By: Comrade Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli
As the Bayelsa State Governorship Election that is scheduled for 11th November, 2023 draw closer, traditional and customary political permutations, alignments and realignments have started, same with critical x-ray and analysis of developments especially assessment of the candidates of the various political parties.
We hear and read many things by political observers, watchers and pundits in their assessment and analysis of the Douye Diri miracle and prosperity administration, but it is pertinent to know that the political DYNAMICS of 2019 is totally different from that of 2023.
For instance many Bayelsans and other residents who fought against Senator Douye Diri in 2019 never had any personal issue with him. Senator Douye Diri is a humble, simple, peaceful, accessible and very easy going person. He is a good listener and he is never ashamed to learn.
He never claims monopoly of knowledge and above all, he is very proactive. He acts the moment his attention is drawn to a situation and very importantly, he is compassionate. He also has the fear of God because of his upbringing by his father who was a very outstanding Christian, Elder and Leader in his Church before his death.
2019 Governorship was not just an ordinary election, rather it was a REVOLUTION. Bayelsans revolted against then incumbent Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson who ran Bayelsa State like his personal estate without respect for anyone including His Royal Majesty King Amalate Turner MFR; the Obigbo Mikimiki 1 and President Goodluck Jonathan GCON, GCFR who made him Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of Bayelsa State and two times member of the Federal House of Representatives before making him Governor.
The draconian leadership of Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson made Bayelsans and other residents to resolve to vote against his Candidate who was Senator Douye Diri. The 2019 election was beyond party sentiments, many PDP members voted protest votes to express their dissatisfaction with the then system.
GOV. DOUYE DIRI AND THE NEW ORDER
Today, all the sentiments that people held against PDP during the 2019 election have disappeared into thin air because of the all inclusive system of governance of Gov. Douye Diri.
Very quickly, I wish to highlight some notable areas that he has scored very high.
1. RESTORATION OF CONFIDENCE AND DIGNITY OF BAYELSANS
At the inception of our contemporary democracy in 1999, Bayelsa State was one of the states that Nigerians wanted to visit during the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha administration. Businessmen and Contractors trooped into the state in search of opportunities.
It was difficult to differentiate between Receptionists, Directors and even Permanent Secretaries in Ministries because all civil servants were looking good and well fed. Things were working smoothly.
The above continued during the shortlived Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration and even that of Chief Timipre Sylva CON but all that changed during the Henry Seriake Dickson administration.
Bayelsans were reduced to shadows of themselves. Hunger was used as Instrument of control, same way businesses of perceived opponents were frustrated and crumbled. Many businesses including those of Igbos who persevere and thrive in difficult environments.
Bayelsans over time lost their humanity, dignity and self-esteem beside the then heightened insecurity with members of the opposition who slept with one eye closed because of fear of the unknown as the highest victims.
The absence of street lights and deafening darkness that prevailed in the nights finally took away everything that was left in Bayelsans especially residents of Yenagoa and it’s environ.
But today, the above are now in the past, the positive disposition of Gov. Douye Diri, the lightening up of the whole of Yenagoa and it’s environ and the all inclusive system of governance of Gov Douye Diri has restored the confidence, dignity and self-esteem of Bayelsans.
2. THRIVING OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
Years ago, commodities as simple as Sachet Water were not produced in Bayelsa State. They were brought into the state by vendors in neighbouring states.
P.A Water was one of the household names. There were stories of bad soil and other factors that didn’t allow water business and others to thrive.
But the story has changed today. Water factories, bread bakeries and other businesses are everywhere because Gov. Douye Diri has created the enabling environment for businesses to thrive thereby creating employments for Bayelsans.
I arrived Yenagoa some time ago in the evening and wanted to buy food before checking into my hotel and I was shocked. I visited three different Eateries and they were all filled as if there was festival.
I had to ask jokingly at the third eatery whether our people no longer cook at home, but the truth is that monies are in circulation and businesses are moving as evidenced in the beauty of several business outlets, each trying to package their environments very well to attract customers because of the ongoing very healthy competitions.
3. RESTORATION OF PEACE AND STABILITY
Bayelsans will not forget in a hurry how unsecured the state was even during the last administration.
