Few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari at the 11th APC NEC meeting in NICON Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, re-echoed his resolve to deliver credible and transparent electoral process to Nigerians before leaving office in 2023.
This resolve by President Buhari said, made possible by the advancement of Science and Technology where the electoral process or ballot cannot be brazenly rigged to declare a predetermined outcome.
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 -1527) once said that the end justifies the means. However, with this resolve by the President and the corresponding avowal by INEC, unjustifiable means can no longer lead to justifiable end.
The leadership recruitment process and emergence of a political office holder account to a greater extent the challenges of poverty, corruption, weak or failed institutions and bad governance.
As we continue to emphasize the need for good and strong institutions of government, we often overlook the importance of the personal qualities of those who make them work.
It is in this regard that I offer myself as humble servant without blemish to fly the APC flag in Rivers State and bring our party to a resounding victory in the 2023 general election.
As you all know, I am Bernard Mikko, a former member of the 4th National Assembly that represented the good and resilient Ogoni People of Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency from 1999-2003 on PDP platform.
I have offered myself to be Governor of Rivers State not as a supreme leader of the multi ethnic state with a population of over 5m people, but as a humble servant that will collaborate with the various cadres of traditional, cultural, social and political leadership that will define our collective priorities for the allocation of the resources for development and economic growth.
As a Legislator, I am conversant with the qualification for the office of a State Governor as enshrined in Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) and also in sync with the provisions of Article 20 iv(v) of the APC Constitution (October 2014: As Amended) which upholds the principle of Federal Character, gender balance, geopolitical spread and rotation of offices to ensure justice, equity and fairness within and between the constituency covered.
The import and relevance of Article 20 of the APC Constitution is strategically underscored by provisions of Sections 14(3&4), 16(2c) and 17(1, 2a, b, c and 3a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
My vision for Rivers State is to harness our resources for urgent and balanced development and economic growth, and not the acquisition of power for aggrandizement and brigandage.
Our state is largely littoral, with water everywhere but none clean and safe to drink. I will work with you to provide clean, safe and potable water for all; instead of champagne for a few. Our development plan will entail a modest program for security of both life and property, occasioned by the anxieties and schisms created by political campaigns of non existent geographical dichotomies, ethnic profiling and racial epithets within an otherwise peaceful and united Rivers people.
Consequently, we will embark on a rapid centrifugal mass transportation system that will encircle and create a ring road around the entire state, making it possible to travel from your country home to any part of the state within the shortest time or go to work in Port Harcourt within an hour of travelling from your home town. We will also generate adequate electricity supply from our huge natural gas reserve.
We will rigorously tackle the problem of urban blight, particularly the environmental degradation and the hazardous air pollution that has turned our traditional garden city into an unfortunate garbage city and our natural heritage an endangered ecosystem.
The acid rain and black soot that we are forced to contend with in past few years is a clear evidence of environmental terrorism meted out on our people, while all efforts of seeking redress and remediation as recommended in the UNEP report had not been adequately addressed.
As we yearn for cleaner environment, comprehensive family health care system will be introduced to tackle maternal and infant mortality while also enforcing public hygiene and modern health care protocols.
Our Educational systems will be rejigged to produce graduates with relevant technical and entrepreneurial skills that will create jobs and address our social problems and not turn out ineffectual graduates that will merely explain the societal problems rather than dominating and solving them.
In doing this, our administration will be anchored on the voluntary obedience of the rule of law and social values with the engagement of traditional institutions. Our judicial reform will be inclined to social justice with the consideration of non-custodian sentences to decongest and improve prison conditions and reduce costs.
As we begin the journey of reclaiming our state with consultation with our major stakeholders, delegates and party faithful, I appeal that you see this initiative as a significant source of hope to forge unity and prosperity to our people at home and in the Diaspora.
For far too long our people have been in the political Limbo. I enjoin you all to join hands with us to bring back our state to work for everyone again to the Glory of God Almighty.
It is in this respect that I humbly declare my intention to contest for the office of the Governor of Rivers State in the 2023 general election on the platform of the APC.
Recall that the former member of the House of Representatives has since collected and submitted his nomination/expression of Interest forms.