No Apologies For Backing Diri’s Re-Election As Bayelsa Governor, Jonathan Says


Former Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has said that he owes no one apologies for supporting the re-election of Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in the November 11, 2023 off-cycle governorship poll in the state.

Jonathan, also said it was the right thing to do as Diri had the support of the majority of the Bayelsa people to continue in office.

He stated this during the Yuletide visit of the governor and his delegation to his residence in Yenagoa.

Wife of the former president, Dame Patience Jonathan, was also on hand to receive the governor and his entourage.

Jonathan explained that he publicly endorsed Diri’s candidature during the campaigns because of his visionary leadership demonstrated in handling the affairs of the state.

According to him, the governor deserved to be re-elected for his developmental efforts, particularly for ensuring peace and stability in the state.

He said: “I did what l did during the governorship election and l have no apologies to anybody because l know that the governor and his team were doing very well, especially in the area of peace and stability of the state. At a time, l became very worried.

“I have not said others did not do well. After all, l was also governor for a little less than one and a half years and also had my challenges.

“Since Diri came on board, the excesses of cult groups, particularly in Yenagoa, has reduced reasonably. If we must move forward, first and foremost, we must handle the issue of security in order to attract investors. I saw that the governor and his team have a vision and he needed to be encouraged to do another four-year term.”

Jonathan charged the governor to do more to meet the high expectations of the massive support base for his Prosperity Administration, adding that “to whom much was given, much was expected.”

In his response, Diri expressed appreciation to the former president for his support and endorsement, which contributed to the Peoples Democratic Party’s victory at the poll.

According to Diri, “your endorsement of a sitting governor was more than billions of naira. And so having secured that endorsement, we were very sure of victory. We are here to say a big thank you as that has brought stability in the state.

“So, with the kind of peace and security we have in our state, Bayelsa is ready for private investors to come in.”

The state’s helmsman expressed optimism that Jonathan would have more roles to play in reconciling people in the country and the African continent to ensure peace and development.

Diri also thanked President Bola Tinubu for ensuring a peaceful, free and credible election in the state.

Meanwhile, the State Governor has assured people of the state of more developmental projects in his second term in office, which commences on February 14.

Diri made the pledge in his New Year message aired on Yenagoa-based radio stations on Monday.

Re-affirming his unwavering commitment towards the overall development of the state, Diri expressed appreciation to the people for their support during the outgone year and in his first tenure.

He said going forward, his administration would actively engage communities irrespective of political choices in order to achieve collective aspirations.

Recounting some of the achievements in various sectors such as education, health, human capital development, infrastructure, security, among others, Diri promised not to rest on his laurels.

He stated that as captured in the state’s 2024 budget, the government would construct an ultra-modern stadium, a renal center at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital at Okolobiri as well as an administrative block for the Primary Healthcare Board.

Diri expressed delight that his administration’s effort to jumpstart the state’s industrialisation had taken a giant leap with his recent assent to the Bayelsa State Electricity Law 2023, saying it promises to be a game-changer for power supply in the state.

While appreciating the House of Assembly’s role in the new law and the entire budget, he said under the electricity law, licences would be issued to private investors, collaboration with existing franchises would be enhanced to expand electricity access in underserved areas and it would also reinforce penalties for non-compliance.

Diri also stated that with collective effort and the unwavering support of people of the state, Bayelsa would make remarkable progress in the New Year with focus on sustaining the progress so far achieved while embarking on new initiatives to move the state to greater heights.

The governor stressed the need for unity irrespective of political leanings, noting that so much could be achieved when the people are united.

He said: “As we step into 2024, I assure you of my unwavering commitment to the overall development and well-being of every citizen of Bayelsa State. Our focus will remain on sustaining the achieved progress while embarking on new initiatives that will further elevate our state to greater heights.

“You have my assurance that we will not disappoint you nor renege on my pledge to work towards a prosperous Bayelsa State that mirrors the hopes and aspirations of our founding fathers.

“Our move towards industrializing the state has taken a giant leap with my assent to the Bayelsa State Electricity Law 2023. This promises to be a game-changer for our power supply, with critical implications for our industrialization programme. Bayelsa State used to generate and distribute its own electricity until 2006.

“However, national regulations prevented the state from commercializing this sector. Recent constitutional amendments and the Electricity Act, 2023, now empower states to commercialize and establish market regulations.”

He added: “The State Electricity Law has thus been introduced to create a regulatory framework that addresses barriers hindering the efficient operation of the State Electricity Market System.

“The law aims to issue licenses to private investors, collaborate with existing franchises to expand electricity access in underserved areas, and enforce penalties for non-compliance.”

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