Bayelsa Govt Tasks Community Leadership on Democratic Standards
By Amos Odeh
Bayelsa State Government has charged traditional rulers and other community leaders to imbibe and practice democratic principles to ensure smooth running of their communities.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice on Tuesday while receiving an interim report from the Peretorugbene Community Constitution Review Committee in Government House, Yenagoa.
According to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, upholding democratic standards including transparency and the rule of law will help to avoid or reduce conflicts to the barest level in community administration.
The Deputy Governor, who thanked the Chairman and Members of the Committee for doing a satisfactory job, however, directed them to swiftly carry out the next phase of their assignment.
The next phase, according to him, is the clause-by-clause presentation of the amended version of the Peretorugbene Constitution to the people at the community for their inputs and subsequent adoption.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo also urged the Committee to expedite action on the completion of their assignment to enable government set up an electoral body to conduct the Peretorugbene Community Development Committee (CDC) election as planned.
While assuring that a new CDC would be inaugurated by the 19th of July this year, the Deputy Governor called on the people to support the effort of government to restore sustainable peace in the community.
He equally assured that government would soon constitute an independent committee to investigate allegations bordering on financial misappropriation in the community, adding however, that no indigene of Peretorugbene would be allowed to play a role in the committee.
His words, “Everybody in Peretoru must be fully involved in what government is doing and try to keep the peace. What we are doing is not to witch-hunt anybody.
“Rather, what we are doing is to set a model for communities to be as democratic as possible. The number of democratic communities will determine how democratic Nigeria is.
“We thank you for your sacrifices and what you have done so far. But we want you to move to the next phase of your assignment. And that stage is for you to go down to Peretoru and present what you have done, clause by clause to the people.
“We don’t want anybody give any excuse tomorrow. So, it has to be completed before we set up an electoral committee to conduct the election that will bring on board a new CDC on the 19th of July this year.”
Presenting the interim report, Chairman of the Peretorugbene Community Constitution Review Committee, Mr Tanus Tarebi, expressed gratitude to the state government for the measures taken so far to resolve the conflict in the community.
Mr Tarebi noted that the committee made painstaking efforts to properly define potential areas of conflicts in the community, including the functions of the CDC, the Amananaowei-in-Council and the Welfare Association with enabling checks and balances for each arm of government.
According to the Chairman, the final draft copy of the Peretorugbene Constitution will be ready for presentation and ratification by the people of the community by Friday this week.
The Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Chief Thompson Amule, Chairman, State Civil Service Commission and former President of the Peretorugbene Welfare Association, Dr Peter Singabelle as well as Secretary of the Constitution Review Committee, Mr John Ebikake, also made contributions during the presentation.