1. Bight Newspaper gathered that Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri’s second term bid has the backing of prominent Ijaw leaders of thought, including the Bayelsa Elders Council among others.

The leaders spoke at a well-attended interactive session organised by a socio-political group, Friends of Senator Douye Diri (FSDD), at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa on Monday night.

Pioneer elected president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Joshua Fumudoh, said Diri as a product of the Ijaw struggle, had seen it all and translated his passion for the Ijaw nation into development and transformation of the only homogeneous Ijaw state.

Chief Fumudoh asserted that there was a clear difference between those who fought the Ijaw cause and others whose ambition were for personal gains.

He stressed that the state now witnesses politics without bitterness because the true Ijaw man accommodates all irrespective of political differences.

A former first lady of the old Rivers State, Dr. Ethel Diete-Spiff, commended the governor for breaking boundaries in execution of landmark projects, particularly the Nembe-Brass road, and urged him not to relent but do more.

Also, a member of the Bayelsa State Creation/Founding Fathers Forum, Prof. Ayebaemi Spiff, who commended the governor for his impactful developmental strides, poured her motherly blessings on Diri.

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She prayed that the Nembe-Brass road is completed in due time so she could drive on it before she leaves the stage.

Chairman of the occasion and leader of the Bayelsa Elders Council, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (rtd), described the November 11 date of the Bayelsa election as a symbolic day for victory.

John-Jonah, who is the immediate past deputy of the state, traced the date, 11:11, back to 1918 when the peace accord between Germany and the Allied Forces was signed, and called it the armistice day.

He said with the coming together of the founding fathers of Bayelsa and past leaders of the INC in support of Diri’s second term bid, victory was assured.

He noted that as elders and leaders of the Ijaw nation, they would not fold their arms and allow cultists, deceivers and pretenders to take over the state, adding that Bayelsa had made tremendous progress under Diri and was not ready to go back to the dark days.

John-Jonah, who described the governor as his brother and friend, said Diri was the agent of change that has taken the state out of darkness.

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In his response, Governor Diri thanked the leaders, elders and founding fathers of the Ijaw nation for honouring him with their endorsement, stating that they had been his pillar of support since he assumed office and that without them he would not have achieved much.

Diri said he had always enjoyed the company of the Bayelsa Elders Council and the Founding Fathers Forum, attending their meetings from time to time to seek counsel, and stressed that this has helped shape his decision to do more for the people.

He said: “This group (FSDD), to my mind, has the fathers, mothers, leaders and elders of the Ijaw nation. If you look at the array of personalities here, most of them had served the Ijaw nation in the old Rivers State and were even in the battle for the creation of Rivers State. So they have seen it all.

“The symbolic statements by those who have spoken, you will agree with me that they did not just speak from their human perspective. So, I like to thank you my fathers, mothers, elders and leaders. Without you, we could not have recorded the little we have achieved within these three years and still counting. You have been a pillar of support in several ways.”

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The Bayelsa helmsman agreed with the speakers that the state cannot change a winning team as all the gains of his administration would be neglected by the opposition due to their anti-people agenda.

The governor averred that having traversed the length and breadth of Ijawland, his primary objective is to write his name in gold before leaving office after eight years.

In his welcome address, president of the Friends of Senator Douye Diri, Prince Bodi Arerebo, said the mission of the group is to promote the goals of the Diri administration and that of the Ijaw nation.

Arerebo said having carried out an overall assessment of the administration, it discovered that relative peace, political tolerance, passionate development and non-existence of political thuggery and violence were its hallmark, and that these necessitated the group’s endorsement of the governor for a second term.

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