A non-partisan socio-political group, G24 Embasara Foundation has proposed a law limiting the external travels of political office holders and traditional rulers across Bayelsa State to thirty per cent of their time in office.
The group comprising illustrious sons from Bayelsa made the proposal during a one day summit on leadership, governance and development in Yenagoa.
A former Commissioner for Environment in the state, Mr Iniruo Will, state this while presenting a draft copy of an Ijaw National Code of Ethics, Leadership and Governance, saying it is aimed at guiding the conduct of all citizens of Ijaw Nation.
Iniruo said the new law when passed into law would help promote domestic tourism, encourage bonding between government and the governed and ensure leaders are prudent with taxpayers’ money.
The Ijaw National Code of Ethics further prohibited the imposition of candidates to the people during elections, electoral violence and malpractices of any kind and betrayal of the common good of the people for self-interest.
“In a case of flagrant abuse of this code, appropriate steps shall be initiated to enforce the recall or removal of the Ijaw son or daughter found guilty from office.
“Another good thing about the code is that Ijaw sons and daughters in the employment of public or private institutions shall demonstrate exceptional commitment and productivity in their workplace to justify the payment of wages. Doing otherwise shall be unlawful,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the event, Chief Amba Ambaiowei, attributed the uncoordinated issue of governance and development to the failure of the elected officers to follow a laid down code of conduct.
“It is known all over the state that our politicians and political leaders are the cause of our woes. They introduced several serious social ills into our society namely election violence with rigging, militancy, kidnapping and fraudulent mismanagement of our resources.”
Chief Ambaiowei, alleged that politicians in the state are responsible for disrupting the peace in the communities in their desperate bid to win elections.
“They recruit and mobilise supporters especially the youths who are abandoned after elections. In return, these youths now vent their disappointment and frustrations on the public, resulting in militancy, kidnapping and other vices,” he added.
He also accused the politicians of mismanaging the state’s resources and live ostentatious lifestyle while abandoning development, thereby attracting public hatred and rebuke.
“Our legislator fails to play the expected role of teamwork with their respective constituencies in evolving developmental objectives,” he added.
The summit’s keynote speaker Ms Thelma Ekiyor spoke on the need for the people to elect leaders with vision with the drive for development and growth, adding that sustainable development should be the goal of the leadership.
According to her “Countries like China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia have revealed that representative, accountable and transparent government is not always a pre-requisite for economic growth or poverty reduction. Over the past 30 years, some ‘authoritarian’ regimes have delivered both development successes and failures.
“Similarly, some democratic governments promote economic growth, social harmony and the welfare of their citizens, while others breed recurring economic crisis and social conflict. However, evidence suggests that greater representation and accountability can build a political system that reflects the values and interests of communities, increases the state’s legitimacy.
“Combats corruption and may contribute to long-term stability. Bayelsa State should aim for the latter. Accountable governance systems are more likely to ensure that growth is equitable and inclusive – for example, sharing the wealth of natural resource extraction across communities, rather than concentrating it in the hands of a few powerful people,” she noted.
On his presentation an environment rights activist, Reverend Nnimmo Bassey lamented the destruction of the ecosystems by major oil companies and harp on the need for the people to resist any attempt to degrade their environment.
He called for the remediation of the Niger Delta environment by the Federal government as it is been done in Ogoni land.
Also speaking on the theme “The Bayelsa Economy: Defining a new paradigm “a development expert Adolphus Ekpe expressed the need for the leaders to prioritise development in the state to enable the people to benefit from their programmes.
He also suggested that medium scale industry is established in all the local government areas, with a focus on cottage industries in target communities, stressing that it would create wealth and employment opportunities for the people.
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