The governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri is a founding member of the PDP. He joined the party in 1998. Since then, Diri has been holding different political positions.
The 60-year-old Diri was born into the family of A.J.M Diri of Kalamaowei-Wari compound of Sampou Town in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area. He attended the Okoro Primary School in Sampou and the State School Kaiama, now the Rev. Proctor Memorial Primary School, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate.
In his quest for secondary education, Diri attended the Government Secondary School, Odi and later, the College of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he obtained Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), Port Harcourt River State. He went to obtain Bachelors of Education in Political Science at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Diri, no doubt, has had a robust experience in public administration and the Ijaw struggle. He started his career as a teacher in secondary schools in the creeks in the old Rivers State before the creation of Bayelsa. It was gathered that he engaged in business briefly before his adventure into politics.
Prior to his involvement in active politics, Diri was elected the pioneer National Organising Secretary of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), a pan-Ijaw social-political organisation formed for the protection of Ijaw interest in the country.
The PDP candidate first served in the administration of the first elected governor of Bayelsa, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeiseigha as the Executive Secretary, Centre for Youth Development (CYD). During the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Diri was appointed as Commissioner for Youths and Sports.
Diri also served as a board member, the University of Maiduguri Governing Council and Chairman, the Peoples Democratic Party Disciplinary Council in Bayelsa in 2012. In fact, Diri has been a friend, political associate and confidant of Governor Seriake Dickson.
He was brought into political limelight by a former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe. So, he owes his rise in politics to Alaibe. He was one of the foot soldiers of Alaibe, who influenced his appointment as a Commissioner for Youths and Sports when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was governor.
Alaibe, who hails from the same Kolokuma-Opokuma, has is a popular politician in Bayelsa and a rallying point in his local government area, following his developmental strides in his area during his days as the NDDC boss.
Speaking on Alaibe’s role in his political relevance, Diri said: “For clarity, a lot of people saw me as a staff of NDDC, but I wasn’t. I was a political ally and a close person to Chief Timi Alaibe, believing that we were going to enthrone a government in Bayelsa that would be more responsive to the people.
“I was with Chief Alaibe for about 10 years. One thing or the other happened in each election we attempted. Then, he would return to NDDC. A few of us didn’t feel very comfortable with that.
“Just to let you know, we hail from the same local government area. So, he is my brother. I see him as a brother and I believe that he too sees me as one.”
But, Diri switched his camp to Dickson’s when it became obvious that Dickson was the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s choice to replace former Governor Timipre Sylva. The Green Movement, was a forceful and vibrant king-making association consisting of powerful and wealthy politicians, including Jonathan.
On why he parted ways with Alaibe, he said: “Being a former colleague, he (Dickson) invited me to be a part of the campaigns. In fact, when I accepted the offer and informed Chief Alaibe, my political ally at that time, he didn’t take it kindly. That was how we parted ways. So, I joined Governor Dickson, we campaigned, went into the election and he won in 2012.”
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Diri warmed himself into the heart of Dickson and became a trusted foot soldier of the governor. He played crucial roles in the election and reelection of the governor in 2012 and 2015. Since then, he has been enjoying the dividends of his loyalty to Dickson and his Restoration Government.
Dickson first appointed Diri his Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House and later made him his Principal Executive Secretary. The governor supported him to win an election in 2015 as a member representing Yenagoa-Kolokum-Opokuma at the House of Representative. He later in 2019 to became a Senator representing the Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
Against all odds, Dickson and his restoration team backed Diri to become the candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming November 16 governorship election. Dickson deployed his political mastery to plot Diri’s victory at the internal poll that was contested by 21 PDP aspirants, including Alaibe, Diri’s former godfather.
But, Diri has always insisted that his governorship ambition was a call to service to consolidate on the achievements of his boss, Governor Dickson. Diri, who tagged his campaign theme, Consolidation for Prosperity, has been traversing the creeks of Bayelsa to convince the electorate to vote for him.
Diri once said he was neither a stooge nor an underdog in the governorship race. He said he would shock those who underestimated him.
He said: “It will be very clear to anyone in doubt about who I am, what I stand for and why I even accepted to work with the current governor. I told you that Sylva was in power for five years and I didn’t get into Bayelsa State. That tells you I am a man of principle. I choose my friends and those I want to work with. And I chose to work with Governor Dickson and I am very satisfied working with him.”