By G9ija

Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has justified the relatively high cost of executing infrastructural projects in Bayelsa.

Diri stated this at the official inauguration and hand-over of the Federal Secretariat, named after former President Goodluck Jonathan, in Yenagoa.

The construction of the Federal Secretariat started in 2011 during the administration of Jonathan.

Diri was represented at the occasion by his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

According to him, the cost of constructing a kilometre of standard road in Bayelsa is required to construct four or more kilometers of the same grade of road elsewhere in Nigeria.

He noted that the construction of the Federal Secretariat, which was initially scheduled to cost N2.5 billion, had to undergo a cost variation after the 2012 flood and was completed at a total cost of N3.1 billion.

The Governor expressed hope that with this experience, the Federal Government would henceforth be more cautious in matters of project cost evaluation and execution in the state.

He commended the President Muhammad Buhari-led administration for completing key projects it inherited from the Jonathan administration across the country.

Diri, however, noted that the outgoing administration never initiated any new project in the State in the last eight years.

“Some people who did not know what we are passing through in this state are quick to condemn us and make all sorts of comments about our level of development.

“But I’m very sure that the Federal Government, having passed through what we are experiencing in Bayelsa, will not make such comments.

“In Bayelsa here, we spend lots of resources to clear the road and create land for construction.

“I’m happy that the story will change, going forward, because they (Federal Government) have seen that what will cost them N2 billion to build in Awka, Anambra and Gusau in Zamfara will cost them N3 billion in Bayelsa.

“The federal government has seen that construction in Bayelsa here is more repulsive, resistant and difficult. The project here was billed for 2.5 billion but after the flood in 2012, it was redesigned and re-evaluated.

“While it is good that the federal government completed some of the projects started by President Goodluck Jonathan, we want to place it on record that for the past eight years, we never saw one new project in Bayelsa,” he said.

In his remarks at the virtual inauguration ceremony, the President said that the successful completion of the federal secretariats in Yenagoa, Awka and Gusau would save the federal government from the huge sums being committed to renting office accommodation for its workers.

The new Federal Secretariat, handled by MS Trenur Nigeria Limited, has a total of 342 offices, including a post office, a banking hall and a standard conference hall, named after another illustrious son of the state, Amb. Godknows Igali.