Excerpts From the Hangout Series with Engr. Banigo Boma Edward, anchored by Wisdom Chapp-Jumbo
On Saturday, 23rd January on a live interview series with its host Wisdom Chapp-Jumbo, discussions around governance as it concerns Bonny Local Government Council were tabled and an aspirant on the auspices of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP; Engr. Banigo Boma Edward was featured and he had the following thoughts to share.
BEING AN ADDRESS BY ENGR. BANIGO BOMA EDWARD, ASPIRANT FOR CHAIRMAN, BONNY LGA IN THE UPCOMING LGA ELECTIONS, AT THE HANGOUT SERIES WITH WISDOM CHAPP-JUMBO ON 23/01/2021
I was born into the family of Ama-opusenibo Edward John Banigo an Educationist (now Late), on the 28th of September 1986 in Bonny. Unfortunately my dad just passed on, on the 18th of January, 2021. He was supposed to be with me, giving me some guidelines as well as advise.
As a Bonny son, I was supposed to be a part of the #EndBonnyKillings and #endseapiracyinbonny protest in Bonny, however due to unforeseen circumstances, I couldn’t participate and so, when I learned that there was going to be another protest organized in Port Harcourt, I had to participate in it. I did so as a youth and had to identify with my fellow youths. We are all involved in this, we all feel the pain and we need solutions. I salute the doggedness of our youths, they are the reason why we achieved the success. I am aware that within government, talks are underway even our Senator among others are making concerted efforts as we speak.
To proffer solution in the immediate to sea robbery, I’ll propose a gun boat stationed at the yellow platform (hub of the sea robbery attacks) and others on patrol with traveling boats. Logistics would be provided for the gunboats and there would be supervision to ensure strict-compensation and utilization for the provision of security, having provided necessary logistics for the gunboats. There is the need to procure more gun boats and station them for the protection of the villages. This needs the cooperation of all relevant stakeholders within and outside the island.
We cannot say the entire leadership is silent, there are a few steps being taken by a few leaders including at the Senate as earlier mentioned. These issues may not be discussed publicly, however I believe steps are being taken.
Let me use this opportunity to thank His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike CON for his patience with indigenous contractors over the Bonny National Grammar School. The Governor is not pleased with Bonny indigenous contractors whom he awarded the contract of the BNGS and the manner in which they handled it, which has made him re-award the said contract, compared to other LGA’s indigenous contractors who delivered with quality jobs.
WHAT I WILL BE DOING DIFFERENTLY:
We shall run an open government. One where we are fully accountable to the people and are always open to suggestions. In the first three months, we shall have a Townhall meeting with the community, addressing our plans and streamlining with suggestions from stakeholders to come up an actionable plan for implementation. Thereafter, we shall maintain communication channels with the community to promote transparency and trust; as we are just hold the position in trust for the community. The LGA would definitely feel the presence and impact of government as the one closest to the people
PLANS AND VISION FOR BONNY LGA.
1. Human capital development through education, skills acquisition and entrepreneurship:
I believe that we can grow in Bonny. However the best way to grow, is by investing in the people wisely, encouraging people to be established. This way, a select number of people gets trained, supported and established, they in turn reach out to others. This would have a multiplier effect.
2. Develop and implement a security architecture and model to handle migration and influx of people for NLNG Trains-7 and beyond, as well as the Bonny-Bodo road: Development is good as it provides us the opportunity for positive expansion on all fronts. It is however imperative to state that just as development comes with the good, it also comes with the bad too. We have witnessed insecurity first over the years and need not be told this again, and prepare a security masterplan with inputs from all stakeholders as well as the general public. We plan to run a people’s administration, to this end we shall make for an open system to interface with all. We also have plans for the utilization of the NLNG Trains-7 to employ indigenous youths, get youths trained in various relevant skills to enhance employability and prepare them for other jobs at the expiration of Train 7, as well as negotiating better pay for workers; this we shall do in conjunction with the Bonny Integrated Recruitment Centre (BIRC).
3. Construction of drainage channels and networks to control perennial flooding in the area: We do not need the State or Federal government to come attend to certain local challenges to which we can provide immediate solutions. At every rainy season, we have floods at every turn. We believe the task of keeping water channels clog-free should not be a difficult task, as well as creating new channels for water outflow.
4. Greener and cleaner environment through adequate waste collection and management in partnership with industries: The transition to a green economy requires actions and significant technological, behavioural and systemic change in all levels of the society including citizens, public and private sectors. We hope to lead the initiative when we form government at the LGA level.
5. Map out and implement economic policies to boost local earnings: At the most basic level, LGA Administration ensures a secure and stable environment in which economic development can take place. They provide physical infrastructure – roads, water supply, waste management, information and communication technologies and promote public health, education, and environmental sustainability.
Increasingly, however, LGA Administration goes well beyond these traditional roles. LGA Administrations around the world are helping existing enterprises to survive and expand, fostering new enterprises, arranging workforce development programs, promoting research and development, and taking action to ensure that marginalized members of their communities have access to decent livelihoods. We have sufficient resources drawn from monthly allocation and IGR to drive our economy and we shall strive to do this.
6. Utilize Bonny money for Bonny people: We believe that funds due to the LGA can and should be utilized in developing the community and her people. Lots of infrastructure to enhance living standards can be set up and yes, the funds are available. Tenement rate, as part of our policy, would be utilized by respective companies in providing infrastructures as desired by our community. We intend to be transparent about this, understanding the mistrust over the years and we shall set up a system to checkmate this process.
7. Health: In line with the current pandemic, we shall be working with health professionals on the island to draw up a comprehensive plan on how best to tackle and respond to the situation. This is why we are to run an open system of government with the people. As an engineer, I’m limited in the field of medicine. The general hospital in particular lacks experienced manpower and necessary equipment’s which often leads to referral of patients to Port Harcourt; we shall prioritize efforts in this regard as well, to improve on the existing system, to promote efficiency.
I hear some persons are already criticize the system for the coming LGA elections. However, I know it is God who gives power. The Governor has advocated that only performing LGA Chairmen would be allowed for a second tenure, let us hold him by his words when it comes to Bonny. Personally, I trust the process. I have been consulting within my party, PDP seeking the support of the stakeholders, delegates, exco members as well as members of the party. I am hopeful of their support.