SPECIAL REPORT: 2nd Term Inauguration: Diri, new symbol of Nigeria unity, By Dr. Kola Oredipe

They were both the cynosure of all eyes and a toast of the moment at the state owned Samson Siasia sports complex.

Indeed, nothing was spared by the people of the state and the array of soliticians, elder statesmen, state governors, two former Nigeria presidents and two current vice Presidents of Nigeria and Liberia, to make the 14th February, 2024 a special day for both Governor Douye Diri and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo. It was indeed a special day to the people of Bayelsa State.

The celebration of the second term swearing into office was an opportunity and indeed an attestation to the unifying charisma with which Governor Douye Diri is now known for.

The event brought together politicians across party lines in honour of a man known for peace, a pragmatic leader, a bridge-builder and networker!

Even the world watch in awe at the number of opposition politicians who graced the occasion. From Vice-President Kashim Shettima, who represented the president, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to the the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and governorship candidate of the APC, Chief David Lyon.

The attendance by over thirty known opposition party leaders, both at the state and national levels, showed the manner and style of politics the man Douye Diri is playing in Nigeria today.

With the attendance which attracted scores of state governors and National Assembly members showed he is seen as a politician of deep conviction known to champion politics of growth and development, very accommodating in simplicity with friends across the length and breadth of the country.

The inauguration ceremony that attracted two former Nigerian Presidents- Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was not just an event as the guests came in their numbers for the colourful ceremony and were united as Nigerians to honour a worthy friend and a great patriot who is redefining Nigerian politics.

In what appeared an emerging political re-allignment, five governors from the All Progressives Congress (APC)- Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak of Kwara State, who is the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago of Niger State, and the Governor of Benue State, Revd. Father Hyacinth Alia.

Other PDP governors and dignitaries at the inauguration were, His Excellency, Governors of Delta, Osun, Oyo, Adamawa, Plateau, Edo and Rivers, Sheriff Oborevwori, Ademola Adeleke, Seyi Makinde, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, Caleb Muftwang, Godwin Obaseki and Siminalayi Fubara, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, immediate past governor of Bayelsa state and Senator representing Bayelsa west Senatorial District, Senator Bukola Saraki, former Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, immediate past governor of Delta state, members of the National Assembly both serving and non-serving, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources(Oil), Senator Adolphus Wabara, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the People’s Democratic party, and Prince Uche Secondus, former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party.

By this singular event, Diri, a former secondary school teacher, Niger Delta rights activist, federal lawmaker at both the House of Representatives and the Senate, has introduced a new political order in Nigeria and has emerged as the new symbol of unity in the country.

Sighted at the event also was Chief David Lyon, the man who was earlier adjudged to have won the election in 2019 under APC and other top members of the opposition party in Bayelsa state. Their attendance is a pointer to the positive leadership style of Diri and the impact of his government in the past four years. Diri has built bridges across party lines in the state, hence, the massive re-election victory.

In the past four years, the Prosperity Administration has restored order, security and above all, promoted unity and peaceful co-existence among the people beyond party lines. Even those in opposition are in agreement that Bayelsa state has moved many steps forward in developmental strides under the current government.

Today, in Nigeria’s political landscape, the man Douye Diri, has remained in the news for many positive things including leading the charge for a united Nigeria by his actions and personality. A man of courage indeed!

One of the world’s greatest scientist, Isaac Newton, once raised the challenge for growth when he said, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” For a new Nigeria to birth with progress, the people must move away from politics of divisiveness to that of togetherness.

This was further espoused by former American rights activist, Martins Luther King, Jnr., when he said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” This is where the personality of Governor Diri, is appreciated by many for his belief in the strength of oneness for a greater Nigeria.

Truly, Diri, is seen as a bridge builder, building bridges between people, races, cultures, politics, and trying to find common ground for peaceful co-existence. Undeniably, Diri, is a friend to many nations. That is a true Nigerian not minding that he hails from a region that has been so emasculated and deprived economically. He is simply a true definition of a statesman.

Statesmen are not mere countrymen; they are men of value, strong character and courage with fine attributes.

There is certainly something inspiring about the Sampou-born politician, Diri, who rose to public life prominence through dint of hard work and personal discipline.

For a sitting governor to attract such an array of dignitaries that included captains of industry and a foreign delegation from US, Germany and Liberia, where the current Vice President, Jeremiah Kpan Koung represented President Joseph Boakai, his political sagacity can not be underrated. Diri, has shown Nigerians of his great asset and influence to be a rallying point in the future.

No doubt, Diri, with his rising political profile is an unrelenting searcher for information and knowledge about his society, country and the world, a great teacher, a man of consistent efficiency and high ideals in his private and public life, a practical leader, a development agent, an architect of a new Bayelsa state, an endowed nation builder, an astute administrator and now, a statesman.