Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
At exactly 6.50 pm yesterday, Senator Douye Diri took the oath of office and allegiance as the fifth executive governor of Bayelsa State. He was flanked by his wife and children. Earlier, his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor flanked by his wife and children took his oath of office and allegiance at exactly 6.35 pm.
Shortly after being sworn in by the Chief Judge of the State, Kate Abiri, Senator Diri in a brief speech called for a minute silence for all PDP members that were killed during the governorship campaign in Nembe. The new governor who said there was no victor, no vanquished in the governorship contest in the state called for an end to bitterness and acrimony along party lines.
“My dear good people of Bayelsa State, this is a state that we all wanted to create. As a serving member of the Ijaw National Congress, we traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria wanting to create a state to develop our region and our area. Today we have a state. Governors have come, governors have gone. We, today of PDP, have been sworn-in. My advice to all of us of this great party is that we have to be magnanimous in victory. The bitterness and acrimony should end. If we kill ourselves who are going to lead? Today, 14th of February, is a day of love. As a Valentine governor and deputy governor, we bring the message of love to Bayelsa State. We bring the message of hope; we bring the message of prosperity. Let us eschew bitterness and acrimony and learn to love ourselves”, he pleaded.
The swearing-in, which was marked by pomp, was broadcast live. Among those who witnessed the event was the Chief Judge of the state, the immediate past governor of the state, Sierake Dickson, who walked up to the podium to hug Diri as soon as he was sworn in.
The traffic to the podium by party leaders and faithful was such that Diri could not take photograph with the Chief Judge and other state high court judges, or with his family as his deputy earlier did. But he later did before the ceremony was brought to a close with the rendition of the national anthem.