Mrs. Charity Kens Goodwin is the candidate of the Rebuild Nigeria Party (RNP) for the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State slated for November 16, 2019. A mother of four, Mrs. Goodwin is a native of Foropa community in Southern Ijaw Local government area of the state. In this interview with JOHN ODHE, the female gubernatorial candidate expressed the hope that all odds would work in her favour. She promised that her salary would be given to widows and orphans.
As wife of a pastor, why did you join politics?
I have a passion for politics. I derived the guts to join politics from the Almighty God. As you can see, from the inception of Bayelsa state, only the men have been governing the state. One question that keeps running through my mind is ‘are women not important when it comes to decision making in the state?’ Women are not always pronounced; it has been all men affairs. But I said to myself that women are also important because they are the backbone of the men. When you have women in governance, you will definitely get results because women are home and nation builders. That is why, being supported by my husband and members of my family, l decided to join the governorship race because l believe in myself and I am confident that l will win. I am very sure that all the women will vote for me.
Do you know you have bigger and stronger political giants to contend with?
I am not perturbed. Goliath in the Bible was a giant but it was little David that defeated him. I believe that God will use those people you refer to as giants to work in my favour. Those so-called big political parties should have a rethink and work for the emergence of a female governor this time, who will make the state proud.
What do you have in mind to do for the people of Bayelsa state?
Even before now, l have been running a charity organization, reaching out to the orphans and widows. In my first one hundred days in office as governor, l will donate my salary to the widows. I also have plans to take our teaming youths off the streets through industrialization where many of our young graduates will be engaged while the uneducated will undergo skills acquisition trainings. This is the only sure way to reduce crime rate in the state. There are also many tourism potentials in the state that we shall harness to create jobs. In the area of education, l will have special preference for the females. I am also a female, so, l know what the girl child is passing through. Therefore, there will be no school fees for all female students who want to go to school. Writing of WAEC will also be free for all students of Bayelsa state origin. We are going to make education very easy and accessible for every Bayelsa student. Payment of gratuities and pensions will be things of priority in our government. There is no way our parents who have served the state for 35 years will not be paid their statutory entitlements. We will clear whatever amount that government is owing them and ensure prompt payment of civil servants’ salaries. At least, 28th of every month, all civil servants will receive their alert. None payment of salaries makes workers go borrowing. I am going to arrange a special loan facility with very low interest for all civil servants so that they can build their own houses and drive their own cars.
As a female candidate, how do you intend to contend with electoral violence during the election?
Electoral violence, especially against female politicians, is an ugly phenomenon which must be dealt with headlong. This is where the security agencies have a crucial role to play. Those who perpetrate electoral violence should know that violence does not pay. I believe that this time, we will not be so harassed anymore.
Do you have the financial wherewithal to prosecute a governorship election in an era where vote buying has become a norm?
We have also seen situations where people who were having so much money lost elections. I remember the case of Tonye Isenah. In the beginning of his political career, he contested against PDP with a healthier candidate. At last, Isenah won the election against all odds. The rich man lost to the poor man. In my own case too, all of those Goliath, the strong men that are having the cash; that cash is for me. They will use it for a woman this time. The electorate will definitely collect the money and they will use it to vote for me because Bayelsans need a woman this time. If you look at what happened at the APC primary election, a woman came second after David Lyon. That is to tell you that the people are clamouring for a woman’s leadership.
If peradventure, oil price drops and we slide into another round of recession, there would be a drop in the federal allocation to the state, how will you be able to implement your policies?
The only problem of our past and the present governments is the over dependence on oil revenue. My government will focus more on diversification of the state economy through agriculture and tourism. We will partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other relevant bodies to enable us establish rice farms in all the local government areas of the state. That is why we are going to ensure that roads get to all our rural communities so that our local farmers can have access to marketing their farm produce. We are going to give soft loans to the real farmers in our rural villages, not political and portfolio farmers, to encourage food production.
Are there some policies of the governor Seriake Dickson led administration that you will like to consolidate on?
The governor has done hid bit. In the areas of education and road infrastructure, l would say he has done well. As we all know, government is a continuum. One thing that is expedient is that every project awarded by government is being executed with tax payers money. Therefore, it is unwise for any government to abandoned projects started by successive administrations. As far as l am concerned, l will not abandon any project that was started by previous administrations.