2023 Bayelsa Gubernatorial Polls: The Governor That Bayelsans Are Expecting
Bayelsa State has had many governors in over twenty years of its creation, ranging from military administration to democratic governance but each administration comes with high expectations from Bayelsans.
As the date for the gubernatorial elections draws close, residents are also building their expectations and hoping that things would be better through qualitative leadership in the state.
According to INEC, there are about eleven candidates contesting to occupy the number one seat at Creek Haven come Valentine’s day in 2024. Although, campaigns are not yet in full swing, Bayelsans can only feel the impact of three candidates criss-crossing the length of the state holding consultative meetings.
Top on the top three contestants is incumbent Governor, Senator Douye Diri from Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government area of the state. Since democratic governance took root in Bayelsa state as well the nation at large, Douye Diri has been a re-occuring decimal holding various positions until his miraculous swearing in as the fourth elected governor of the Ijaw state.
His active role in the pan-Ijaw group, Ijaw Nation Congress, INC as Publicity Secretary during the clamour for the creation of an Ijaw state from old Rivers State makes him a voice to reckon with when it comes to self determination and struggle. He served under all elected governors with impeccable track record before serving in both chambers of the National assembly.
Douye Diri is also a voice to reckon with when it comes to struggle of self determination and resources in the state.
Although, many argue that Governor Douye Diri in the last 44 months have failed to deliver on his key promises despite the huge allocation accruing to state, a section say, he deserves a second unlike Timipre Sylva of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Chief Timipre Sylva is tagged as Douye Diri”s arch-contender for the seat of power as Bayelsans go to the polls come November 11. Sylva served as a federal minister under Former President Buhari’s administration after several failed attempts to be governor since he was ousted out of power in 2011 under the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He is seeking to serve his second tenure in office but the stake against him are high.
The third popular candidate is Engineer Udengs Eradiri of the Labour Party.
He is from the same senatorial zone with Douye Diri, we do not know if this is an advantage to his success in the elections, that we will find out when the polls close at 3pm on election day.
Eradiri, like Diri are two equivocal voices on issues bothering on the emancipation of Ijaw people from economic and political marginalization.
A former IYC President with several controversies surrounding his policies and tenure, he is an energertic young man who wants to bring dynamism and speed for the development of Bayelsa State.
As an engineer by training, he believes that he has what it takes to change the chart and plot the graph between the X and Y axis to bring development to Bayelsans.
Will his antecedents as a IYC president, former Environment Commissioner and Special adviser on Youths to the MD of NDDC work in his favor?
With these personalities vying for the office of the governor, the man on the street thinks otherwise, the woman in the market also has an opinion on the kind of person that should occupy that seat such that they would feel the impact of governance.
A visit to the streets of the state capital, Yenagoa to speak to some residents show that they have high expectations from the government on every sector of the economy such that their livelihood is improved.
Many residents speak on the importance of improving the aesthetics of the state capital inorder for it to have a look that can compete favourably with big cities in the country.
Mr Simon Ebikebina who resides in Igbogene community wants the incoming leadership to build more internal roads such that there is more connectivity and flow of traffic.
Mr Pregha Davies speaks passionately on the need for the government to find solution to the flooding issue in the state which usually not just displace people but causes poverty.
In Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area, Mrs Grace Ebizimo also emphasized on the flooding problem in the state noting that her local government area is usually worst hit by floods hence, the incoming administration should make it a priority.
Miss Preye Martins who resides in Azikoro community is expecting the government to restore power supply to help the growth and survival of small businesses.
Another resident, Mr Daniel Rogers is of the opinion that more should be done in the health sector through the renovation and building of state health centres.
Mrs Ebidisabofa Doupere wants the governor to provide portable water for residents, expressing worry over the funds spent on buying water from private water vendors.
With all these expectations and many more from the people, it has become expedient for the next governor to make the interest of the people a priority as the go out to cast their votes in anticipation of a better Bayelsa.