From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has awarded scholarships to the two children of the gallant footballer, Earnest Peremobowei, who died in the flood after saving five passengers from the boat that capsized at Yenebelebiri community in Yenagoa Local Government Area.
Atiku who announced this at Bayelsa State Government House during a sympathy visit to Bayelsa flood victims said the scholarship for the children is up to the university level.
Speaking of the flood disaster, Atiku who donated N55 million to flood victims in the state said it was disheartening seeing the level of destruction to the lives and economy of people in the state.
He appealed to the Federal Government and public-spirited individuals and organizations to support Bayelsa in this difficult moment.
The former Vice President advocated the setting up of an independent flood disaster relief fund that will provide succour to victims and a temporary fund for farmers to ameliorate their losses and provide them with capital for next year’s planting season.
Atiku assured that if elected president, he would commit to completing the dam in Adamawa State and take other necessary measures to ensure that Nigeria does not suffer this magnitude of damage as a result of flooding.
He seized the opportunity to commiserate with former President Goodluck Jonathan whose country home at Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State was also submerged.
“My visit to Yenagoa is to have a personal experience of the devastation that victims of flooding have suffered across the country. Climate change is real. The experience in Bayelsa is disheartening. Human lives and public infrastructure have been destroyed,” he said.
Responding, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri said people of the state were encouraged by the display of love by the former Vice President.
Governor Diri, while confirming receipt of the donation, said he was the first presidential candidate to donate such an amount, assuring that the money will be paid into the flood relief account for the benefit of victims.
Diri lamented the slow response of the federal government despite several efforts by him to get the attention of the relevant authorities.
He stressed that Bayelsa remains the state that lays the golden egg where oil was first struck in commercial quantity and wondered why the Federal Government was yet to give the state the attention it deserved.
Diri also announced that a friend of the state, Alhaji Musa Bello has also offered scholarships to the late Peremobowei’s children.