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Why Bayelsa state is under developed at 24 .Many dying in silent over gross abject poverty- Report


    Bayelsa is the southernmost state in Nigeria, the core of the Niger Delta region, between Delta State and Rivers State, with a lot of human and material resources, created on 1st October, 1996 by General Sani Abacha, whom many Bayelsans described as the most detribalized and visionary Nigerian Head of State who love the Ijaw people where crude oil was first discovered in the whole of West Africa in commercial quantities at Oloibiri in Ogbia local Government Area. 


Another $319m Abacha loot discovered in France and UK -
late General Sani Abacha  

   The state when created had its capital situated in Yenagoa. The main language spoken is Ijaw with dialects such as Ogbia, Kolukuma, Mein, Bomo, Nembe and Epie-Atisa. Like the rest of Nigeria, English is the official language.

    Nigeria been a nation with endemic corruption through no proper system implemented to develop the country, the citizens, nationals, and habitant of the country do not have the thinking capacity to develop the country independently. Bayelsa as a state is unexceptional.

   The state is in dire need of leaders - formal and informal - who can enthuse a vision that may stir up the people’s hearts and elicit that invaluable buy-in.

    The state as Nickname(s): "Glory of all lands"; indeed the name does not improve the social, economic and political well being of the people as abject poverty, endemic corruption, nepotism, winner takes all, mismanagement of the resources of the state, infighting among the political class to pilot the affairs of the state occasioned with greed and selfishness amongst others has been the cardinal motive why the state is under developed for 24years of its creation.
    The name Bayelsa  was derived from the first few letters of the names of the major local government areas from which it was formed - Brass LGA (BALGA), Yenagoa (YELGA) and Sagbama (SALGA). Hence BAYELSA was derived from the letters BA + YEL + SA.

Bayelsa State Map
Map of Bayelsa State

    Bayelsa has a riverine and estuarine setting. Many communities are almost (and in some cases) completely surrounded by water, making them inaccessible by road. The state is home to the Edumanom Forest Reserve, in June 2008 the last known site for chimpanzees in the Niger Delta.

  The state has one of the largest crude oil and natural gas deposits in Nigeria. As a result, petroleum production is extensive in the state. However, the majority of Bayelsans live in poverty.

    Majority of these set of people are rural dwellers due to the terrain and lack of adequate transportation, health, education or other infrastructure as a result of decades of neglect by the central governments, state governments, and petroleum prospecting companies.

   Undoubtedly, even those living in Yenagoa, the state capital roam about daily with hunger as they are jobless.

   This has been a large problem in the state since its creation; successive state governments have not been able to address and repair the issue. The state, as a result, has an almost non-existent commerce. Successive state governments have embarked on industrial projects (even venturing into the oil and gas sector) and poverty-alleviation programs to reverse this situation. Some argue that there is nothing on ground to show for huge sums of money spent for development by successive administrations.

   The local populations engage in fishing on a subsistence and commercial level. The Bayelsa State government is otherwise the main employer in the state.

   There are roadblocks to a strong democracy in Nigeria at all levels of government. Conflict—triggered by political competition and communal, ethnic, religious or resource allocation rivalries—poses a major threat to democracy and development in the oil rich state.  Corruption pervades the daily lives of Nigerians. Many government institutions do not adequately engage with citizens or the private sector and lack the capacity to carry out their mandates. Further, civil society lacks both the capacity and the resources to effectively engage with government and advocate for change.

    The resources from the area marks a lot to the federal government as a major means of revenue generation, but the federal government has deprived them of such benefits, hence the declaration for resource control.

    Our investigation found out that in Nigeria, the land use decree of 1978 alienated the people of the area from the management of the resources that comes out from their land; that bad political leadership that is parochial without the interest of the people, was one of the major challenge; high level of fraudulent corruption in the state stands as a hindrance to development of the area; lack of control on environment and implementation of environmental laws is also a challenge and that poverty is in the increase in the state.

     Poverty is seen as a more serious hindrance to the development process in Bayelsa.  It has made it quite uneasy, if not impossible, for the state to achieve the level of development in accordance with its set goals of attainment.

