Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ahead of the governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for September 3, Bayelsa Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has declared that the party and Bayelsans by extension would not elect an establishment errand boy as governor of the state.
Dickson, speaking at a live media chat, said that his successor should be principled, bold and courageous enough to protect the collective interest of the Ijaw people.
According to the two-term governor, Bayelsans cannot afford to have a weak leader, stressing that his successor must be God-fearing and ready to serve the people with humility and compassion.
He, however, expressed disappointment that many of those coming to talk to him on their governorship aspirations do not have the interest of the state at heart.
“The next governor of the Ijaw nation must be courageous; he must be ready to defend the Ijaw nation at all times. He must not be the errand boy of any ethnic group. I will be sad to see the governor of Bayelsa playing just politics, without being able to take a decisive position on issues,” Governor Dickson said.
“Our people are oppressed. We have a lot of stories to tell Nigerians. When it comes to speak for the Ijaw nation, I have not been found wanting. I want that tradition to continue. I want my people to be safe.
“More, than any other time, Bayelsa needs a governor with the requisite courage to lead the Ijaw nation. What is at stake is your destiny and survival. Our people are balkanized into small units from Ondo State to many other states.
“In the Niger Delta, the Ijaw voice must be heard. I hope those buying the forms are aware of the enormity of the responsibilities of being the governor of Bayelsa state.”
On the multiplicity of aspirants and the peace in the state, Dickson, who attributed the atmosphere to the culture of tolerance and maturity of his administration, expressed that the various political parties, members and candidates would abide by the rules for the greater good of Bayelsa State.
He noted that the high number of aspirants on the platform of the PDP is an indication that the party remains the best platform to win the election, and is a reflection of the leadership and democratic style of governance he has provided, where people are allowed to pursue their political ambitions without interference.