Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Warman Ogoriba is a two-time member of the House of Representatives representing Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa Federal Constituency from 2007 to 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ogoriba from Odi community left the PDP in 2015 and team up with other notable politicians in the state to make the All Progressive Congress (APC) viable in Bayelsa State. He backed the governorship ambition of former governor Timipre Sylva in 2015 but holds a different view that another candidate should fly the party’s flag in 2019.
He was appointed recently as the Director-General of the Lokpobiri Campaign Organisation (LCO). He speaks on why the immediate past minister of state for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri is the ideal candidate for the APC in the 2019 Bayelsa governorship election.
There is the general view that APC cannot win election in Bayelsa, what do you think?
I don’t agree with such view. That kind of statement from the opposition is unfounded and they are not being truthful to themselves. If APC does not have capacity, we would not have one Senate seat and two seats in the House of Representatives. Even in the presidential election we had more than 30 percent. I think it is very wrong to hold that view and the ruling party in the state is not saying the truth.
The allegation was that APC wrote the result of the election using federal might.
If the electorate are the federal might then I would agree. What we know today is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued us certificates of return. So for us in APC we won the election the same way they also won other seats. Even the ones they won are in the tribunal because we also accused them of writing the results.
Senator Lokpobiri was DG governorship campaigns in 2015 and the party failed and now he wants to be on the ballot, can APC withstand the Dickson force?
Well, 2015/2016 is not 2019. New things have happened. There is paradigm shift in APC. In 2015 he was not on the ballot but in 2019 he would be on the ballot and I believe Bayelsans are wiser. Bayelsans want to embrace APC; all they seek is that we should bring a candidate they can trust, somebody they can depend on. Bayelsans are suffering and it is showing on everybody’s face. There is no economic, no development, the government is based on propaganda. Lokpobiri has the capacity to win election.
Is your camp not bothered by the seeming silence of former governor, Timipre Sylva’s camp?
What is happening in former governor’s camp is not our concern. We are focus on what we are doing which is to make Heineken Lokpobiri the standard bearer of the party and go ahead to win the governorship election. We are not bothered. APC is one big family and at the right time and at the appropriate we would meet and discuss.
The story is that Lokpobiri is gunning for the governorship ticket after he failed to get commitment to be reappointed as minister. Is that true?
If you know Senator Lokpobiri by following his political history from 1999 when he was Speaker, you would know he is not a man that pretends over issues. He is serious minded and focused man that knows what he wants. He said it very clear recently in an interview that he told the president he does not want to be minister because he wants to run for governor of Bayelsa State. He is focused on what he wants.
What about the issue of zoning since Lokpobiri is from the same senatorial district of the incumbent governor?
Each time people talk about zoning, I wonder where this comes from. I have also been around the political scene for a while and I know there is nowhere Bayelsans sat down to zone the governorship to one zone. If you know how Alamieyeseigha became governor, it was not zoned. Alamieyeseigha contested with Doukpola. After Alamieyeseigha, Goodluck became governor, and then Chief Timipre Sylva became governor then Dickson. All the senatorial districts have taken their turns. Aside that there is no where Bayelsans as a people sat down to say the governorship should be rotated. Nobody discussed that. At every point in time that we have had governorship election every other zone contested, so it is not about zoning. What we are saying now is that let the best person govern us. Let the best person rule. Bayelsans are in dire need of development. Bayelsans are in need of infrastructure so we cannot allow incompetence to be enthroned because we want to zone the governorship. Okay if people are saying zoning then Southern Ijaw cannot contest if it was zoned to the central. The two local governments qualified in central are Kolokuma/ Opokuma and Yenagoa. If you go Bayelsa West, Sagbama has gotten leaving only Ekeremor. But what we are saying is that Bayelsa is a very small state with only eight local government areas. Instead of looking at senatorial districts we can look at the local government areas. Those local government areas that have not had governor should be allowed to get it. This is why we said we do not want zoning but the best person should contest. Lokpobiri is contesting based on his pedigree, competence to bring development to Baylesa. Zoning is not cast in stone in Bayelsa.
Lokpobiri is competent. He has the intellectual capacity. He is experienced having served as the first Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The time he served as Speaker was one Speaker that the whole of Bayelsa knew we had a speaker. He was a two-time Senator and recently just finished as a minister so what requirement do you want again for a governor. He is passionate about Bayelsa. He wants to bring development to the state. He is a lover of people. He is down to earth and calm. He is the kind of person we want as governor. He has the right direction in terms of governance.