    The Bayelsa that serves as one of the major livewire states of the nation’s treasure depot is worst heat because the oil exploration and the exploitations going on in state impoverish the people of the area the more. The oil companies operating in the state established their headquarters in non-oil producing state like Lagos, thus depriving the state from internal revenue to augment Federal Allocation to developing the state, noting that that the limited resources of the state were mismanaged by successive administration.

     This is worsened by the fact that the state has concentrated on the oil alone as a major source of revenue without considering how the state can be taken care of as to cushion the effects of such operations.

    The mono-economic practice resulted to the centralization of production line mainly on oil. It diverted the attention of very many Nigerians to the oil sector, thereby relegating the agricultural production sector that even attracted the outside world particularly the British government to colonize the area, and Nigeria in her early years before its formation as an entity by British arrangement known as Nigeria.

    Be it as it may, it is categorical to affirm that agricultural produce are the major source of raw materials required for industrial production and a major source of employment too.

    Therefore, it is pertinent to acknowledge the fact that, for an improved development to occur in Bayelsa there is every need, as a necessary condition, for the state to refocus to the agricultural sector as a way of diversification of the economy.  This will create a lot of jobs that will help to reduce poverty and ameliorate crime in the state.

     It has been proven to be ideal because in other developing countries, agriculture has helped to improve their economic growth for instance, in Malaysia, Brazil, India, Ghana, etc. In addition, it is obvious that agricultural sector do improve economic growth that will create the enabling opportunity for a nation, state to achieve human capacity training which will result to human capacity development (HCD).

   Realizing that a jobless and unengaged person is prone to evil thoughts, that usually lead to indulging in criminal activities that will disrupt the peaceful existence within any society; agricultural sector helps to engage a lot of people which possibly helps to ameliorate the number of people unengaged as to be criminal minded.

     Consequently, a synergy of both economic growth and human capacity development culminates to national development, and if the tempo is maintained, will eventually guarantee the attainment of quality level of development.

    To this end, there will be a drastic reduction of the incidence of poverty in the state that has been there over time. Furthermore these conditions and situations impoverish the people of the area the more because they are majorly farmers, fishermen and hunters. Whereby the rivers and soil are polluted, the animals find it difficult to survive.

    And even the human beings will face hunger and starvation that will eventually result to anger. Obviously, whenever one is hungry, he or she becomes more irritated and at such times can do anything to put food on the table.

     At that point, they justify their criminal actions more especially in this case of the Niger Delta that stand as the nation’s wealth depot as at this present time and their environments are just unconducive for quality life to be achieved.

    It has been because of these alienations and imperialization of the people of Niger Delta, Bayelsa in particular that has resulted to increase in abject poverty and increase in crime rate as well.

    Whereas in another perspective, some persons also believe that government should provide jobs and almost everything and that disparities and poverty that is ravaging people are caused by government.

    The idea is that the societal structure, government development focus and the cultural norms constrains some set of people from having the same opportunity to be rich through the emancipatory process provided by the government of that country or state. Implying that unequal opportunity breads or increase the chances of being or remaining poor.     This situation appears to be in line with the practice in Nigerian political system that indulges in prebendalism and clientelism in political process.

    Conspicuously, poverty, inequality and environmental deterioration are viewed as major factors that constraints the possibilities of achieving even development. Because of their interconnectedness and interdependence in their relationship, that mass poverty culminates to adverse inequality, which results to the poor having no choice than to resort to the environmental/natural resources.

   This is turn leads to the depletion of the environment that amounts to environmental degradation, which ought to be expunged possibly or ameliorated drastically (Popoola, Olaniyan, Wahab, Ana and Olayide 2011).

   Unlike the Niger Delta region where the pollution is almost covering the entire place, leaving the people with no other alternative, than to resort to crime against government, people of the region and the environment in the end.

   Poverty has equally frustrated a lot of Bayelsans at large, to the extent that a good number of the population have turned deviantic and engage in all manner of fraud to ensure survival.

