Bayelsa state governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, on Monday said the forthcoming governorship election in the state is not about the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but about the future of the state and the Ijaw nation as a whole.
He, therefore, urged the people to reject the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the November 16 Governorship election.
The Governor also asked the leader of the All Progressives Congress, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, to apologise to the people of Bayelsa for presenting an unelectable ticket to the people.I
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor to have made the call at the official opening of the PDP governorship campaign office/secretariat in Yenagoa on Monday.
Commercial activities were brought to halt along the busy Melford Okilo Road with the capital city on lockdown for hours as the rally attracted a mammoth crowd from across the eight local government areas of the state.
According to Dickson, the governorship poll is not only about Senator Douye Diri, the PDP flagbearer but about the entire Ijaw race.
The governor said that the APC has nothing to offer the people of the state and indeed the Ijaw nation as shown by the fact that the party which controls the centre had failed to attract any critical infrastructure to the state.
He said that the APC had only succeeded in promoting insecurity and instability in the communities of Bayelsa such as the sacking of Peremabiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and Bassambiri in Nembe Local Government Area.
His words: “The election is not about me but about the future of the state. Senator Douye Diri is a symbol of what we have to do to keep our state within the boundaries of sanity.
“Now, five years after, we know they have nothing to offer us in Bayelsa. Have they built any school, road, hospital, have they even built peace and security?I
“The only thing to show is the invasion of our communities, which have been destabilized.
“In Peremabiri, they handed over the community to Ogun Boss, who is setting up a campaign team. Nembe Bassambiri is ransacked and destabilised; law-abiding citizens are sacked and converted to Internally Displaced Persons. In Okpoama, old men and women are brought out and flogged.”
“Nobody should be perturbed, about party leaders defecting. They are leaving because of money and fake promises but the people are not with them. The APC doesn’t mean well even for the leaders who are leaving. The defeat APC will suffer will shock them.
“Today we are launching ‘Operation wind up the APC in Bayelsa.’ A government by the APC has grave implications and it is better imagined.”
While urging members of the PDP to remain steadfast, the governor stressed the significance of protecting the party’s platform, which he said had produced countless state and national political appointees including Vice president and president of the country.
Dickson, who expressed confidence in Senator Diri as a worthy successor, said he would personally chair the PDP campaign council just as Chief Timipre Sylva has emerged chairman of his party’s campaign organisation.
In his remarks, the PDP governorship candidate said the election would be a contest between those who are tested, committed and knowledgeable and those who are lacking in knowledge and values.
Senator Diri added that the oil companies who are operating in the Niger Delta were attempting to deepen their oppression and deprivation of the area by sponsoring their collaborators to attempt control of the structures of governance in the state.
Diri lamented also that the alliance of the Federal Government and oil firms had continually deprived the state and the Niger Delta region despite the immense contributions from the area.I
He stressed that when elected into office, his administration would give the deserved attention to the genuine aspirations of the people for better standards of existence and a just formula for resource allocation.
According to him, the Niger Delta had gone beyond the era of militancy and was in need of constructed engagement to be driven by competent leadership.
“We are demanding more allocation, a fairer process of revenue allocation. We want a governor that can communicate effectively and relate well with the international community. We are not going to communicate in Ijaw, and as we have always said, let the campaign be issue-based.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the state PDP, Mr Moses Cleopas, described the ticket of Senator Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor as experienced and tested with the capacity to deliver the dividends of democracy.
Mr Cleopas who also inaugurated the various campaign organs for the election, charged them to effectively mobilise people at the grassroots towards winning the governorship election.
In his acceptance speech as Director General of the PDP Campaign team, Dr Nimbofa Ayawei said the campaigns would be issue-based and expressed optimism that Bayelsans would elect the PDP Candidate is remains the best.
Dr Ayawei urged the party’s members and supporters to carry the message of the PDP to all nooks and crannies of the state to enable the party to achieve victory on the election day.