Immediate past Governor of Bayelsa state, Mr Seriake Dickson and his former Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Mr Furoebi Akene have exchanged hot words over alleged rising debt portfolio the former accumulated while in office.
The altercation and squabble between former Governor Dickson and his erstwhile Commissioner, Akene who exhibited bitterness and frustrations in the fiery verbal exchanges, is akin to roles by lead actors in a make-belief Hollywood stage performance.
In a leaked audio obtained by The New Diplomat, Governor Dickson was heard reacting to an article written by Akene, where he marshalled his points, exposing how the state’s rising debt has failed to correspond with development in the oil-rich Niger Delta state, berating the immediate past administration’s appetite for borrowing over the years.
Ex-Gov Dickson: “I saw in one publication that has your name on it. You wrote that thing…?”
Ex-Commissioner : “…Yes, the rising debt burden in the State. Yes I wrote it…”
EX-Gov Dickson: “Ah ah! Na Woah! You will write that thing after the last discussion you came here to have with me? You will write that thing casting aspersion and indicting me in a government you served in with me…?”
Ex-Commissioner(Cuts in): “Sorry , I am not indicting you. It is not only your government. It is our state.. It is not about you, some of us worked and we were pushed aside… I got those figures from DMO. I wrote it with figures from DMO. If anyone is disputing , he should go to DMO..”
Ex-Gov Dickson: “Akene, Akene, I never took any external loan before I left oh…You write things and post on the internet! Akene…Your level of bitterness…Your bile, Akene.. nobody will want to be close to you…”
Please simply scroll down and listen to the shocking recorded audio. The New Diplomat gathered that an angry Akene who felt short-changed and sidelined during Dickson’s reign resigned his appointment from the administration of ex-Governor Dickson in November 2015.
Quoting statistics from the Debt Management Office (DMO) in the article, an obviously upset Akene stated that between 2012 and 2019, while Dickson was in office, the state accumulated an external debt of $32,064,672.74.
Also, Akene also wrote that N100bn was added to the state’s domestic debt portfolio between January 2012 to 30th 0f June 2020. He stated that during the eight years of Dickson’s administration, the debt burden rose from N50bn to N150bn.
Dickson governed the state between February 2012 to February 2020. He handed over to incumbent Governor Duoye Diri, in 2020.
In the leaked audio, ex-Governor Dickson, while reacting to the article became agitated and angry over Furore’s disclosures, saying, he was attempting to badmouth him and disparage an administration he served in as a Commissioner. Dickson also claimed he never took any external loan as Governor, but Akene protested the claim.
Akene who stood by his earlier revelations, asked the ex-governor to confirm the debt figures from the DMO. He said the article was borne out of his patriotism for the state, as well as his frustrations over the stunted development in the state in comparison with states like Ekiti, Ebonyi, Zamfara and Gombe that were created along with Bayelsa on October 1, 1996.
In the article, Akene had stated that “It is not news again that Bayelsa State is the most underdeveloped State amongst its contemporaries of Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Yobe and Zamfara that were created in the same date of October 1, 1996.
It is also not news that the revenue earnings of Bayelsa State from the Federal allocation and the 13% is more than three times what their contemporaries get within a corresponding period.
“The most worrisome is the rising level of debt burden by successful administrations in the State without any form of corresponding appreciable development in the State.
The question is, what are they doing with these loans alongside the statutory Federal allocations, bailouts, 13% derivations, and IGRs without any reasonable evidence of development? It is on record that the eight (8) years of Seriake Dickson led administration received revenue worth over N1.7trn while the seven months old present administration has received over N140bn.”