From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governors of Bauchi, Akwa Ibom, and Oyo states were among the dignitaries at the special victory thanksgiving of the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, in Yenagoa yesterday.
The immediate past governor of the state, Senator Seriake Dickson was represented by a former Secretary to the State Government, Mr Kemela Okara.
Diri in his remarks expressed appreciation to God Almighty for the miracle that brought him to office, saying he would forever remain grateful and committed to the service of the state.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as also thanking the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court justices for their courage in delivering such a landmark judgement.
Diri reflecting on the ruling by the Supreme Court said the justices proved that the judiciary remained the last hope of the common man.
He equally appreciated all especially Senator Dickson, Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel and his Oyo counterpart, Seyi Makinde.
Diri urged people of the state to always exude love and embrace one another irrespective of party affiliations, stressing that the development of the state is bigger than any group or individual consideration.
His words: “They say the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. For us, the judiciary is our last hope. We thank all those who contributed in one way or another toward ensuring our victory.
“Let me again urge Bayelsans not to see those in APC as enemies. Today they are there but tomorrow they might be in PDP. As I speak, many of our brothers in the APC are returning to the PDP.”
Former President Jonathan, in his goodwill message, urged politicians to see politics as a means of developing the people and not warfare.
The former Nigerian leader stressed that at the end of every political contest; politicians should sheathe their swords and work with the winner.
He commended Diri for his non-discriminatory style of politics, which he said has seen him embrace everybody regardless of political leanings.
Jonathan also called for support from the people of the state to enable the Diri administration to succeed.
“My message today is that those of us in politics should learn to play politics as politics and not war. At the end of the process, let us come together and support whoever emerges winner.
“I thank our governor for opening his mind to accept everybody irrespective of political divide. I urge him to do more,” Jonathan said.
In their goodwill messages, Governors Seyi Makinde, Udom Emmanuel and Bala Mohammed as well as Prince Secondus commended Governor Diri for his strides in office and expressed confidence that he would transform the state while calling on Bayelsans to rally round him.
Delivering a sermon on the topic: “It is The Lord’s Doing,” Pastor Lazarus Muoka described Diri’s emergence as divine.
He noted that with man, there are limitations but with God, all things are possible and urged the people of the state to turn to God for salvation.
Other dignitaries in attendance were the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang; National President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Samson Ayokunle; General Overseer and The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement, Pastor Lazarus Muoka among other clerics.