Gunshots and killings were daily occurrences. Bayelsans especially members of the opposition slept with one eye open because of fear of the unknown, but all that are now things of the past.
Gov. Douye Diri has successfully restored peace and stability to the state to the extent that Bayelsa State is no longer in the news for bad reasons.
Bayelsa State is one of the most peaceful and secured states in the country today because of the body language of Gov. Douye Diri and his zero tolerance for crime and criminality.
As at today, there is no celebrated known cultist or criminal as against the then prevalent realities where known cultists and criminals were blocking roads, blaring siren, harassing and intimidating Bayelsans.
May Bayelsa State never return to that ugly era again.
Gov. Douye Diri has put in place adequate and very efficient community policing system to ensure adequate security of all towns and villages in the state.
The joint operation by all the security agencies in the state is also yielding unimaginable positive results.
5. UNITY OF BAYELSANS AND THE IJAW NATION
Few years ago, fly that patched on members of APC could not go close to PDP and vice versa.
Brothers and friends in different political parties avoided themselves in the public to avoid labeling and subsequent choking.
Members of PDP were barred and banned from patronizing businesses of members of opposition. Government appointees and officials who violated the above were choked and sanctioned.
Sabotage of businesses of opponents was one of the tools that was used to checkmate political opponents. Today, Gov. Douye Diri does believe or encourage this retrogressive mindset. Gov. Douye Diri even gives more attention to members of the opposition.
The Governor has successfully reunited Bayelsans and the Ijaw Nation.
He has strengthened Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) which are the two umbrella bodies of the Ijaw Nation. Despite his adequate funding of these two most revered groups, he does not dictate or interfere in their activities.
He does not believe in witch hunt of Bayelsans.
6. WORTHY REPRESENTATION OF THE IJAW NATION
Bayelsa State is the only homogeneous Ijaw State and by extension the home and headquarters of Ijaw people all over the world.
Because of the symbolism and sensitivity of Bayelsa State to the Ijaw Nation, the person of the Governor of Bayelsa State is very important to the whole Ijaw Nation.
So far, Gov. Douye Diri is doing well as a worthy Ambassador of the Ijaw Nation.
He does not have characters or traits that bring disgrace or dishonour to the Ijaw Nation. He is eloquent, articulate, vibrant and very organized. He carries himself with so much humility and confidence.
7. CONTINUATION AND COMPLETION OF PROJECTS OF HIS SUCCESSORS
Instead of abandoning projects that were started by his predecessors, Gov. Douye Diri has continued with them. He has completed some, while executing others.
Gov. Douye Diri is doing very well in terms of human capital and infrastructural developments even though there is room for improvement.
If he could achieve so much within three (3) years in government, he will definitely do more when he wins his second term.
8. GOVERNORSHIP ZONING
Bayelsa State experienced so much political instability with the impeachment of Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, the shortlived Dr Goodluck Jonathan administration and that of Chief Timipre Sylva that was denied a second term Ticket.
But the successful completion of two terms by Senator Henry Seriake Dickson who represented the Slot/Turn of Bayelsa West Senatorial District has helped to stabilize and deepen zoning and rotational governance in the state.
The Office of the Governor has shifted to Bayelsa Central where it started in 1999 with Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha.
It is rational to allow and also support Gov. Douye Diri who is representing the Slot/Turn of Bayelsa Central Senatorial District to complete the two terms of the Senatorial District so that the Office of the Governor will move automatically to Bayelsa East Senatorial District for two terms of four(4) each like those of Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central Senatorial Districts.
Truncating this arrangement may throw Bayelsa State into another round of political instability instead of consolidating on the peace, stability and development that Bayelsans are enjoying today courtesy of Gov. Douye Diri.
9. PROMOTION OF SPORTS
Gov. Douye Diri’s appointment of Hon. Baralatei Daniel Igali; an international Wrestling Champion and the adequate funding of Sports in Bayelsa State has positioned Bayelsa State as one of the most outstanding states in Sports.
The state has won many laurels in Sports because of the great sports men and women the government has engaged and the adequate funds it is committing to it.