Odonbadei Suokiri, a lawyer from Kolokuma/Opokuma spoke with EDITH CHUKU on the political intrigues in Bayelsa State and why he believes in the aspiration of Timi Alaibe.
Apart from the fact that Ndutimi Alaibe is an Opokuma son, what other reasons made you opt for him?
Growing up in a community that had no light, no water and no road, the continued buzzing sound of caterpillars from the deep forests, east of Government Secondary School, Asoama, along the serene banks of the Nun River gave all of us hope that in the not too distant future, we would be going to school on motorable roads. This was in the early eighties, what is now called KOLGA had a very fair share of ‘big’ and influential men littered all over the then Rivers state and the country. The road project ended with the buzzing sounds and our hopes were dashed. I spent five years in Asoama without the least of modern facilities. For over two decades, we lived without any modern facility and no hope of one. Then this young man, Ndutimi Alaibe from nowhere came on stage. He was then the executive director, finance and administration, NDDC. I was already a lawyer. Sometime in 2003, I travelled to Lagos for a course that kept me in Lagos for almost six months. On my return from Lagos in 2004, my community was agog with cars. Like a miracle, I drove straight to my community to the admiration and cheers of the young, the old and everybody. I do not hide my leanings; I earnestly wish Alaibe becomes our next governor. I strongly believe he’s the key to Bayelsa’s breakthrough; he is a selfless leader, one whose increase in wealth is barely marginal and commensurate to his lawful earnings. These challenges, insecurity, poverty, corruption, will all just burst and disappear like bubbles when we get selfless leaders, as a littoral state. Our ocean advantages and resources are hugely vast and limitless; only discerning and well meaning leaders like Ndutimi Alaibe can see them and key in. Blue economy, a massive revolution for Bayelsa and wealth for all of us. I sail with the principal; a victory for Ndutimi Alaibe is a victory for Niger Delta. I will be happy if any Kolokuma/Opokuma aspirant becomes the governor but I will celebrate Bayelsa if Ndutimi Alaibe wins. Timi Alaibe and NDDC did for us what all the ‘big’ and influential men could not do for over two decades. Today Okoloba/Sabagreia can boast as one of the communities in Bayelsa with the most beautiful road networks.
Elections in Bayelsa State are usually characterized with violence. How do you see the upcoming governorship election?
A couple of years back, a Nigerian medical doctor based in the USA came to Nigeria and decided to visit the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital for some firsthand comparative analysis. After seeing the comparatively sorry state of the hospital and its facilities, he remarked; ‘These people are not practicing medicine here, they are doing voodooism’. Yesterday, I drove round Yenagoa and saw posters of other aspirants taking over the very spots from where Ndutimi Alaibe’s posters were removed and I remembered what that doctor said: Nigerian politicians don’t practice politics, they do African witchcraft. We are very hopeful for a peaceful election, we are, hoping and praying.
Dickson is yet to announce his anointed aspirant. What does that mean to you?
His Excellency, Governor Dickson Seriake was my boss, my direct boss. If he says no anointed aspirant, well, I earnestly believe him and we can only wait for him to name that anointed aspirant. All we pray, long and seek is for Bayelsa and Nigeria at large to have true leaders, When a bag of rice will return to 8,000 naira, a litre of fuel for N97. When this happens, know that a Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela has come into leadership and that’s why we need Ndutimi Alaibe.
Don’t you think Alaibe’s victory will be complete injustice to the PDP faithful who remained in the party while he defected?
Even Dickson had been in some other party during the difficult and formative stage of the party. He crossed over and became a huge beneficiary of the party, a very large percentage of PDP members had defected at one time or the other. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Timi Alaibe has done well, Bayelsans need him to come and do more.