  Development as a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components is seriously lacking in the state.   The purpose of development is a rise in the level and quality of life of the population, and the creation or expansion of local regional income and employment opportunities, without damaging the resources of the environment. 

    Development is visible and useful, not necessarily immediately, and includes an aspect of quality change and the creation of conditions for a continuation of that change.

   Poverty is the main cause of hunger in the world. This is true in rich and poor countries alike. It is true no matter whether people live in urban or rural areas. Most people who are hungry are living in extreme poverty, defined as income of $1.90 per day or less.

  Poor infrastructure causes hunger by making it difficult — sometimes impossible — to transport food to areas of a country where there are shortages.

   People have died of hunger in one region of a country while there was plenty of food in another region. The roads were so poor it was not possible to reach all who needed the food to survive.  Crops need water to grow. Irrigation infrastructure is unaffordable to most farmers in developing countries; lacks of water and sanitation infrastructure are leading causes of hunger and malnutrition. 

  Any fluctuation that pushes food prices up creates additional hardship. Basic grains such as wheat, rice, and corn make up the largest share of calories among people in developing countries who are hungry. The prices of these grains spiked and hunger surged long ago in the state.

   Indeed, Bayelsa state is an abject poverty and hunger predominant state as it seemingly produce nothing apart from the mineral resources to sustain living.

   Global Overseer further investigation shows that many people and their families were dying in silent as a result of lack of basic necessities to sustain living.

   The abject poverty in the oil rich state of the Niger Delta, 24 years after creation according to our investigation was not unconnected with selfish and greedy leadership, corruption and gross abuse of power, oppression, poor management of the state economy, exploration and exploitation activities of the oil companies, mass unemployment, high cost of living, lack of assistant to farmers among other social ills including infighting and absent of love and unity among the Ijaw people as earlier exhibited by the founding fathers.  

   Several Bayelsans are in distress and coma. Buffered by poverty, hunger and diseases for years, they have entered the terminal consequences of decades of neglect by governments that profess to serve the people. Malnourishment, one of the excruciating effects of poverty, has push the Bayelsan food sources that cannot protect their body as some families for one week cannot see any tangible food item to eat to boost their immune system. He is at the mercy of all types of illness with no money for the exorbitant hospital bills. The next day you pass on to the great beyond as has been happening every day.

    It is dehumanizing to behold your fellow Bayelsa agonized in silence hoping no help from anywhere except from God and the government.

   The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly spelt out that sovereignty belong to the people from  where government derive all its powers and authority. And more so the essence of government is to use public resources for the promotion of the welfare and common good of the people.

   But it is sad to note that whoever that ascend the throne of leadership abandoned the people through selfishness, greediness and corruption, by siphoning public funds into private coffer, running autocratic and dictatorial system of administration that debarred the people to say anything, hence you are crucified.

    Democracy which is the government of the people, by the people and for the people is now a government of the few privileged people who takes decision according to their wishes to actualize their personal gains at the expense of the people or public interest?

    The mass media assigned with the duty to promote the fundamental objectives and Directive Principle of State Policy and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people to promote accountability and good governance is seen as an enemy while fighting against poverty, seeing public funds being diverted for private use, building mansions, purchasing this or that at the detriment of the poor mass who are looking for a cup of garri to eat.

   The situations if not urgently check, Bayelsans will be grinding out their last phase of meaningful existence.

  It is a fact to note that the state is under an obligation to control the national economy in such a manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status sand opportunity.

   Accordingly, the state is required to direct its policy towards ensuring that the “economic systems is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individual or group.

   But it is shameful and noxious to note that this is grossly lacking in the state thereby subjecting the masses into object poverty, hunger, misery and squalor while most of those at the helms of affairs have continue to be acquiring wealth in different ways including to pack and hide in boxes, pits, tanks and big containers.

   The unabated poverty had it origin since the creation of the state 24 years ago based on the fact that the “State Government” is the only industry existing in the state that both the public and the private sectors depend for survival.

   The workers and retirees  are the minor industries in the state that provide the existence of the citizens of the state as their salaries and pensions when paid circulates to the markets and other sectors thereby sustaining lives and property.

