Celebrating Bayelsa State ‘Creek Haven’ Helmsman, His Excellency Senator Douye Diri
There is no gainsay that as at June 4, 2020, when I decided to write this piece, the various access routes namely land, sea and air leading to the Government House at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State would have been besieged with gridlock while playing host to party faithful, Clergy, close associates, PDP Governor’s Forum, Leaders of Thought, National Assembly members (Senators and members of the House of Representatives), Councils of Traditional Rulers from the Niger Delta region, Elder Statesmen, Critical Stakeholders, Business moguls and a retinue of friends and relations.
But the COVID-19 Government protocols held it back a little, making the celebrations to go low key on virtual conferencing, electronic and print media and social media devoid of our traditional fanfare of throwing party in the open glare in a preponderated number.
Your Excellency Sir I bring you once more my heart pouring felicitations on your miraculous emergence at the instance of the Supreme Court judgement on February 14, 2020, and your subsequent swearing in as Governor of Bayelsa State. This, unequivocally, underscores the fact that your choice to govern the state was divinely premeditated. In no doubt, your success story has been able to reecho the biblical injunction that” promotion comes from God.” This dramatic turnaround in your life also brings to spotlight that leaders are anointed and made by God and not by the proverbial “God fathers,” that has become like a disease in Nigerian political landscape.
Before your swearing in as Governor of Bayelsa State, it is interesting to note Your Excellency that you had held several key positions. You were a onetime Publicity Secretary of Ijaw National Congress (INC) Director, Commissioner of Sports, Principal Secretary, member of the House of Representatives representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma-Opokuma Federal Constituency for two terms and also for less than a year you held sway as Senator in the Red Chamber (Bayelsa Central) senatorial district at the National Assembly, and later threw your hat in the ring to contest the governorship of Bayelsa State. The beautiful chronicle of your political and leadership stewardship is predicated on the fact that your becoming the Governor of Bayelsa State was not over night, but in view of your preparedness hinged on the dint of hard work.
Your Excellency, upon the ground breaking Supreme Court ruling against the suit filed by the APC seeking for a review by the Apex Court having declared you Governor, in which the Apex Court reaffirmed in its landmark judgement that the Supreme Court Judgement is sacrosanct and that the Apex Court cannot reverse itself while granting press interview in Abuja in your joyous mood to celebrate the judgement, you made bold before the media that your government will be that of inclusiveness beyond party lines and that you will appoint competent hands from the opposition as members of your cabinet, to further advance your cause as a detribalised personality, and that the prosperity government will bring democratic dividends to all Bayelsans, devoid of party lines, colouration and affiliation. We appreciate your Excellency “ijawness” beyond politics and primordial sentiments.
Your Excellency, we are glad that you have commenced reconciliatory move immediately while extending the olive branch to bring back to the fold aggrieved fellow contestants who defected from the party having been disenchanted by misgivings that characterised the last primary election that produced you as the party flag bearer. We laud your magnanimity, maturity, sportsmanship in this renewed thinking and orientation of yours.
As the fifth democratically elected Governor of Bayelsa State, we are left in no doubt that you will surpass the achievements of your predecessors while pursuing critical government policies and blueprints that will help largely to galvanise impactful leadership and governance that will in return engender development in the state. You have started well by initiating legacy projects that will attract the dividends of democracy to the people within your core mandate.
Government, they say, is in continuum and as an avowed public servant, we are hopeful all the outstanding projects of the Restoration Government led by your predecessor, Chief Henry Seriake Dickson will be completed in order not to give room for any gap in developmental projects, across the Local Government Areas.
There is no gain say that as a quintessential administrator, you will defy the old order of politicians doing the work alone ,as there is urgent need for you to shop for technocrats and very experienced hands in the constitution of your cabinet as commissioners, Advisers, Helmsmen of the various departments, boards and agencies in the state. Governance, this time around, we strongly hope will be an affair of the thorough bred and those with requisite skills, knowledge and expertise with a view to making your tenure a historic, resounding, second to none and above all adjudged as the best Governor ever in the history of our dear state, Bayelsa.
Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria when the index case was recorded in Lagos, by not mincing words, Your Excellency, you demonstrated capacity by embarking on proactive measures and insights by putting in place very robust measures by shutting down the borders, placing interstate restrictions and later narrowing it down to curfew with a view to containing the spread of the dreaded virus to the state. Your promptness in equipping the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital with the state of the art medical infrastructure, and making it as both government approved testing and isolation centres, in no small measure, again exemplified your people centered and health conscious leadership. Upon the recording of the first index case in the state, you were not caught napping in view of far reaching measures already propagated, in line with the protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to keep in containment, notwithstanding the index case.
On behalf of my beautiful family and the good people of Bayelsa State most especially the wonderful people of Toru Orua town where I come from, I bring to you goodwill message on the occasion of your birthday, and we pray for God’s protection upon you and your family, as you steer the ship of governance at the “Creek Haven”.
Your Excellency, I hereby join all men of goodwill to wish you ever flourishing health and do accept my highest assurances on this historic moment of your life.
*Apereseimokomo Alfred, is a University of Lagos trained philosopher and socio-political analyst (Mobile: 08037115473. Email: email@example.com)