Euphoria of Jonathan’s Return Ebbs In Otuoke, As Residents Laments One-Year Darkness

imageResidents of Otuoke, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s hometown in Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, are angry.

Their anger is not over the electoral defeat suffered by their ambassador. It is because Dr. Jonathan finished his presidency without solving the electricity crisis in the community.

The former President returned to his country home on May 29 after handing over the reins of government to Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated him in the March 28 presidential election.

Yesterday, during a visit to the community, the hype and the euphoria that heralded the home-coming of Dr. Jonathan as a worthy ambassador, were ebbing.

Traces and evidence of the reception the people accorded their worthy son, stared visitors in the face. The stacks of plastic chairs used for the thanksgiving church service on Sunday were seen in the premises of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church.

An imposing statue of the former President with an inscription: “We honour you the hero of democracy” stood at the entrance of Jonathan’s palatial home.

Visitors were still milling around the gate to the expensive courtyard to have a glimpse of where the former President will live a quiet life after a five-year sojourn as a tenant in the Presidential Villa. Most of them were stranded as security operatives denied them access into the inner court.

Those struggling to enter the compound included a group of youths from Nasarawa State.

The youths, who came under the aegis of Nasarawa State PDP Youths, said they came to pay a courtesy visit to the former President, but lamented that they had been trying in vain for two days to see him.

Led by Atia A. Atia, the youths were seen sitting on a concrete pavement close to the building.

“We came to pay him a courtesy visit. We campaigned for him vigorously. Though he lost, we thought it wise to come and greet him. But for two days now, we have been unable to see him,” Atia said.

Some Ijaw leaders and freelance journalists appeared stranded at the gate as they tried to convince security operatives to allow them in.

Security around the building was still tight, though the personnel were not as stern-looking as they used to be when Dr. Jonathan was in office.

Mobile policemen in three trucks were still keeping vigil around the building. They hung their clothes and personal effects on a truck.

The patrol vans of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield and other security vehicles, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) belonging to the military, were stationed near the building.

Workers were putting finishing touches to some of the structures within the sprawling compound.

The fence was being redesigned and remodelled by a firm, Kakatar Ce.

But, Otuoke was gradually shedding off the euphoria associated with Jonathan’s return.

A 6pm yesterday, the policemen hopped into the trucks and left, saying they had completed their assignment.

The primary concern of villagers was the darkness that pervaded their community.

A resident, who pleaded for anonymity, said: “The situation has been worse since the President returned. On Friday when he came back, there was light but it only lasted for few hours.

“After the light went off since Saturday morning, we have not seen it again. We have been in darkness since this year. Before now, they only brought light each time the President visited and took it whenever he left.

“But since he came back finally, we have not had light. It is unfortunate because we expected our kinsman to address this problem before returning home. How does he feel knowing that we are in darkness while he is enjoying light in his compound?”

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