By Kola Oredipe
Senator Douye Diri, is no doubt the man of the moment in the Nigerian political space.
Only recently, he was re-elected for another four years as Governor of Bayelsa State against an opposition, whose unpopular election strategies had become public knowledge.
They underrated a very experienced Diri, a teacher of many years standing, and an Ijaw Rights activist who understands what politics is all about- the people.
Douye Diri, a graduate of Political Science, is by no means a “kindergarten” politician. Rather, he is a politician by training and practice having been in the corridors of power for over 25 years holding both appointive and elective offices.
A former Executive Secretary, Centre for Youth Development in the State, former Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Deputy Chief of Staff, Principal Executive Secretary to the Governor, Member of House of Representatives for Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency, and Senator who represented Bayelsa Central in the Red Chambers, Diri, had been well groomed for leadership before his emergence as Governor in 2020.
With his deep public service experience and leadership skills, Diri navigates his way through what might be termed very difficult scenarios. He easily wins the hearts of those in opposition because of his mien, humility and deep sense of purpose. Diri has an infectious smile and he is very accommodating. He exudes love and preaches unity and peace among the people.
Not born with a silver spoon, but his life trajectory from childhood remains very inspiring. Yes, he grew up a very disciplined child in Sampou community in the present day Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area under the tutelage of his late father, a seasoned primary school teacher and disciplinarian. In adulthood, he has not allowed the lessons learnt early in life to waste, rather he has put them to use in his interpersonal relationship with the people.
He is truly a miracle Governor looking at the circumstances that brought him to office in 2020. Douye Diri, indeed carries uncommon grace.
While many around him were apprehensive of opposition’s threats and plots ahead of the election, Diri maintained a positive winning attitude all through the electioneering.
Germany Kent, an American print and broadcast journalist,in one of her quotes said, “A winning attitude allows you to work on the things you can control” and that’s exactly how Diri navigated through his plans with diligent implementation and the rest is history.
Yes, a man of faith also had the conviction of electoral victory when he declared before an assembly that, “It is God who brought me to office and I know He has not abandoned me. We will win this election. My main opposition believes in his chariots but we believe in God.”
The 2023 Gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State from the very beginning tilted in favour of the incumbent. The season favours him because he enjoyed the solid support of his party leaders including the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who confessed that Governor Diri has done well in infrastructure, human capacity development and most importantly, restoring peace and security across the State. Jonathan did not mince words as he called on Bayelsans to support Diri for continuity and consolidation.
Yes, it’s Diri’s season as designed by God, more reason for the implosion in the main opposition APC, where key leaders withdrew their support for Sylva and threw their weight behind Diri’s second term.
In fact, it was clear that the main opposition candidate, Timipre Sylva, was merely fighting a lost battle.
The unconventional election strategies deployed by Sylva on November 11, 2023 could only shore up his votes but the genuine votes amassed by Diri across the 105 wards overwhelmed all the APC “voodoo” votes. Those stolen votes would be challenged at the Tribunal too.
Interestingly and to reflect the mood of the state, the declaration of Governor Diri of the PDP as winner by INEC was met with spontaneous reactions by supporters and other fans across the State.
Great to cheers that this victory was well celebrated by Bayelsans across political divides. They see him as a genuine leader, a man of peace and committed Ijaw leader who understands the developmental challenges of the people.
With this victory, Governor Diri, has emerged a political force in Nigeria. A networker who leveraged on all his previous contacts and friends including those in the opposition to pull this victory through.
He is a politician of deep conviction and compassion. The man of the moment, Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State has braced the trail to be elected as second term Governor of Bayelsa State.The victory celebration is still on in homes and communities by Bayelsans who stood firmly with the Prosperity Government.
And truly, the people see a future under the Douye Diri-led administration and they are very hopeful of a greater, united and prosperous Bayelsa State under the current administration, hence, the massive support that ensured re-election.
Douye Diri, a peace builder, unifier and champion of Prosperity is no doubt providing effective leadership for the state.
When one wins massively as it has just happened in the Bayelsa State Governorship election, the nation and key political actors in the country look at the antecedents and credentials of the winner.
Today, Douye Diri, is not just the man of the moment for his victory but a politician to reckon with.
Oredipe is Director, New Media and member, Bayelsa PDP gubernatorial Campaign Publicity Committee.