By Osaro Okhomina
When in June, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) announced the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri as the Chairman, National Campaign Council of the Party in Osun State; many did not give him any chance.
Their fears, unfounded as they never took into consideration the divine miracle of God and the individual capacity of the first time Governor of Bayelsa State.
But the outcome of the just concluded Osun State Governorship election, won by the PDP Candidate, Ademola Adeleke, showed that the choice of Diri to lead the Osun PDP guber campaign was a calculated one to prove naysayers wrong again.
The election was tough and most inspiring was that the Douye Diri-led team assisted by the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, defeated an incumbent, Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the most peaceful and acceptable governorship election in the country since return to democracy in 1999.
As it was during his own election in 2020 in Bayelsa where divine intervention reversed the INEC verdict, so was how the Osun voters, through divine touch, recovered the 2018 ‘stolen’ mandate of the PDP.
Gov. Diri , on Monday arrived the Bayelsa International Airport, Yenagoa, to meet an unexpected crowd at the airport singing, drumming and dancing to receive their leader in whom they are well pleased.
Yes, the crowd celebrating his role in the victory of Ademola Adeleke in Osun State, moved to the Peace Park, venue of the welcome rally.
Diri, in his speech declared that the victory of Senator Ademola Adeleke during the Osun State Governorship election was due to prayers and hard work by party faithful at the state and the national levels.
He revealed that when naysayers were predicting a loss for the PDP due to the fact that he was made the Chairman of the National Campaign Council of the Party, he went to God in Prayers and his prayers were backed with the amicable resolutions of inter-party friction that existed within the party in Osun.
“God answered our prayers because we challenged Him that naysayers were challenging Him and not PDP or me. First, let me express my heartfelt appreciation to my able and very reliable Deputy Governor for the setup, and for putting this together without my notice. Thank you the People’s Democratic Party, thank you to all of you in government, and all of you who came out on your own and ensured that whether the governor likes it or not, we will receive him today. I thank you all”
He continued: “That election was not just an Osun State election; it was an election for the people, for Nigeria, and Bayelsa State. It is great to note that the person who was in charge of the Osun State Primaries was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa that produced Sen. Adeleke as the candidate of the party. “
“And before I could travel out of the country for programmes lined up for me, the National Chairman of our great party called to inform me that I should help the party chair the campaigns in Osun elections. That means they have trust in the leadership of Bayelsa State.
“I thank the Vice Presidential Candidate of our party, the Governor of Delta State, and all others who stood and worked with me tirelessly to ensure our party was successful. Finally, I congratulate the governor-elect of Osun State, Sen. Ademola Adeleke for the well-deserved victory”.
The President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Comrade Peter Timothy Igbifa said the Osun election has vindicated Diri. According to him the election “is a testament of the capacity, commitment and loyalty of Governor Douye Diri.
He declared that the victory recorded by PDP at the polls proved that an Ijaw man could be trusted to deliver in national assignment.
“As a council, we noticed that some PDP leaders were not happy that an Ijaw man was appointed to handle the Osun electoral matters. They conspired against Governor Douye Diri to make him fail in his first national party assignment.
“They referred to him as an inexperienced politician and tried to demean and relegate him to the background. But man is not God, Diri triumphed as a miracle governor and delivered a resounding victory to his party,” he said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, explained that the welcome rally was an impromptu venture hidden from the Governor in order to show him how the people of the state appreciate his effort at ensuring the victory of the PDP and Sen. Ademola Adeleke in Osun state. He also called on the people of the state to continue to give their undivided support to Gov. Douye Diri for more performance in the years ahead.
Earlier in his speech, the Bayelsa State PDP Chairman, Solomon Agwanana dismissed the claims of the existence of internal squabble within the party in the state, saying the PDP is more united in Bayelsa than ever.
”What is recorded in Osun is a little out of what Gov. Diri has recorded. He has not failed the PDP and the people. All members of the PDP in the state must act responsibly. The bond of unity in the PDP is shining and God did what happened in Osun.”
In recent times, the national assignments handed to Governor Diri by the party has justified confidence reposed in him and led to his unshakened rising political profile.
A matured and seasoned politician, Diri, is a man of tact and one that has shown understanding in the murky waters of politics.
A PDP chieftain summed up Diri’s brand of politics, “He has shown capacity and ensure that every party man has equal right. He invested a lot of time and energy at bringing back members, political allies and foes who defected to other parties and assuaged the concerns of stakeholders, thus fortifying the party. Gov.Diri has also continued to preach peace and unity among our people and succeeded at engendering convivial relationships between contending political groups and communities in the state”.
Another Chieftain of the PDP from Southern Ijaw Local Government, who pleaded anonymity, dismissed the claims levelled against the PDP and the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, alleging that those that defected are playing a script handed to them by some politicians in the state.
He said “These people have the right to move to another party. When they claim they are unfairly treated, I laugh. Someone who was acting Chairman of the Brass Local Government two times? Does he want to stay in the same position forever? Another of them was the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Governor, what does he want again? Another served as Special Adviser and Commissioner in Bayelsa and because he lost during the House of Reps primaries, he is angry. It is laughable.”
Bayelsa State Health Commissioner, Dr. Pabara Newton Igwele in his comments while congratulating the Governor for his contributions in Osun State, said his brand of politics is being appreciated.
“Governor Diri’s peaceful disposition as a leader, his strategic political steps and his continued actions to uphold the party ideology are part of reasons why the Bayelsa State Governor is recognized among the league of political leaders that are committed to the expectations of Nigerians to rescue the Nigeria State from syndrome of corruption and visible signs of underdevelopment that has almost relegated the country to a failed state. I urge party faithful and all Bayelsans across political affiliation to pray for the Governor to deliver more dividends of democracy to the people of the State,” he said.
In their speeches, the members of the State House of Assembly led by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Micheal Ogbere, the PDP Caucus Chairman in Bayelsa East, Central and West Senatorial districts, the non-indigenes through the Special Adviser, Hon. Onuma Johnson, the various pro-PDP support groups through Hon. George Turner and the Coordinator of the Bayelsa Vigilante, Hon. Doubiye Alagba and Bayelsa Volunteer, Lucky Asanakpo, described the administration of Gov. Douye Diri in the state as a shining one through the delivery of the dividend of democracy to the people.
According to the Deputy Speaker of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, the Gov. Diri administration has assisted members to deliver on over fifty constituency projects for their constituents in the last two years.
Even the Local Government Chairmen from the State led by the Chairman of the Southern Ijaw Local Government Council, Kia Nigeria, were not left behind as they commended Governor Douye Diri for standing out among all state governors in the administration of local government in the country.
For Diri, his brand of politics which he exported to Osun and which earned the party victory is the launching pad for the PDP as it goes into the crucial 2023 with only one objective: rescue Nigerians from the tight grip of the All Progressive Congress.
Osaro Okhomina is a Media practitioner based in Yenagoa,Bayelsa State