The re-election ambition of Senator Douye Diri received a major boost on Tuesday when former members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly filed out to drum support for the governor. Among them were known strong allies of Chief Timpre Sylva, the APC candidate for the November election, including a former speaker, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu.
In fact, it was Seibarugu who seconded the motion for the endorsement of the second term of the governor. A few weeks ago, Sylva was said to have visited Seibarugu to seek his support ahead of the election, but an angry Seibarugu was said to have told him that he was not disposed to working for him because the former governor did not care about some of them when he was in a position to do so.
It was the same reason that another very close ally of Sylva, Israel Goli, immediate past member of the House of Reps gave, when he decided to walk out on Sylva, choosing to pitch tent with Diri.
Most of the lawmakers who visited and endorsed Diri on Tuesday were close allies of Sylva. A lot of them had worked for and supported the APC during the 2019 elections, which the party won, even though the Supreme Court upturned it and gave victory to the PDP, because of the then running mate of David Lyon, the APC candidate.
A former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dr. Boyelayefa Debekeme, moved the governor’s endorsement. The forum draws membership from current members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking at the visit, chairman of the ex-legislators forum, Chief Robert Enogha commended what he called Diri’s exemplary leadership style, which he said had engendered peace, stability and development of the state since his assumption of office in February 2020.
Enogha, who was Chairman, House Committee on Sports, said the forum appreciates the impactful developmental efforts of the governor’s Prosperity Administration across the state.
His words: “Nobody can contradict the fact that you are indeed a Miracle Governor. You are magnanimous in your disposition. You carry everyone along in your government and that is why we are proud of you.
“We are not a pressure group that fights government but we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of a government like yours.
“We must place on record that you have a large heart and that is why you brought a good number of our members on board your government. You have pulled out over 15 of our active members such as the Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, Dr. Gentle Emelah, Commissioner for Education and Dr. Peter Akpe, the acting Chief of Staff, Government House and many others.”
The forum also commended the Diri administration for collaborating with security agencies to sustain the prevailing peace and security in the state. They however requested the governor’s intervention for issuance of Certificate of Occupancy on its allocated eight plots of land to facilitate the ownership and construction of a legislative research centre and guest house.
Diri, in response, expressed appreciation to the forum for the endorsement, noting that it would spur him to do more for the state, saying “we need all hands to be on deck to tackle our developmental challenges. We need to take our destiny in our hands to conquer our environment.”
Diri assured the forum that he would look into their appeal and see how government would engage more of their members to tap into their wealth of experience.
He directed the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to facilitate the issuing of the Certificate of Occupancy and waive other forms of payment for the land.
The governor equally directed the Director of Protocol to update and upgrade the protocol list of all former legislators at both state and national levels, former ministers from the state as well as former commissioners.
Some fo those who visited were Chief Prosper Nwaguzo, Dr. Ebi Komonibo, Vivien Ere, Charles Emmanuel and B.Z.l Oniye, Boulus Indiamaowei, Target Segibo, Kenigbolo Ogilivie, Archbishop Alex Eseimokumo, Amakiri Etebu, Chief Augustus Osomu, Waripamo Dudafa and Aaron Alokpa.
Also in attendance were Jonathan Obuebite, Angus Dida, Ebamua Empere, Kuroakegha Dorgu, Obiene Iniobio, Parkinson Mac-Manuel, Watson Belemote, David Obuma, Dr. Odiyovwi Osusu, Dein Binadoumene and Imomotimi Fanama.