of the state's resources would do all the pernicious things to stall the machine of re-engineering the state. The recent bomb blast near his home is one desperate effort by the bruised and the humbled opposition to dissuade Alaibe from contesting the governorship of the state. Having traversed many paths assiduously and successfully, Alaibe is not one to give up so easily. His power is derived from the strength of the people who have massed around him like an impregnable wall.
“I will never let our great party and my people down by giving up the support the people have given me,” he said. Such a statement could only come from a man who knows the people to be his constituency. Alaibe knows that this is his hour to bring about a rebirth in Bayelsa.

The current government has failed us in Bayelsa. Security has collapsed because there are no conscious and concerted efforts on the part of the government to build a virile state where relative peace and tranquility will prevail.

The state has an almost a nonexistent commerce. Governance is not only about putting up phony adverts with the money of already bruised citizens. Governor Timipre Sylva promised to address issues of infrastructure, environment, security, youth empowerment and agriculture but he has so for failed to fulfill his promises. There is no time now to do that, because his time is up. The people are now determined to vote out the ruling government in the state, by voting in a responsible Labour Party government spearheaded by Alaibe.

Accountability had been murdered in Bayelsa state by the current administration as huge allocation of the Federal Government to the Local government areas had been misappropriated by the state government cronies. The rate of unemployment in the state had tripled, this partly accounts for the high rate of criminality in the state. You cannot blame the people because the government has been a great disappointment. Rather than the state government to create job opportunities, it continued to deceive the people with unrealistic and unobtainable schemes.

“The Labour Party is resilient, united and fights the cause of the common man,” he stated. I am for the common people. I also will not overlook the needs of others. He understands the Niger Delta terrain and what the rural masses need.
Though Bayelsa State is one of the major oil producing states in Nigeria, majority of its people still live in poverty.

Adequate transportation system, health, education, and other infrastructure are grossly inadequate in the state as a result of decades of insensitivity of government of the state.

The labour gubernatorial candidate urges all Bayelsans to come out and participate in the on going voters exercise; Bayelsans according to him must resist attempts to manipulate the voter registration. If we want a better Bayelsa state, we must take action and join the efforts to make it happen.

Wilcox lives in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State.

Alaibe: The Only Choice For Change In Bayelsa State

Timi Alaibe

Alaibe: The Only Choice For Change In Bayelsa State

~ By Daniel Wilcox

That Mr. Timi Alaibe has declared his interest to contest for Bayelsa State governorship under the Labour Party is no news. It is also no news that he decided to team up with the Labour Party to wrest Bayelsa state from the shackles of the ruling party. What is news is that Alaibe is bringing the Midas touch to the state because it desperately needs speedy transformation. He is known as one not given to failures. His rise from grass to grace attests to his commitment to a purpose driven mission.

“I will never let our great party and my people down,” he said. Such a statement could only come from a man who knows the right time to do the right thing. Alaibe knows that this is his hour to bring about a rebirth in Bayelsa. He knows that the possibility is within his reach judging by the stunning following he enjoys in the state across political, ethnic and religious spectrum in the state. Almost all his life seems a preparation for this moment.

“I chose Labour Party because the party is resilient, united and fights the cause of the common man,” he stated.

Alaibe is not new to administration in any capacity. He has served the nation well and done exceedingly good for his Niger-delta constituency. He rose from being executive director (Finance) to becoming the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. He was later appointed Senior Adviser to the president on Niger Delta Affairs. He was until his resignation from the current administration a moving force in the implementation of the government’s amnesty program for ex-militants. Alaibe, oversaw the implementation of the amnesty, under which more than 20,000 oil militants, surrendered their arms in exchange for development of their region and a retraining program. He understands the Niger Delta terrain and what the rural masses need in Bayelsa.

A true son of the Niger Delta, Alaibe showed quite early in his life the qualities of diligence, intelligence, compassion.

