After reading through the above-titled article in the social media, which was written by one Kesiye Newman, who described himself as a public affairs analyst based in Yenegoa, I feel a strong sense of responsibility, as a committed and loyal APC man to promptly respond to the tissue of lies and misinformation contained in that toxic opinion, which is capable of bringing about divisiveness to our party at this historic period of our political development in the State.
Our party is currently at a threshold of history. We have been increasing in great strength over the years, particularly after our dismal performance in the 2015 general elections. Our sterling performance during the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections in the state is an eloquent testimony to this. The least we can do now as a party is to further leverage on these electoral successes and take over the reins of power from the PDP.
Let me now very briefly address some of the deliberate misconceptions and misinformation that were laced in the above-titled article. First, I share the view of the writer that the APC made very quantum leap in the last presidential and National Assembly elections in Bayelsa State. I however, disagree with him because of his deliberate inability to locate and credit the real person(s) responsible for those electoral successes. Truth be told, the coming of the Hon. Minister of State, Agric, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri to APC has greatly positioned our party for the streaks of electoral victories we have enjoyed in the state. Those of us who are the party men know that the Minister has been the person funding the party all the way since he came to the party. He does this quietly without expecting and receiving any applause.
The writer deliberately sold the falsehood that Lokpobiri does not command enough followership in the state to entitle him the offer to run for the governorship race for the state in the coming November election. Let me state for the records that Lokpobiri is undoubtedly, one of the politicians with the strongest followership in Bayelsa state. Why do I say so? First, he had a landslide victory when he contested for the House of Assembly in 1999 before becoming the Speaker. Secondly, his entry into the senate was also a triumphant victory during the two terms he served in the senate.
Regarding the lie that Lokpobiri did not make much impact in his local government area of the state during the last election, the truth of the matter is that APC fared much better in the minister’s home Ekeremor LGA than the party did in 2015. This success couldn’t have been credited to anybody else than Lokpobiri. As a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria, Lokpobiri’s constituency cannot be limited to Ekeremor LGA alone. In his status as a minister, he funded the activities of the party beyond his local government area. Therefore, it will be uncharitable for anybody to restrict his influence to Ekeremor LGA alone.
Ministerial appointments are not thrown at anybody on a platter of gold as enunciated by the writer. Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are persons of proven integrity who must be nominated by the President and duly confirmed by the Senate. It is therefore a smack of intellectual laziness for anyone to state otherwise.
With due respect to Sylva as my party leader in the state, somehow, his face has been recurring in the state gubernatorial contests for a long time. Perhaps for some reasons, the party has suffered loses in those elections, leading to his image being somewhat bruised. I sympathize with him because the sentiments against him when he was a governor are still very fresh in the minds of Bayelsans and are still haunting him till date. Unfortunately, governor Dickson being conscious of this, has always used this sentiment against him at any given opportunity and circumstance, to the disadvantage of our party, the APC. Regrettably also, even some members of our party have certain reservations about Sylva’s leadership, especially, drawing from the fact that he as a person, has been holding virtually all the key board appointments meant for the state to himself. He is currently the chairman of the Maritime University as well as the chairman of the oil and gas free zone. It is also common knowledge that he has also nominated himself to be the Minister from Bayelsa State and is in hot pursuit to cling the Managing Director of NDDC. Flowing from this, we require a new face that is saleable for us as a party to win the election, and that is where the choice of Lokpobiri becomes inevitable. This is more so when PDP will be presenting a face for the contest.
No doubt, what Bayelsans need now, is a governor who has the requisite qualifications, experience and cognate exposure, as well as the competence to radically develop the state and bring it at par with its other counterpart states in the country. Luckily, the human and material resources for this task force assignment is domiciled within the state. That is why, friends and citizens of the state are looking the direction of Lokpobiri.
– Doutare-owei, APC member and Public Affairs Commentator
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