*Politics Not War – Former President
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors of Bauchi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo were among dignitaries at the special victory thanksgiving of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in Yenagoa on Saturday.
The event held at the magnificent 15,000-seater Ecumenical Centre to commemorate the February 13, 2020 Supreme Court verdict that ushered in Senator Diri as governor of the state as well as the first anniversary of his administration also had in attendance the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, Senator Ita Enang, National President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, General Overseer, The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement, Pastor Lazarus Muoka among other clerics.
Immediate past governor of the state, Senator Seriake Dickson, was represented by a former Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Kemela Okara.
Soeaking at the event, Governor Diri expressed appreciation to God Almighty for the miracle that brought him to office, saying he would forever remain grateful and committed to the service of the state.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as also thanking the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court Justices for their courage in delivering such a landmark judgement.
A five-man panel of the apex court upheld the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which had disqualified David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the grounds that his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The court consequently ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo.
The court also ordered that INEC immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread the winner of the election.
Diri said the Justices proved that the judiciary remained the last hope of the common man.
He equally appreciated all those who stood by him after the election and before the apex ourt ruling, especially Senator Dickson, Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel and his Oyo counterpart, Seyi Makinde.
He said they all allowed God to use them to make his dream of becoming governor a reality.
The state helmsman urged people of the state to always exude love and embrace one another irrespective of party affiliations, stressing that the development of the state was bigger than any group or individual consideration.
His words: “They say the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. For us, the judiciary was our last hope. We thank all those who contributed one way or another toward ensuring our victory.
“Let me again urge Bayelsans not to see those in APC as enemies. Today they are there but tomorrow they might be in PDP. As I speak, many of our brothers in the APC are returning to the PDP.”
Former President Jonathan, in his goodwill message, urged politicians to see politics as a means of developing the people and not warfare.
The former Nigerian leader stressed that at the end of every political context, politicians should sheathe their swords and work with the winner.
He commended Diri for his non-discriminatory style of politics, which he said has seen him embrace everybody regardless of political leanings.
He also called for support from people of the state to enable the Diri administration succeed.
“My message today is that those of us in politics should learn to play politics as politics and not war. At the end of the process, let us come together and support whoever emerges winner.
“I thank our governor for opening his mind to accept everybody irrespective of political divide. I urge him to do more,” Jonathan said.
Recounting his experience, the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, recalled that their hope was dashed but God served them victory.
He said they are grateful to God and the people of the state for their solidarity during the difficult moments that led to the victory at the Supreme Court.
In their goodwill messages, Governors Seyi Makinde, Udom Emmanuel and Senator Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State as well as Prince Secondus all commended Governor Diri for his strides in office and expressed confidence that he would transform the state while calling on Bayelsans to rally round him.
Delivering a sermon on the topic: “It is The Lord’s Doing,” Pastor Lazarus Muoka described Diri’s emergence as divine.
He noted that with man there were limitations but with God all things were possible and urged people of the state to turn to God for salvation.
Pastor Muoka commended the governor and the people for the attitude of thanksgiving and prayed that God would enable Diri fulfil his purpose for the state.
Others present at event include member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon, Fred Agbedi, Hon. Sunday Katung alongside former and current National Assembly members, Speaker and members of the state House of Assembly and the state executive council.
The event also featured performances by Blessing Chinwo, Minister Daniel and other gospel artistes as well as choirs.