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BAYELSA STATE

Historical Development:


According to the 1952 Census Report, the ljaws of the Niger Delta region have been recognised as one of the ten major ethnic groups with a population of 0.9 million. During the colonial administration, a separate province was created for them. The amalgamation of Southern and Northern Protectorates in 1914 triggered the fear among minority ethnic groups of political domination; hence their agitation for a distinct state comprising the old Brass, Degema and Western ljaw Divisions, under the umbrella of ljaw National Group, started in earnest. During the colonial period, Britain signed many treaties of protection with the chiefs of many coastal communities, especially the ljaws, with the hope that at Nigeria's independence in 1960, a nation state would be created for them.


Between 1941 and 1956, many nationalist movements were formed mainly to establish ljaw political sovereignty. They pressed the issue of separate political sovereignty before the Willink Commission 1958. In order to allay the fears of the ethnic minorities, the Willink Commission recommended the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) to tackle the problems of underdevelopment of the area, environmental neglect and political domination. Despite the establishment of the Board, the agitation for state creation, based on the above stated problems, continued until the military wrested political power and control of Nigeria from civilians on 15th January 1966.


In February 1966, Isaac Boro, an ljaw man from Kaiama town in Bayelsa State, with Sam Owonaro, Nottingham Dick and thousands of their supporters unilaterally proclaimed a "Niger Delta Peoples Republic." But the Federal Government brought the rebellion to a sudden end. On May 27, 1967, the then Rivers State (which was made up the present Rivers and Bayelsa States) was created.







Off-Shore Drilling Platforms,Bayelsa State

Off-Shore Drilling Platforms,Bayelsa State

Agitation for a separate State continued among the ljaws and some of the reasons given included: environmental degradation occasioned by oil exploration and exploitation; continued neglect of the economic development of the area, political marginalisation et cetera. The area is currently among the least developed in the country, lacking any form of developmental amenity and infrastructure. Or Rivers State by General Sani Abacha with three local government areas (LGAs) and with Yenagoa as the state capital.


Administrative Areas:


At inception, the state had three local government areas namely Brass, Yenagoa and Sagbama. The name Bayelsa is an acronym formed from the names of the three LGAs. in Bayelsa State operated on eight LGAs until 28th to December 1999 when additional twenty four LGAs ion were created by the first executive civilian governor of the state. The state has several towns and villages around which an indigenous administrative framework is built and local resources are my mobilised.







Government House, Yenagoa

Government House, Yenagoa

 


Administrative Structure: There are three arms of government in Bayelsa State and these include: The Executive Council of the Legislature and ink The Judiciary. The Executive Council is made up of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Commissioners, Special Advisers and the Secretary to the State ital Government. The commissioners are the accounting officers for each of the ministries, while the permanent secretaries oversee the daily activities in their ministries.


The parastatals are special organs ind of the government charged with the establishment ary and running of certain key economic areas of the state government. They are supervised by the am Deputy Governor.


The Governor has Special Advisers on education, special duties, information community affairs, et cetera.

The Legislature (Bayelsa State House of Assembly) is made up of elected members and it is of the law-making body for the state. The Speaker of the House is the chairman in all the proceedings. The Judiciary is the body that interprets the law ed: in the state. It is headed by the state Chief Judge. The second tier of Government in the state is the the Local Government.


On 20th of December 1999, the state was further subdivided into thirty-two LGAs. Each LGA is headed by a chairman run by the executive and the legislature. The LGA On is the grassroots government, being the nearest to of the people. Each community of the state has a traditional head while the State Council of Chiefs is headed by the most accepted elderly person. The traditional institutions are hierarchical.

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