From Femi Folaaranmi, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has indicated that he has had discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in regard to the flood disaster in Bayelsa State.
The federal government and the Presidency had come under fire for its delayed response to calls for help from Bayelsa State.
Governor Douye Diri had called on the federal government, complaining that it was being unfair to the state, considering its strategic importance.
During his visit, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, had expressed surprise that the federal government had not sent a delegation to assess the extent of the damage.
But speaking at the 11th Annual Thanksgiving Service held at the Bayelsa State Ecumenical Centre, Jonathan whose house at Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area was also submerged disclosed that he has had discussions with the president and vice president, adding that help is on the way.
Dr Jonathan while joining the calls for the federal government to assist the state in the recovery process added that he was optimistic that given the efforts he had made alongside other leaders, help will come from the centre.
He commended the former governor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, for instituting the Annual Thanksgiving and also applauded Diri for continuing with the policy, stressing that his administration has made God a priority and will always receive divine blessings.
“Let me commend Senator Dickson for showing commitment to the service of God. He built this edifice and initiated this thanksgiving service. You place God first and God will continue to bless you and bless the state.
“Let me also thank Governor Diri for continuing with the programme. I thank the clergymen for their continuous work as well as Pastor Paul Eneche for his service to God and nation.
“I do not want to overemphasise the disaster that has befallen us. Everybody is an IDP (internally displaced person) in Bayelsa State. I have discussed this with the President and Vice President and I believe help will come.
“We empathise with all of you. Coming out today when we are still affected by the flood is significant,” Jonathan said
Speaking at the event, Diri urged the people of the state not to be daunted in the face of the obvious challenges caused by the ravaging floods.
He commended the resilience of the people noting that the flood, which did not discriminate based on party affiliation, has highlighted the need for leaders and people of the state to unite.
“This flood did not affect people along party lines. It should be a clear message to us that we have common challenges and we can only solve them when we are united. Let us not be deceived into fractionalising to suit the political interest of politicians who look for us only when they need our votes,” he said.
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