Prior to his appointment as Managing Director, Alaibe was in the banking industry. He served as Vice President of Cosmopolitan Bancshares in 1994, and later as General Manager, Corporate Banking and Investment at Societe Generale Bank (Nig.) Ltd.
He has become a magnetic rallying point among the youth, the women and the elders alike, and at the national level where he has championed the cause of the Niger Delta people.

At NDDC, it is on record that he has been instrumental to the healthy financial and administrative regime of the Commission, in a charged socio-political environment where the mandate of the Commission faces a dire prospect of being easily overwhelmed by political exigencies and social pressures.

A major part of the success of the NDDC in addressing the daunting neglect of the Niger Delta region, as well as in reducing the agitation and violence prevalent in the region before the establishment of the NDDC, lies in Alaibe’s great compassion, brilliance, foresight, natural problem-solving and people-savvy skills.

In line with the vision of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr. Alaibe helped to enthrone a culture of enduring achievement for the NDDC. Along with his colleagues on the Board and Management of the NDDC, he strove to set in motion, a coordinated response mechanism to the short-term and long-term challenges of the Niger Delta, comprising as key ingredients, an integrated regional development Master Plan, interim action plan for key projects in the states, as well as skill acquisition programs and a re-orientation and empowerment of youths.

Alaibe has been described in many circles as peace advocate, catalyst for change, friend of the oppressed, conduit for development, and symbol of hope and inspiration for the indigent yet hopeful Niger Delta people.

Alaibe holds a bachelors degree in Accountancy from the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, and a Master of Business Administration from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

In recognition of his contributions to humanity and the society, Alaibe has been appointed a member of many professional organizations, including the Institute of Chartered Administrators, the Institute of Corporate Executives, and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He has also received many outstanding awards for excellence. In 1991, for instance, Mr. Alaibe was appointed a member of the Rivers State Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs. A one-time vice-chairman of the Rivers State Wrestling Association, he was also the founding Chairman of the Rivers-Bayelsa Professionals Forum.

He is, also, a member of the Presidential Committee Police Equipment Fund, where he serves as Chairman, Public Sector Sub-Committee.

Among his many awards are: Certified Doctor of Business Administration, Oxford Association of Management, Oxford, England; Distinguished Fellow of the Academy of Commercial Diplomacy, UK; Certified Strategist Lifetime Award of the Cambridge Association of Managers, UK; Certificate of Honour from the European Market Research Centre, (Euro Market Forum) 2003; Distinguished Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria; Distinguished Fellow, Certified Institute of Management, Nigeria; Distinguished Alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; and Outstanding Alumnus Award, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt.

In addition to his growing international profile, Alaibe has been invited to deliver papers on subjects as wide-ranging as politics, capital markets/country risk rating, sustainable development, peace and security.

These include: Security and Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria,” by the Defense and Security Forum, United Kingdom; Development Challenges of the Niger Delta Region: The Path to Sustainable Development,” at the annual law week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Bayelsa State Branch; Country Risk Rating And Implications For Capital Market Growth In Nigeria: The Niger Delta Question,” at the Nigerian Stock Exchange Annual Conference, Abuja; and Peace and Development in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria,” delivered at the prestigious annual Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series of the Black Congressional Caucus, the United States of America, organised by the Leadership Roundtable of the US-Africa Partnership.

Though Bayelsa State is one of the major oil producing states in Nigeria, it is one of the least benefiting states from the oil income. Majority of Bayelsans still live in poverty. They are mainly rural dwellers due to its peculiar terrain and lack of adequate transportation system, health, education, or other infrastructure, as a result of decades of neglect by the central government and oil prospecting companies. This has been a major problem in the state since its creation and successive governments have failed to address and repair the damage. The state has an almost nonexistent commerce.

In his inaugural speech, following his election, the current governor of the state, Governor Timipre Sylva, promised to address issues of infrastructure, environment, security, youth empowerment, agriculture and industrialization. His government has so far failed to deliver on these promises.

Alaibe is undaunted and remains focused on his program to transform the state for the overall well being of its people.

~Wilcox lives in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State.