Screening Of South-South PDP Governorship Aspirants: Exercise Tedious But Democratic, Family Affair – Governor Douye Diri
The Chairman of the Screening Committee of South-South governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for next year’s general elections, Governor Douye Diri, said on Friday that while the screening exercise of the governorship aspirants was tedious it was democratic and was also family affair.
The governor of Bayelsa State spoke in a press interview at the PDP Zonal Secretariat on Aba Road, Port-Harcourt, at the end of the exercise on Friday.
Governor Diri said: “(It was) tedious but very democratic, quite transparent and a family affair. Men of integrity in this committee and the panel has done its job with all the details observed and now we have successfully completed our assignment”.
The Chairman of the committee said that a total of 56 governorship aspirants were screened with one of them not turning up.
According to him, there were 17 governorship aspirants from Rivers, 15 from Delta, 11 from Cross River and 14 from Akwa Ibom State.
Governor Diri said that the party would put forward its best as governorship candidate in each of the four states for next year’s general election with Edo and Bayelsa States off-season as they would not take part in the election.
The Chairman of the committee said: “The expectations are that we are putting forth our best and virtually all of them who appeared before us have what it takes and are indeed among the best in our party across the four states. All of those who appeared before us and we have screened we are sure that whoever that emerges as the candidate of our party in each of the states we are putting our first eleven into the game”.
He described the process as a family affair and advised those who may not win the primary not to defect to another party but remain and support the party even for change of leadership at national level.
Speaking to reporters after screening at the zonal secretariat, a foremost governorship aspirant in Rivers State, Bro. Felix Obuah, said that he has capacity to lead the state and promised to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.
The governorship aspirant said: “I have the capacity to lead the state and I’m very sure by the special grace of God I will make it. They should expect good governance. My name is Go Round and my interest is to make sure that this wealth of this state goes round”.
Also speaking to reporters, another governorship aspirant, Chief (Dr.) George Thompson Sekibo, described the screening as simple and said that his chances of winning the primary election were very bright.
He said that he’s in the race to win. He also said he had no problem with the issue of consensus candidate saying it’s part of processes in the electoral act.
Also speaking, Chief David Briggs, one of the governorship aspirants said that the committee did a very good job describing the process as “highly transparent”.
He also said that the current administration has laid “very reasonable economic and social foundation. In other words, the present administration has created economic growth poles and centres. Our responsibility as an incoming (administration) is to aggregate these economic poles that have been created by the governor and push it towards the path of development”.
He also said he would move Rivers State from consumption-based economy to production-based economy to reduce unemployment and stamp out insecurity.
On his part, another governorship aspirant, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, said that the screening “went well” saying he was ready to serve the people yet again.
Dr. Dansgogo said: “I think everything went well. It’s a simple process of letting the screening committee know that we are ready to serve. Of course, they know we are eminently qualified. So it was a very seamless and normal process”.
He said if he becomes governor of Rivers State there would be consolidation “of the development you are witnessing in Rivers State. I’m sure you are all witnesses to what is happening now in Rivers State: the infrastructural transformation that is going on in Rivers state which of course I’ve been part of over the years. What I intend to do as governor of Rivers State is to raise the level, is to add the aspects that have not yet been added, a kind of completion agenda, a consolidation agenda”.
He said he would embark on job creation and industrial development adding that he would also embark on rural and urban planning.
Another governorship aspirant, Senator Lee Maeba, also spoke to journalists after he was screened.
He described the screening process as transparent and free and fair and said he had been tested and trusted saying everybody knows who he is.
On his determination to become governor of the state, he said: “The determination is borne out of who I am”.
The governorship aspirant said he had been member of the party from foundation and had even passed through troubling times in the party.
He said democracy should be built based on ideology and described himself as a democrat.
One of the governorship aspirants, Dr. George Kelly, also described the process as peaceful and coordinated and said if elected as governor his administration would be about consolidation and continuity.
A female aspirant, Barr. Abbie Atedoghu, while speaking with newsmen said she was not afraid of being in the governorship race as female aspirant.
She said: “The constitution of Nigeria has made it clear that we are all free to express ourselves so the men are there, the women are also there. Other states have more than one woman. Cross River has three. Akwa Ibom I think has two. Rivers State has one. It makes no difference”.
Asked about what she would do as governor, she said: “The incumbent governor has done what he’s able to do. We have to continue from where he stopped. We are looking at a state that will drive an economy that will be all-inclusive. We are looking at a state that will woo investors into the state. We are looking at a state that will begin to build on industries and go into real production”.
She said her administration would drive an agenda that would be all-inclusive.
Governorship aspirants from Delta State also spoke.
Senator James Manager, one of the governorship aspirants, said that he was confident he would be cleared and asked party delegates to vote for him in the primary.
He said Delta State would be a better place if he wins governorship election.
He described himself as veteran politician saying that he knows about problems facing the Niger Delta.
Also speaking, Deputy Governor and governorship aspirant, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, said that if he wins primary and goes on to win the election he would consolidate on achievements made by the current administration led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
A governorship aspirant from Cross River State, Amb. Wilfred Bomson, said that he would take people of the state out of poverty saying that Cross River State is not where it should be.
He said that the state had untapped potentials saying he has programme for tourism among other sectors.
According to him, he wants the world to think Cross Rivers State always in tourism.
Other governorship aspirants who spoke include Imah Nsa Adegoke from Cross River, Lucky Idike from Delta and Senator Albert Akpan Bassey from Akwa Ibom State among others.
Security personnel were in their numbers at the South-South Zonal Secretariat of the party and the exercise was conducted amidst tight security.
One of the governorship aspirants in Rivers State, Hon. Farah Dagogo, a federal lawmaker however was not screened.
Although he came for screening security personnel later took him away preventing him from getting screened.
The government of Rivers State had earlier declared him wanted for allegedly sending alleged cultists to cause disruption at PDP screening exercise at State Secretariat of the party.
On his arrest he was charged to court on two counts of conspiracy to commit felony and cultism and is under police custody by direction of the court.