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Dickson vs Akene: leaked audio causes ripples in Bayelsa

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dickson-vs-akene:-leaked-audio-causes-ripples-in-bayelsa

By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

A leaked telephone conversation between former Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson and his estranged former Commissioner for Land, Furoebi Akene, has continued to generate ripples in the state.

Akene, a renowned surveyor, resigned his appointment at the buildup to the 2015 governorship election during Dickson’s first term in office for private practice.

Dickson initiated the heated conversation that lasted about 20 minutes following an article written by Akene titled Bayelsa rising debt burden, which the former governor considered offensive especially as it suggested that the state’s debt rose astronomically during his administration.

The article further opined the former Governor achieved little in his eight years in office despite huge revenue that accrued to the state during his administration.

In the conversation, Seriake accused his former aide he wrote the article out of bitterness and malice but Akene insisted he only published facts from a document released by the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Dickson said debt burden referred to in the document represented the total accumulated liabilities, including money owed to contractors, unpaid salaries and gratuities and not loans taken by the government as implied by Akene.

He said no state could pay gratuities including Rivers State’ which he said had become a shining example of “Bayelsa people”.

Dickson was particularly pissed that Akene made reference to the development in Rivers, including the four flyovers being constructed simultaneously by the state government.

The former governor said nobody was talking about states like Lagos and Rivers with high Internally-Generated Revenue but still highly indebted.

But Akene agreed that Rivers and Lagos were highly indebted but said the projects in those states could not be compared to Bayelsa.

The former governor said: “States like Lagos them that are getting the IGR of N50bn, that are owing almost a trillion nobody is even talking. The only debts I borrowed is for the airport. So the airport is not important at all”.

But Akene responded: “The projects in these states cannot be compared to us.

“I didn’t say the airport is not important. But the projects they have in those states. Bayelsa has only Yenagoa, all these states we are talking about have a lot of major cities that consume projects and they are going on.

“Rivers state is doing four flyovers at the same time. If I tell you the cost of a multiple flyover like the Etegwe roundabout is supposed to be a multiple flyover and not a straight flyover that is required and I can tell you the real cost of things. I am a consultant. In this Abuja I consult for some agencies and some companies”.

Dickson, however, wondered why Akene was comparing “your village,” referring to Bayelsa and “your forest capital”, referring to Yenagoa adding “a virgin place that they went to put a state and a capital with the terrain we have”.

The former governor said: “If you write indebtedness or liabilities of a state you don’t know that it is all these gratuity things that they will put. No state can pay gratuity. Even the Rivers State that is a shinning example of you Bayelsa people. Bayelsa people you don’t know what that state is doing to us and everything they are doing against us. To you people four flyover is something to you now”.

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