Lagos — BAYELSA State Governor, Seriake Dickson, yesterday, said he inherited N4,451 from his predecessor, Timipre Sylva, in February 2012 and gave a graphic account of how his administration grew the paltry sum to over N16 billion.
The Governor, who spoke before proceeding on a two-week break, said the N50 billion Bond his embattled predecessor secured was also posing a challenge to his administration, lamenting that the figure would hit N104 billion in 2017.
Dickson made this disclosure while presenting his administration's financial scorecard for December 2012, yesterday in Abuja. He said his state's Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) would hit the N2 billion monthly mark by the end of the year, up from about N300 million when he assumed office. Dickson, who was represented by his Commissioner for Finance, Duate Iyabi, said 2013 has been dedicated to consolidating the achievements of the preceding year.
I didn't handover to Dickson - Sylva
Countering Dickson's claim yesterday, Sylva said the governor was not in a position to know how much he left in the state's coffers because Dickson did not take over from him.
Sylva's Spokesman, Dofie Ola said Dickson could not have inherited anything from the former governor because Sylva did not hand over to him.
He said after the Supreme Court judgment, Sylva handed over to the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Nestor Binabo. "We did not hand over to Dickson, there was an acting governor who took over from us and so the question should go to him (Binabo)," Ola said yesterday.
The former governor is currently facing corruption charges with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which last week sealed 48 choice property in Abuja allegedly belonging to him, although Sylva has insisted that he did not have more than three property in Abuja.
We will complete on-going projects - Dickson
However, despite funds constraints, Dickson assured that ongoing projects would be completed.
From the state's savings, disclosed Iyabi, N1.5 billion was drawn to assist persons displaced by the recent flooding disaster. The flooding notwithstanding, he said Bayelsa was able to implement 85 per cent of capital expenditure for 2012.
Sylva's N50bn bond
The governor decried the N50 billion Bond obtained by former Governor Timipre Sylva, and another N16 billion bank loan, he said were abused.
IGR consultants, said a Commissioner, has been appointed to shore up the monthly IGR from the N518 realised in November 2012 to about N2 billion from the end of the year.
He described as unacceptable a situation where 97 per cent of the state's revenue is from federal allocation and promised to continue to give priority attention to education, healthcare, farming and tourism, assuring that Bayelsa was set to become one of the most developed states in Nigeria.
Proceeds on two-week break
The governor who is to proceed on a two-week break, called on Bayelsans to remain steadfast in their support for the government's programmes and policies, stressing that his absence would not affect government activities in the state.
The two weeks break is part of Dickson's 2012 annual vacation, which he did not observe because of pressing state assignments, Iworiso-Markson, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, said in a statement
Governor Dickson is, however, expected to take time off of his break to attend the closing formalities and wreath laying ceremony of the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance day on January 15 in Yenagoa.
The statement recalled the Governor's busy schedule during the flood disaster, the worst in the history of the state, the sad event of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and General Owoye Azazi and the funeral programmes as well as the normal day-to-day running of government.