Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has called for a meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, stakeholders and council chairmanship aspirants for discussions bothering on resolving issues of zoning and peaceful conduct in the forthcoming local government elections in the state.
Benue State Independent Electoral Election (BSIEC) has fixed 29 and 30 January, 2020 for the local government area council elections in the state.
It is believed that Ortom is calling for the meeting to resolve all the pending issues of zoning in the state, particularly in all the council areas of Benue Zone C in which the governor had received various petitions from the affected communities/wards and subsequently instituted a peace committee.
Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the state is one of the councils where disagreement in zoning has raised tension and likely crisis among the people of Owukpa community.
The zoning disagreement among the PDP members in the community arose from the refusal of the caretaker chairman, Honourable Prince Onuh to step down from the chairmanship race for the people of Itabono Ward 1 that are next on the line to produce the Council chairmanship candidate contrary to an existing zoning pattern.
A committee to look into the disagreement had earlier been instituted at the instance of the Governor who has been emphasising on absolute respect for zoning in the council elections but its report is yet to be made public.
The case of Ogbadibo, according to political stakeholders is a special one as the people of Owukpa, in particular, are known in the state for peaceful political dealings. The three communities that make up the local government (Otukpa, Owukpa and Orokam) practice a non-negotiable zoning arrangement and the same is being upheld even in the forthcoming council elections. This is why the council chairmanship slot has been zoned to Owukpa at the council level.
But analysts believe that the heated disagreement coming from the community where the current local government chairman, Honourable Vincent Amuche hails from is not only disappointing but dangerous.
Political watchers believe that the caretaker chairman, Hon. Onuh is a brother-in-law to the current party chairman in the local government, and the community is perceiving alleged strong collaboration between them.
It’s yet to be seen if Governor Ortom can amicably resolve the matter by fairly insisting on the zoning arrangement or will be left at the mercy of political ambitions of the gladiators.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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