Tari Oliver, the only female governorship aspirant in Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said that her party has no favoured candidate and has expressed confidence that she will make history by being the first woman to win governorship election in the state.
You are aspiring to govern Bayelsa, what are you going to do differently if elected?
The current governor is leaving a good legacy with the restoration agenda he started. I will build on that instead of being wasteful. Building a knowledgeable team of professionals that understands the importance of research and proper implementation is something I take seriously. I also intend to involve more women in governance. I have always been an advocate for preventive health care. We would develop policies that would see Bayelsa become the world’s destination for preventive health care. We would make the state a health tourist destination where you arrive over weight and you go back looking the best you can dream of. It would be very affordable to all who consider health a priority.
What advantages do you have over your opponents?
My biggest advantage is the fact that I’m a woman, a bridge builder and a peace and conflict resolution expert. Being the youngest and the only female, I automatically have a major role to play which cuts across my campaign for peaceful elections, this I have started and I’m currently enjoying a lot of goodwill from the other aspirants.
Another advantage I have is that I’m a good listener; I’m always ready to learn and seek professional counsel when it concerns issues that need expertise. I also intend to put the state in the top 3 (three) most industrialised states in the country. As a mother with a natural gift of intuition, I believe I will do well when given the mandate.
I will prioritise preventive healthcare, which will help in eradicating malaria from the riverine/ swampy areas and expand on the already existing Nigeria Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure that more Bayelsans in the rural areas are covered with priorities given to women and children. This also includes the prevention of maternal and child mortality.
How would you assess Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration?
He has done remarkably well in various sectors such as health care, education, agriculture, infrastructure, human capital development, youths and women inclusion just to mention a few. He has always been a welcoming and inclusive leader. He has brought democracy closer to the masses. This can be seen by the high number of persons who have indicated interest to run for the governorship. This has gone to show that there is no anointed candidate.
How do you intend to address the volatility of Bayelsa?
Bayelsa is a peaceful state and has always been so with the exception of isolated agitations and piracy incidents which I will address by creating employment, a thriving business environment and engaging youths and other stakeholders in meaningful dialog.
The Senate has just concluded screening of ministerial nominees, are you satisfied with number of females in the cabinet to be constituted?
All the 43 nominees have been screened and of the 43, only 5 are women, this is rather typical and does not meet the 35 percent affirmative action. This is a no-no for me it is not something I am satisfied with and it is not at all progressive.
What’s your take on the restructuring of the country?
Again I say we should go back to the confab report. Allowing every state control their resources will create a healthy competition and grow the economy.