It is yet another season of love and the smiles at this time of the year are very special. People generally share goodwill and joy that heralds the season of Valentine. For almost nine months into inauguration as Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, certain elements in the political scene attempted to suppress the smiles and laughter because they failed to understand and appreciate the divine arrangement on the fact that the emergence of the Miracle Governor was beyond human comprehension, a development that likened the Governor to the Biblical David, a man after God’s own heart.
The plethora of litigations against the Governor for almost nine months were mere distractions, academic exercise and of no consequence. Governor Douye, indeed is a product of grace and has become a source of blessing to Bayelsa State.
He stood strong and unwavering about his faith despite the distractions coming from about 32 court cases. Diri, is not just a miracle Governor, he is a leader with a touch of excellence for his deep knowledge and experience of the workings in the public service.
It was an American author, Tim Fargo, who said: “Leadership is service, not position,” and that is the man Douye Diri, since his Secondary School days at the Government Secondary School, Odi when he first tasted leadership position as a Dining Hall Prefect.
He is unarguably, the first Governor with such vast public service experience serving as a secondary school teacher before venturing into business and later politics where he served in different capacities as Executive Secretary, Centre for Youths Development, Commissioner for sports and youth, Deputy Chief of Staff, Principal Executive Secretary, Member, House of Representative and then a Distinguished Senator.
Can you just imagine what this experience will add in the life of such an active person?
Douye Diri, is never a chance governor but a man well-groomed for leadership and service through which he has been providing succor to the people. In one of his quotes, Indian great, Mahatma Ghandi, said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” That is exactly what Douye Diri, represents in the journey to building a new Bayelsa State.
The November 16, 2019 Gubernatorial Election no doubt sharply divided the people particularly members of the People’s Democratic Party in Nembe Local Government Area where most of them could not travel to their homes for a long time for the fear of being attacked by opposition party members.
But the message of love, unity and reconciliation repeatedly echoed by the Governor since his inaugural speech on February 14, 2020 provided the buffer for the relative peace that has returned to many of the communities. Diri will always say to the people: “When they bring hatred, show them love; and when they bring darkness, show them light.” This call has endeared him more to the people.
A governor with high sense of maturity, humility and responsibility is working with all known leaders of the state irrespective of their party’s differences. He is in contact touch and consultations with the former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, immediate past Governor and Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly, Senator Seriake Dickson and the leader of the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress and Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva. The people of the state have expressed ceaseless joy with such collaboration and only recently, both Diri and Sylva, at a public function in Yenagoa, agreed that the development of Bayelsa State should be a matter of priority and not their political affiliations. It is however, incontestable that Diri’s style of politics and governance has brought political stability to the state.
These very rare leadership qualities exhibited by the Sampou-born Governor must have provoked the latest lyrics of the Ijaw music maestro and Niger Delta paddle, Chief Barrister Smooth titled, “No be Mistake”, in agreement that the emergence of Governor Diri, was never a mistake and that he has clearly shown great deeds that will secure him the full eight year term to change Bayelsa story. And pronto, that change has begun with massive roll out of projects in the last few weeks.
Governor Diri, showed this early signs to the people about his genuine desire to bring prosperity to the land when he announced that regular salary payment to civil servants is no achievement but that it is in fact his responsibility. He again directed that all issues hampering promotion exercises in the State Civil Service be fixed including payment of outstanding gratuities and pensions. And prayers never ceased from the senior citizens for God to continue to bless him. According to them, Douye Diri, is God sent and they have confessed truly that God never made any mistake in raising a leader for his people.
Douye, one of the most humble leaders among politicians in Bayelsa State like Moses in the Bible, is seen as the meekest man on the face of the earth. Meekness, however, is not weakness but strength under control for greater exploits.
This government of prosperity has mobilised contractors back to site for the continuation of the Yenagoa-Oporoma road, Sagbama-Ekeremor road, Igbogene-AIT Outer ring road, Isaac Boro Expressway, the Glory Drive from Igbogene, a new road to Igbedi town and the reconstruction of Elebele bridge. Today, the Imiringi bridge has been completed and ready for inauguration.
The focus of the government is to diversify the economy and so, agriculture including encouraging growth of small and medium scale business are at the centre of the prosperity in the land.
The investment in farming is massive with allocation of land space to over 3,500 selected farmers, one could only imagine the next destination and the economic empowerment of the beneficiaries.
Contract for the construction of ultra-modern media complex to accommodate all the three state-owned media has been awarded and Governor Diri, has performed the ground breaking ceremony. From the education sector to health to sports, power, environment and youth development, Governor Diri, is touching lives and making impacts.
And the perception of him has since changed from just being a miracle governor to that of a good and compassionate man with the touch of excellence to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
It is interesting that Bayelsans home and abroad have come to understand the strong values, sound judgment and high sense of focus of the man, Douye Diri.
He was not born with silver-spoon but well groomed and tutored by a disciplinarian father, the values that helped him discovered himself and he is bringing that experience to bear on the governance of the state as a key team player.
It is already one year in the life of the Prosperity Administration; it is absolutely, one year of grace, thanksgiving, peace, unity, love, stability, steady growth, impact, renewed hope and confidence in the Bayelsa project. The passion is huge and has endeared the governor more to the people.
The positive energy Governor Diri has put into governance within one year, points to a man ready for leadership and service; and a man who understands administration, purposeful governance and, consensus building. Indeed, the first lap of the journey has been great and revealing and there is no doubt that the ship is sailing well with the right tide in the 8 years impact of prosperity for a new Bayelsa State.
. Oredipe is the Director, New Media to the Bayelsa State Governor.