   Obviously, any delay in payment effects all the sectors of the state as the “State Government is the only industry in the state.

   Also, the perception that Bayelsa is oil rich state in the federation is another predicament that brought about abject poverty in the state as high cost of living in the state cannot be compared to any other state in Nigeria.

   In Bayelsa, the value of naira falls drastically comparable to other parts of the country as what can be sold N100 in other states is sold N500 or more in Bayelsa State.

    Another major factor that is responsible for the poverty and hunger in the state is the activities of the oil companies. The oil companies’ exploration and exploitation activities has polluted and devastated the environment and the ecosystem thereby destroying the main source of the livelihood of the people since farming and fishing are main occupation of the people.  

   The gas flaring and oil pollution since crude oil was discovered at Oloibiri in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in 1956 many food crops and fishes have disappeared because of the pollution and devastative effect on the soil and the rivers.

   The situation has destroyed the soil nutrients and aquatic life so certain food crops no longer grow in the environment as the fishes also disappeared because of the pollution and devastation effect on the soil and rivers.

   The situation has destroyed the soil nutrients and aquatic life so certain food crops no longer grow in the environment as the fishes also disappear.

   The Ijaw man right from origin is a brave and hardworking man. There is no lazy or idle man or beggar in Ijaw land like some tribes in Nigeria.

   Our investigation have shown that many unemployed youths and the real peasant farmers are ready to embark on intensive farming to curb poverty in the land despite the adverse effects of the oil exploration and exploitation activities has caused on the land, rivers and the entire environment.

   Global Overseer findings also show that as a result their desire has become a nightmare as intensive farming demands money to actualize it. It further revealed that over the years the genuine farmers in the state have not benefited from any or tangible soft loan facility from anywhere to encourage farming and fishing.

    And more adversely to the fishermen are the activities of the sea pirates on our waterways that often disrupt the activities of fishermen. All these constituted the poverty in the state. The poverty in the land according to our finding was also blamed on some certain politicians who want to achieve political powers by all means since 1999 to date by providing means for criminal tendencies in the state. This resulted to kidnapping, armed robbery, hostage taken, sea piracy and other criminal activities in the state.

   The nature of the poverty prevailing in the state is one that you cannot describe. It is sympathetic to note that many families especially those living in the Bayelsa state capital, Yenagoa could not even afford to buy a bottle of kerosene or a single food item among other basic necessities of life.

   Investigation also discovered that some prominent Bayelsans are selling their properties auction just to sustain living while those who don’t have properties to sell are dying in silent. The alarming rate of poverty in the state is one that many who has beautiful buildings and motor could not even afford to produce N1000 talking of what to eat.

        There is fear that if an urgent step is not taking to address the present predicament facing the people more persons will die pre-matured death. It is apparent to state funds accruing to the state from the federated account and other sources should be use judiciously to meet up the statutory responsibilities of government.

   Government should do everything possible to avert poverty in the state to give equal opportunities and sense of belonging to all to feel the impact of the nomenclature “The Glory of All Land”, but should not see politics as one that the “ winner takes all or formulate policies that will lead to autocratic or totalitarian government.

    The epileptic power supply and fraudulent electricity bills in the state is another major area that constitutes abject poverty in state. The Port Harcourt Company Distribution Company should be call to order to shun imposition of fraudulent exorbitant electricity bills on consumers.

     The federal government should increase the statutory allocation of Bayelsa state and abolish all anxious laws that debarred the people to control their God giving resources. The EFCC and ICPC and Code of conduct bureau should be alive to their statutory responsibilities devoid of fraudulent practice by fishing out those diverting public funds for personal use to impoverish the populace.

   It is expected that henceforth, Bayelsans should be their brother’s keeper. They should unite and see their fellows Ijaws problems as theirs. The people of the state should see themselves as an indivisible entity and join the security agencies to fight against all ills in the state to enhance her desired development.

    Those at the helm of affairs in government at all levels should henceforth stop diverting public money for personal use to promote poverty, hunger, misery and squalor in the state.

  The state belongs to all and all should have equal rights to benefit the socio, economic and political resources of the state.       



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