Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (retd), has decried the unwarranted and misleading reports about the South South geo-political zone and Bayelsa state in particular, saying it is a deliberate distortion of facts.
John-Jonah stated this when he hosted the 23rd batch of 20 student officers, including two directing staff of the Foreign Affairs Academy, Lagos, during a cocktail party in their honour in Yenagoa.
He said the people of the region which mainly produce the oil that sustains the federation, have overtime become the most misrepresented and called for an urgent change in the narrative to attract greater foreign investment and development to the area.
The deputy governor, who described the student officers as ambassadors of the country, urged them to tell the Bayelsa story beyond the shores of the country.
“Anywhere you go, you are ambassadors and even now you are ambassadors of the school, meaning you have to go and tell our story, the South South story. The South South, in most cases, has been one of the most misrepresented people in this country.
“Bayelsa dream to take the state to the world and the world to Bayelsa can be achieved with the collaboration and support of the Foreign Service Department, as the state is young and has much to offer in terms of profitability and productivity,” he said.
He urged the officers to be objective in their analysis and reports, stressing that, they have the privilege of making life better for Bayelsans by making recommendations to the government.
Director of Training, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Rachel Ocheni, said, the visit to the state and other parts of the six geo-political zones, is part of a one-year course for the 20 newly employed staff of the ministry.
Ocheni, who affirmed Bayelsa as home of hospitality, said having visited many landmark projects and places in the state alongside the student officers, it is obvious that, the state has a lot to offer in terms of cultural deposits.
She thanked the state government for the support and warm reception accorded the team, while assuring that the ministry would not cease to showcase the potential of the state outside the shores of the country.