The Immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, created a scene on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday when he tackled Senator Aishatu Dahiru-Binani (Adamawa Central), who described Bayelsa as among the smallest states in Nigeria.
Binani had while canvassing support for her bill seeking to establish the Federal Medical Centre in Mubi, Adamawa, said the town had a total land mass of 506.4km2, a population of 759,045 and nine local government areas.
She said, “This together with the population of Mubi North makes it 2,089,540 people (very much higher than Bayelsa State’s eight local government Areas, with a population of 1,704,515).
“Nonetheless, this historic town has suffered from government neglect in terms of federal presence, especially in the area of tertiary healthcare delivery.”
Obviously angered by her submission, Dickson faulted her claim on Bayelsa population.
Dickson insisted that the size of Bayelsa — the physical land mass and the water bodies — was three times bigger than some states in the country.
He said Binani should have made her case without referring to Bayelsa.
Dickson said, “In my senatorial district, it will take me four days to go round. In my local government, Sagbama, it will take me three days to go round.
“I just felt I should rise up to enlighten the sponsor of this bill and by so doing the rest of the country. When people talk about population, they should be careful.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, cautioned Dickson against inputting improper motives to the debate.
Lawan said, “The discussion is not on the population of Bayelsa or population censors conducted before; we should rather concentrate on the main focus, which is on the establishment of federal medical centre.”
Dickson nevertheless insisted that “debates and the submissions in this hallowed chamber must be based on justifiable fact, arguing that Binani referred to population figures which were not verifiable.
He said, “I was only rising up to enlighten, without prejudice to the merits or demerits of the bill, that the premise that she has put forward as a reason or one of the reasons why this bill should be considered is faulty.
“That should be expunged; it should not form part of it. That is not factual; it is incorrect.”
The Senate President said, “We don’t have to come down and reduce the debate to reaction. You were in the House of Representatives before you became a governor, I’m very sure you are very conversant with our process here.”
The bill passed second reading.
SOURCE: PUNCH NIGERIA