A founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Perekeme Kpodoh, has described the Bayelsa International Airport as a typical example of unplanned development in the state.
Kpodoh, a former Security Adviser, further said the variation in the cost of the project was a demonstration of a lack of transparency and accountability in the management of Bayelsa resources.
He recalled that a former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole, was the first to claim that former Governor Seriake Dickson spent whooping N100bn on the project.
Kpodoh recalled that Dickson later debunked the claims and explained that he spent N70bn on the project.
He said: “But after that, the present Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo claimed that the total money spent on the airport was N56bn. Where does the truth lie? Who is telling us the truth? If there is sincerity in the governance of this state, we should be able to know the overall cost of our airport.
“We are asking because since the former Governor Dickson left office, they are still spending money on that same airport. There is no airport across the nation that had gulped over N25 to N30bn
“Late former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha started this airport and at that time he sand-filled the site, did they include these expenditures in the budget of this airport?”
Kpodoh said the Anambra State Airport constructed with about N10bn was more commercially viable than the Bayelsa Airport as it recently recorded 142 flights and 3865 passengers in one month.
He said the road to Bayelsa Airport was embarrassing as it was dotted by thatched houses and a filthy Tombia Market adding that the road did not support an investment of such financial magnitude.
“Look at the road to this same airport, they didn’t consider it. We have many thatched houses along the airport road and disorganized market structures. Is it the market at the Tombia Road that will attract people to that huge investment?”, he said.
Insisting that the road belittled the airport, Kpodoh asked the state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, to redesign and reconstruct the road leading to the airport, remodelling the markets to international standard and removing all thatched houses along its path.
He said: “We have to keep the Bayelsa State airport pathway clean because people are coming in from different parts of the country and around the world through the airport road.
“If the government wants to develop the airport and attract customers, let them start from the road and remove all those markets or remodel them to international standard.
“We have gone beyond this ancient life we are living, Yenagoa has to be developed.
You have invested such a huge amount of money yet there’s no airport hotel. At least Bayelsa State airport is supposed to be one of the best airports in Nigeria with the estimated amount invested in it.
“And that is why we are calling on the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri to critically look into this project as he tries to make a difference”.