As the race to creek thickens, the question on the lips of electorate and party stalwarts is what these aspirants have done to improve the socio-economic development of Bayelsa State. Here, track-record of service is called to question.
These questions often referred to as ‘Operation Show Your Scorecard’ is necessary to help the people make informed choices from the array of aspirants with developmental acumen that will provide good governance to improve the fortunes of the state.
In this regard, Ambassador Godknows Igali is one of the leading contenders for the race considering his track-record of achievements.
Following his appointment as Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government in February two thousand and six under the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Igali took issues of governance to an unprecedented level through the formulation of viable policies which put the state on the pedestal of accelerated economic development.
As a true Ijaw son, he ensured that the heroes of the Ijaw Nation like Isaac Adaka Boro and members of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force were not forgotten as he initiated a Memo to the State Executive Council that approved benefits for them including monthly allowances for Boro’s wives, children and surviving siblings as well as Captain Owonaro and surviving fighters of Niger Delta Volunteer Force.
Others are monthly tokens to parents of genuine fighters of the Niger Delta Volunteer force who passed on and construction of befitting storey buildings for Isaac Boro and Captain Owonaro including bungalows for all members of the Boro’s squad.
Ambassador Igali also prioritised merit as a yardstick in the selection process to qualify for any government sponsored programme. A good example was a case of the promotion of a French educational programme in the state, where best French pupils from primary and secondary schools were selected to participate in four weeks programme in France and Belgium.
Having served as an Honorary Adviser/Chief Negotiator to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Niger Delta Matters concurrently with that of the Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Ambassador Igali played several roles in dousing the volatility of the Niger Delta.
At this time, the Niger Delta experienced the upsurge in militancy with the formation of militant camps in Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom States under an umbrella body, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND.
Thus Ambassador Igali was the first Niger Delta son to visit all the major camps in the different states including the most dreaded Camp Five to negotiate with them and sell the idea of the Presidential Amnesty programme to the militants and the government of the day.
It was his policies that later culminated in the formation of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, a pivotal role he has continued to play as one of the leaders of Pan Niger Delta Forum.
As Ambassador to the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland between two thousand and eight and two thousand and ten, Ambasador Igali exhibited an exemplary style of leadership that made Nigerian residents in these countries to have a sense of belonging.
Most of his years in the Nordic countries were dedicated to building robust relationship between the host countries and Nigeria thereby bringing about foreign direct investments to Nigeria.
Dr. Igali was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in May two thousand and ten where he embarked on water sector reforms including the introduction of Public Private Partnership (PPP) to water supply which has become a reference point in the Nigerian water sector.
He also played a major role in building the nexus between water, energy and agriculture through the construction of multipurpose dams in Nigeria including the Gurara which provides potable water, 30 megawatts of power and 3,000 hectares of farmland irrigation) and the Kashimbila dam which also provides potable water, 40 megawatts of power and 4,000 hectares of farmland irrigation.
By initiating several water and irrigation projects in the Niger Delta through the Ministry and Niger Delta River Basin Authority, Ambassador Igali took development to the grassroots.
These include the Ogbia Central Water Project, construction of small scale irrigation at Anyama, Peremabiri, and Sampou rice irrigation projects, Sugarcane irrigation/drainage project at Ondewari, construction of flood and erosion control/drainage structures at Etieama, and construction of drainage and land reclamation structures in Otuoke and Peremabiri.
Others are the construction of East Bomo regional water project, construction of mini water supply scheme at Sampou/Kalama, Okoloba, Sabagrea, Opokuma, Biseni, Akaibiri and Igbogene, construction of water treatment plant and reticulation project in Sagbama and Ekeremor, Kaiama integrated regional water supply scheme, Eniwari flood and erosion control, water reticulation project at Egebema-Angalabiri and Aleibiri as well as Opolo-Epie central water scheme.
Upon his deployment to the Federal Ministry of Power in March two thousand and thirteen, he became Chairman of the Technical Implementation Committee on the privatization. In that capacity, he undertook the supervision of a successful conclusion of the handing over of the power sector assets to the new private owners in November, two thousand and thirteen.
This is aside from carrying out series of negotiations with electricity workers union that led to the payment of terminal benefits to over 48,000 workers to allow the smooth sail of the privatization process.
Ambassador Igali initiated the construction of the 700MW Zungeru Hydro Power Plant; completion of design of the 3,030MW Mambilla Hydro Power Plant and created an enabling environment for the injection of private sector capital in the power sector as well as diversification of Nigeria energy mix to exploit the abundant natural resources in the country.
He also embarked on the training of 3,600 youths in different skills in the power sector under the National Power Sector Apprenticeship Scheme, initiated the ‘Operation Light-Up Rural Nigeria Project’ by setting up pilot projects across the country using renewable energy and ensured the completion of seven National Integrated Power Plants.
With his constituency in mind Amb, Igali initiated several power projects in Bayelsa State referred to as the Bayelsa State Power Improvement Projects including the award of contract for the 90MVA Bayelsa Transmission Substation at Gbaraintoru to boost power supply in the state, 2 X 60MVA, 132/33KV substation at Oporoma and 2 x 132kv line extension at Yenagoa and several other rural electrification projects in the State.
Among them are design for the connection of Bayelsa state to the national grid, rural electrification of Okoroba in and Ebohm Ogbia LGA, rural electrification of Elebele-Oruma-Emeyal, rehabilitation of Otabagi-Otuokpoti-Opume-Otuogidi 33kv line and installation of distribution transformers as well as construction and rehabilitation of Angiama-Oporoma & Oporoma-Onyoma-Ekowe- EKianbiri-Peremabiri 48km 33kv line.
Others are construction of Angiama-Otuan-Umugbene, Ogbongene-Egbepulugbene-Akede-Ondewari-Korokorosei-Ikeinyabiri-Olugbobiri-Ikebiri, Awigbene-Osiama-Azia-Kasama, 38 km 33kv line, construction and rehabilitation of Angiama-Ludonu-Agidigbene-Eniwari-Ofoinibiri-Opuama-Opolobubo-Diebu-Peremabiri-Aguabiri-Igebiri-Obeleli-Anyama-Oweikorogha-Ikibiri-Amassoma, 42km 33kv line, Procurement and installation of 300kva transformers at Mile 3, Sagbama, Asamabiri, Elemebiri, Adagbabiri and Trofani, Elemebiri to Ekperewari construction of 18km 33kva overhead line, installation of 2 x 500kv transformers and construction of 3km of low tension lines.
The rest are procurement and installation of 500kva transformer at Ifidi in Odi community, Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, feasibility studies and engineering design of River Nun, Environmental Impact Assessment of River Nun, Feasibility studies and production of reliable data for wind farm at coastal area of Nembe, consultancy services for wind, solar and biomass projects in Koluama Community, consultancy services for wind, solar and biomass in Eniwari Community. Electrify Nigeria in Eniwari and Otuabula 2 Communities.
As a Federal Permanent Secretary, he secured employed for over two hundred and twenty Bayelsans in different government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. He has created enormous impact on his generation.
Stakeholders should take a penetrating gaze at the achievements of Ambassador Boladei Igali while taking critical decisions concerning who succeeds the present leadership in Bayelsa State.
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