Einstein Oribo is a former chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Bayelsa State, a former Senior Special Assistant to governor Dickson on Mobilization and now national coordinator, None APC Vanguard for David Lyon, a.k.a, Who Grammar Help? In this telephone interview with JOHN ODHE, he speaks of what David Lyon stands for and why he wants him as governor of Bayelsa State.
What does your group stand for?
It is a political organization that is saddled with the responsibility of working with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to liberate and salvage Bayelsa from the shackles of poverty; from the gross darkness we have experienced for the past eight years, from incessant disrespect and disregard for ljaw elders, from bad roads, tyrannical and autocratic government and mismanagement of public funds. There are so many non APC people in Bayelsa state but they love the person of David Lyon for his humility and peaceful disposition. We also want to liberate Bayelsans from being a civil servant state to the real sense of an oil producing state. Even in the civil service, we don’t have high ranking officers from Bayelsa state. How come suddenly we have assumed the position of civil servants state? That is why we are partnering the APC to enthrone David Lyon because of his antecedents. We have taken this decision for one single reason. Bayelsans have suffered a lot. Bayelsans have passed through hell in the past eight years in the hands of one man. He fails to realize that even in the law profession, he wasn’t the best. He has refused to understand that there are people called elders. One man has refused to know that there is what we call public funds and not a law firm funds.
What do you mean by that?
At the time the governor was practicing his law profession, nobody disturbed him for funds because he was running his private business. Now that he is a governor, through the magnanimity and good will of the people of Bayelsa state, he should know that he is in charge of public funds. We are faced with a situation where public fund is now being referred to as ‘my money’. This group says know to such administrative tyranny. We are all aware when this government came in. They came up with the idea of Bayelsa Investment Company and billions of naira that Bayelsas know of went into it. All of a sudden, no one heard of the investment company again. These are the reasons this group has aligned ourselves with David Lyon to say leaders must be acceptable to the people. We need to know where the funds for the Bayelsa investment team went to. The task before us is to make sure that those people who are not members of APC spotlight the person of David Lyon and support him to make sure we end the suffering of Bayelsa state. That is the number one objective of the group.
You nickname your organization “Who Grammar Helped?” What does it mean?
The reason is because we have come to understand that the PDP does not have anything against the candidacy of David Lyon other than to resort to the cheap blackmail that he is not fluent in English. If the PDP had wanted to field the best English speakers as their governorship candidate, we all know those who are very good at that; They should have gone for the likes of Dr. Boladei Igali, Timi Alaibe, Ben Bruce and others so that Bayelsans will know that we are going for English competition. But for them to resort to choosing Douye Diri and still be talking about grammar, you now see the desperation of one man to impose his choice on Bayelsans. The big grammar we have been hearing for the past close to eight years, have we converted them to good roads? The big grammar that they have been using to deceive our parents for eight years, has it put food on our table? Has the grammar paid civil servants salaries and gratuities to our retired parents most of whom have died out of frustrations? Has grammar awarded scholarships and paid bursary to our students? Has it reduced to school fees in NDU? Has the grammar removed the thick darkness covering Yenagoa? That is why this group is saying that it is not about speaking English.
As an Ogbia man, why do you choose to work against the party of former president Goodluck Jonathan who is a political father to the Ogbia people and Bayelsans in general?
I am a full blown Ogbia man. If you can recall, the government of government Dickson was made possible by Goodluck Jonathan who is highly respected internationally. You are aware that the UN just honoured him with an international appointment recently. That is the kind of man we are talking about. But we have come to see a man that does not have regard for such a person. Probably, Dickson is one of those who would see someone who has grown far beyond his level and become jealous. In fact, this is one of the reasons that invoked our anger to form this group. Goodluck is a man who is respected in the whole world. So, we see no reason why an individual should disrespect such a person.
lf you mobilize against the PDP and it loses at the polls, will it not be a disgrace to Jonathan?
What Bayelsans need is good roads, what Bayelsans need is good schools and affordable school fees. Our retirees who have put in 35 years of service need to go home with their retirement benefits. These are the things Goodluck Jonathan stands for. The political party is just a vehicle. If the candidate of the APC wins and imbibe those developmental principles that Jonathan believes in, he will be happy with the APC. If David Lyon comes in and says his political ambition is not worth the blood of any Bayelsan, Jonathan will be happy with the APC. If APC comes in and begin to construct roads and make school fees affordable in Bayelsa, Jonathan will be a happy man. Jonathan can never be more embarrassed than the way he has been embarrassed in Bayelsa state. He has faced the highest form of humiliation. All of us have roots from the PDP but the question remains, how many square meals has the PDP been able to put on the table for Bayelsans? Must we continue to talk about PDP while our people continue to leave in fear, darkness and die in abject poverty? By six ‘o clock in the evening you see people hurriedly locking their doors as if we are in war zone. Even filling stations are not left out. They also lock their filling stations for fear of being attacked. It hasn’t been this bad in the history of our state. The only thing that will make Goodluck Jonathan happy is respect for the rule of law and good governance.
The leaders of the PDP have always said that it is the only party of the ljaw people, are you objecting that claim?
As Bayelsans, l have always believed that the Ogbia, Nembe, Epie people are all ljaws. It is this government that brought the issue of core-ljaw and none core-ljaw. If the PDP is an ljaw party, why is it not feeding her ljaw children? Is it not good to make a friend that will feed you than to have a brother that will starve and impoverish you? I can tell you, there is no ljaw party. The AD where the governor came from to join the PDP, was it also an ljaw party? The persons at the helm of affairs in the PDP, are they all Ijaw people?
Recently, the governor described the candidate of the APC and his running mate as a pair of criminals and cultists, what’s your reaction?
I am not surprised. This one is even mild that he said it to younger persons like David Lyon and Degi. He has been hauling worse insult at very senior citizens of Bayelsa State. What time in Bayelsa have we experienced insecurity as it is now? So, who are the real criminals and cultists? What can be more criminal than where eleven to fourteen billion naira are coming to a state monthly and nobody sees it? If you calculate an average of ten billion naira monthly income to the state, you will find out that he has collected over two trillion naira for the past eight years.