Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has disclosed he told President Muhammadu Buhari that he would contest the Bayelsa State governorship race instead of returning as minister in the next cabinet.
Lokpobiri, who stated this in an monitored on Channels TV, said he has learnt a lot under President Buhari and was eager to become Bayelsa governor to replicate all he had learnt.
“I met the president a few days ago and I told him that I want to run for governorship in Bayelsa having thanked him for appointing me as a minister. I have learnt so much under him in the four years than what I learnt as a parliamentary for 12 years. I want to take that experience back home and see how we can build a Bayelsa beyond oil,” he said.
On the race for the governorship ticket, Lokpobiri, who declared that former governor Timipre Sylva was not his godfather, dispelled fears that the battle for the ticket would trigger crisis in the party.
According to him, the All Progressives Congress (APC) would organise a credible primaries and whoever wins would fly the party’s flag.
“Sylva is not my godfather. When I was speaker in 1999 he (Sylva) was special assistant to Alamieyeseigha. When I came to the Senate, he became governor.
“Yes, I must concede he came into APC and might have facilitated my appointment as minister but that does not make him my godfather. In 2007, when he got elected as governor, I got elected as Senator. In 2007, I was with Timi Alaibe and that was how I got the ticket.
“In 2011, we worked together even when former president Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson were fighting him. I worked for him and not Dickson.
“The APC governorship ticket would not divide us. As far as I am concerned, it is going to be a family affair. We might go into primaries and whoever wins would fly the party’s flag and I believe I am going to win,” he said.