Many people in Bayelsa State are criticizing the state governor, Douye Diri, over his inability to form a cabinet within his first 100 days in office.
While some Bayelsans are of the opinion that such action by the governor is slowing down the activities of government, especially in this period of COVID-19, others said that the crisis of the ravaging pandemic which the governor inherited might have been the reason behind the delay.
Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the last governorship election in the state, was sworn-in as the fifth executive governor of the state on February 14, 2020 after the Supreme Court nullified the election of initial winner, Chief David Lyon of the All Progressive Congress (APC) due to his running mate’s certificate scandal.
The governor marked his first hundred days in office on Sunday, May 24, 2020.
Already, most commissioners, who served under the immediate past governor of the state, Seriake Dickson are still serving in their capacity under Diri’s government.
For instance, Dickson’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai, is still serving in the ministry with new nomenclature as Technical Assistant to the governor on finance, Dickson’s Special Adviser on Security, Mr Buma Sparow-Jack, is also still functioning in his office with new nomenclature as Technical Asistant on Security amongst others.
A civil rights activist, David West, queried the accuracy of the 2020 budget presented by the governor to the state House of Assembly last month, when there was no commissioners to prepare or defend the budget before the assembly committee.
He said the governor’s delay in appointing commissioners to help him govern the state shows he was unprepared for the office.
A chieftain of APC in the state and coordinator of South South Legacy Forum, Comrade Wilfred Frank Ogbotobo, said Bayelsans were not expecting anything from Governor Diri because he was not the person they voted for.
He said: “It is an injustice to Senator Diri, for anybody to expect anything like performance from him or his 100 days in office as governor of Bayelsa State.
“In the first place, Diri wasn’t prepared for the office of Governor.
“He knew, from day one, that he wouldn’t win the election, and he ended up losing it.
“He never expected that the Supreme Court would hand over David Lyon’s electoral victory to him on that platter of gold.
“Hence, he doesn’t have any discernible plan of action to attest otherwise.
However, a pro-democracy advocate, Mr Wisdom Ikuli, defended the governor’s action, ascribing it to the COVID-19 pandemic which has slowed down every activities in the whole world.
He said the governor needed to have taken time to select the best brains in the state to work with him.
He said: “100 days in office is just a period for window dressing.
“What do you expect the government that has four years tenure to do within three months, especially with this period of health crisis?
“The governor has started well.
“We have seen his actions on the demolition of illegal structures in markets and city centres for developmental purposes.
“For the fact that he has not picked his cabinet within this period does not show that he was not prepared for governance.
“We must understand the particular period we are in, the COVID-19 crisis has affected governance everywhere,” Ikuli said.
The acting Chief Press Secretary to Governor Diri, Daniel Alabrah, during a programme ‘Democratic Watch’ in a state based radio, had appealed to Bayelsans who are calling for the governor to form cabinet to be patience, as the pronouncement will be made soon.
He said: “I want to appeal to Bayelsans who are agitating for new cabinet to be patience with Governor Diri and see what will happened in a few days or weeks from now.
“The governor himself knows that he needs a cabinet to support him govern the state.
“He has been doing a lot of things alone, that if commissioners were in place, they would have been able to help him,” he said.