By Shedrack Frank
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa’s second term bid has received the backing of prominent Ijaw leaders of thought, including the Bayelsa Elders Council among others.
The leaders spoke at an interactive session organised by a socio-political group, Friends of Douye Diri (FSDD), at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa on Wednesday.
The Pioneer President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Joshua Fumudoh, said Diri is a product of the Ijaw struggle who had seen it all and translated his passion for the Ijaw nation into development and transformation of the only homogeneous Ijaw state.
Fumudoh asserted that there is a clear difference between those who fought the Ijaw cause and others whose ambition is for personal gains.
He stressed that the state now witnesses politics without bitterness because the true Ijaw man accommodates all irrespective of political differences.
Wife of former River governor, Ethel Diete-Spiff, commended the governor for breaking boundaries in executing landmark projects, particularly the Nembe-Brass road and urged him not to relent.
Also, a member of the Bayelsa Creation/Founding Fathers Forum, Prof. Ayebaemi Spiff, who commended the governor for his impactful developmental strides also poured her motherly blessings on Diri.
She prayed that the Nembe-Brass road is completed in due time so she could drive on it before she dies.
Chairman of the occasion and leader of the Bayelsa Elders Council, retired Rear Adm. Gboribiogha John-Jonah, described the Nov. 11 date of the Bayelsa governorship election as a symbolic day for victory.
John-Jonah, who is the immediate past deputy of the state, traced the date, 11:11, back to 1918 when the peace accord between Germany and the Allied Forces was signed, and called it the armistice day.
He said with the coming together of the founding fathers of Bayelsa and past leaders of the INC in support of Diri’s second term bid, victory was assured.
He noted that as elders and leaders of the Ijaw nation, they would not fold their arms and allow cultists, deceivers and pretenders to take over the state, adding that Bayelsa had made tremendous progress under Diri and was not ready to go back to the dark days.
John-Jonah, who described the governor as his brother and friend, said Diri is the agent of change that has taken the state out of darkness.
In his response, Gov. Diri thanked the leaders, elders and founding fathers of the Ijaw nation for honouring him with their endorsement, stating that they had been his pillar of support since he assumed office and that without them; he would not have achieved much.
Diri said he had always enjoyed the company of the Bayelsa Elders Council and the Founding Fathers Forum, attending their meetings from time to time to seek counsel and stressed that this had helped shape his decision to do more for the people.
He said, “This group (FSDD), to my mind, has the fathers, mothers, leaders and elders of the Ijaw nation. If you look at the array of personalities here, most of them had served the Ijaw nation in the old Rivers and were even in the battle for the creation of Rivers. So they have seen it all.
“The symbolic statements by those who have spoken, you will agree with me that they did not just speak from their human perspective. So, I like to thank you my fathers, mothers, elders and leaders.
“Without you, we could not have recorded the little we have achieved within these three years and still counting. You have been a pillar of support in several ways,” he said.
The governor agreed with the speakers that the state could not change a winning team as all the gains of his administration would be neglected by the opposition due to their anti-people agenda.
He averred that having traversed the length and breadth of Ijawland, his primary objective is to write his name in gold before leaving the office after eight years.
In his welcome address, President of the Friends of Sen. Douye Diri, Bodi Arerebo, said the mission of the group is to promote the goals of the Diri administration and that of the Ijaw nation.
Arerebo said having carried out an overall assessment of the administration, he discovered that relative peace, political tolerance, passionate development and non-existence of political thuggery and violence are his hallmark and that these necessitated the group’s endorsement of the governor for a second term. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Julius Toba-Jegede