by Stanley Azuakola
So after the sum of N24 billion was allegedly pumped into building a ‘befitting’ Bayelsa Government House, it turns out that the present occupant of the governors’ office has no intention of stepping foot into the place.
The Gloryland Castle, one of the signature achievements of the former Bayelsa governor, Timipreye Sylva, for which he was so sufficiently pleased that he invited a CNN crew to a tour of the massive facility is considered too opulent by the present governor, Seriake Dickson, who has decided that rather than residing there, he would convert same to a hotel.
The Government House project was initiated by the former governor of the state and recently pardoned ex-convict, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, but his successor, Goodluck Jonathan allegedly didn’t commit to it as he did not view it as a priority.
However his own successor in office, Timipreye Sylva, dedicated resources to the project, completed it and furnished it as well – an uncommon beauty in the heart of Yenagoa, just behind the currently used Government House.
The edifice contains several state-of-the-art sitting rooms, grand bedrooms with aesthetic furnishing, exceptional toilets with bravura fittings that place the facility in a world of its own.
So why isn’t the Bayelsa governor, Seriake Dickson, moving into the palace despite the massive funds pumped into it.
In a display of modesty, Dickson said it was too much for just him.
“This castle was started by Chief Alamieyeseigha. Of course, as you know I was in the cabinet of Dr. Jonathan when he was governor. We, within that short period that we were in government, didn’t think that completing the project as at that time was a priority. But when my immediate predecessor came on board, he managed to complete it.
“So he achieved the completion, including the furnishing and all that. Now upon my ascension into office, I of course made it clear from day one that there was no way I was going to stay in this type of place. It is simply too grandiose. It is way out of format with my own personal standard,” he said.
The governor’s resolve on the matter is simple – make it a part of the state government’s tourism plan for the state. In that way, it becomes a revenue source. Hence, the governor plans to convert the opulent structure into a six-star hotel.
“We have decided to convert this to a 6-Star hotel. As it is, we have to suspend work. There is actually a lot of work going on in the upper floor. But in the next five to six months, around November to December I would like you to come to be part of the various tourism promotion activities that will come up at that time. Then, you are likely to meet a five or six-star hotel in this complex. Work is already ongoing. That is about it. I’m not staying here. I have no plan to stay here,” he said.
Well done, Mr. Governor.