George Agba, Osaro Okhomina
President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday that more than 80 per cent of his advisers have nothing to say.
The president who spoke in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, at a special funeral service for eight female politicians and their driver who died in a road accident on February 14, said this has been happening to him since his days as deputy governor of the state.
He stated this in reaction to Governor Seriake Dickson’s disclosure that he was advised against organising a state burial for the deceased.
Jonathan said, “I was surprised when the governor (of Bayelsa) said some people asked why state burial. I told the governor that more than 80 per cent of people who come to advise you have nothing to say, but just listen to them.
“From my experience as a deputy governor till today, more than 80 per cent (of advisers) have nothing to say, but you listen to everybody and do what is right for our people”.
Describing the day of the accident as a black day which coloured the landscape of Bayelsa with the worst colour, the president said, “We are here today because of the sad event of February 14. Of course, we lost eight of our best.
“To me, it is not just that people have died, not just that Bayelsans have died. But these are people I know too well. These nine caskets contain the remains of people who were dear to me, people that touched me in one way or the other.
“Whenever I remember February 14, which was supposed to be a Valentine’s Day, but a black day that coloured the landscape of Bayelsa State with the worst colour we could ever imagine. My ADC gave me the information and my PA showed me the flaming bus on a handset. I asked myself ‘how could these people be in this flame?’ And I asked God why?”
Jonathan continued: “When I saw that flame and imagined that these women were being burnt and roasted, I just couldn’t imagine. Till today, it gives me migraine. I lack words to console the direct family members.
“The world is a stage where we have all come to play our part and go. I believe they have played their own part. I plead we reason they died in this circumstance probably so that we learn to be a little more careful”.
The president asked people to be conscious of what would be said about them when they die.
He said, “In every nation, when so many people die at a time, it is taken as a national calamity, not to talk about a state. Members of the bereaved families, let me express my condolences to you. Your daughters and brothers have though passed on, but we remember them.
“And the most important thing is that at the day of your death, people will say positive things about you. Not the office you occupy. There are people that have occupied almost the biggest offices in the land, but people dance when they hear that they are gone”.
In her tribute, First Lady, Patience Jonathan who described the late female politicians as her faithful followers, lamented that she had lost her strong pillars of support.
Calling for calm in the state, she said, “Bayelsa State is a small state. I want everybody to live in peace. We should love one another. Let us put politics aside and live in peace and unity”.
In his own tribute, Dickson said February 14, 2015 would for ever remain dark in the minds of the people of Bayelsa State.