The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday commenced its campaign for the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State at Ogbia, the Local Government Area of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege; the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole; Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and three governors elected on the platform of the party, said it was time for the APC to take over the governance of the state.
The three governors, who graced the event, attended by thousands of enthused party faithful, are the governors of Kebbi, Abubakar Bagudu; Plateau State, Simon Lalong and Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje.
The crowd cheered the presentation of the party’s flag to the Governorship Candidate of the party, Chief David Lyon, by Oshiomhole and other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Prior to the rally, Sylva led the team to the secretariat of the Ogbia Brotherhood, a unifying association of all Ogbia people, where the APC leaders and their entourage were received by the Ogbia King and other traditional rulers of various communities in the kingdom.
Oshiomhole, Omo-Agege, Lyon and others were decorated in a traditional war outfit by the brotherhood, who prayed and blessed them ahead of the poll.
At the campaign rally, Omo-Agege told the crowd that the APC and its candidate had won the election already following the failures of the administration of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to develop the state.
He said despite huge revenue that accrued to the state in the past seven years under Governor Seriake Dickson, there was nothing on ground in the state to justify such amount of money.
He said: “David Lyon is the winner. All the reasons why David Lyon will win this election have been advanced. We want change. We heard our former governor tell us that in the last eight years of Dickson’s administration, he received N1.6trn for Bayelsa.
“As we came in we didn’t see anything good on the ground. Their time is over. Let them step aside and let person that will help the people of Bayelsa step in. For a change, we have a home-grown leader, someone that has been investing his personal money where he resides.
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“Our incoming governor is here with us. He is not an Abuja man. He has invested his money here. Come on November 16, vote for the APC and as you are doing so, know that you have the supports of President Buhari, our party leadership, senators and the House of Representatives”.
Sylva in his remarks said the APC carefully chose Ogbia to launch its camp because oil was first struck in commercial quantity in the kingdom in 1966 and since then the area had brought good tidings to the country.
Reeling out the failures of the PDP in Ogbia and the entire state, he said: “The PDP, which is the leading opposition party, has been in power continuously in Bayelsa State. Today, we have a governor for almost eight years. In the eight years, he has received over N1.6tn. But as we speak all of you know literally Bayelsa State is darkness.
“The gas turbine that was started by our father chief Melford Okilo, continued by Goodluck Jonathan, continued by myself is today dead. Ogbia land that used have electricity back in the 90s, are retrogressing instead of progressing, because of the will of one man.
“The only thing that the PDP had done and Seriake Dickson has continued to talk about as an achievement is the so-called airport which has caused this state an undisclosed amount. I said an undisclosed amount because he himself said N80bn, then we found out that it has caused up to a 100bn, and we attacked him but he said it was N60bn. But even if it is 60bn that will remain the most expensive airport ever built.
“What I always tell my friend Governor Dickson, the challenge I always put before him is he himself not landing in the airport. I say let him land there, since he himself has an airport, so that we too can land there. But we still see him in Port Harcourt airport dragging with us, and he has built an airport here with billions.
“There is one road that since he came in, he has been trying to expand, the Isaac Boro road. For eight years, no new road, the road is being expanded for eight years. Even the water pipe that we put here. he dug them out. Yenagoa is one of the state state capital if not the only one in Nigeria that still depends on water vendors for water”.
Sylva said the APC was bringing development, empowerment, and security to the state through its candidate adding that under Dickson, security deteriorated with kidnapping, robberies and killings the order of the day.
He added: “I want to tell you that in the first 100 days of Lyon, Bayelsa State will have been secured already. I want to assure you that David Lyon will give you jobs. Governor Seriake Dickson, has been trying to do Elebele road, he himself has said he spent N30bn but has he finished the road? which time has Dickson commissioned one road.
“The very interesting thing about Dickson’s governance is that all the projects he is doing, we don’t even know the contractor even the airport project. It is only Ewrujakpor and Senator Douye Diri that know the contractors. They do everything by themselves. They don’t empower anybody. Point anybody in Bayelsa State that has been empowered, by Dickson, except his family members”.
In his speech, Oshiomhole said Dickson and his party were notorious for violence and recalled the shooting spree that led to the impeachment of the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Tonye Isenah.
He said President Buhari asked the party leaders to present David Lyon to the people of the state adding that the candidate was a replica of the Biblical David.
He said: “They call him Lyon by birth, and they also call him David, am sure many of you are Christians, you know what David can do, this David and this Lyon, will protect and guide the security of this Bayelsa people. This David, this Lyon, even before now has employed a lot of youths. We will join forces with him, to protect national asset.
“When you look at him, he looks like an Irish Reverend Father, cool, calculated, trimmed, simple, humble and down to earth, by the special grace of God, even you the people of Bayelsa State, his election will be an example of how a man rise from a deprived community, suffered through the deprivation of life, and be empowered by his people, to govern for the good of all.
David will not betray those who stand by him, in moment like this, and that is all of you here. David acknowledges that Bayelsans have produced great people, like Melford Okilo, he also have admiration for Jonathan, the former president of this great state, he acknowledges all those who have come from this part, who has experienced leadership.
“So, I assure you that this one will carry the youth along, this David will labour for the Bayelsa women, this David will respect his elders and will provide for the needy, he understands the language of poverty, and the deprivation this state went through, that’s why he sticks out his neck to fight.
He said: “We have come to make a difference and that is why we are a party of change. Let me conclude by thanking all of you that had come under this sun at a short notice. Sylva reminded you of other developmental challenges.
“One of the things we are going to do before the campaign closes is to pay a visit to that airport and invite the governor to give us account of how much he spent. All of us we will go to the control tower and manage air traffic and insist that he must take a plane and fly out of the airport because Bayelsa people didn’t deserve a white elephant project especially in the midst of all the deprivations that we have seen”.
He asked the people to vote for Lyon and ensure their votes are counted boasting that by God’s grace, the APC would win at the end of the exercise.
Receiving the party flag, Lyon said he and his team would serve the people of the state against the culture of leaders being served by the people.
He promised to end the darkness in the state, create wealth, end insecurity and manage the resources of the state efficiently.
In their different remarks, the governors appealed to the people to elect the APC and align the state to the mainstream politics at the Centre.