The Governor of Bayelsa Senator Douye Diri has said that his administration support transcended clans, communities, kingdoms and faiths.
Diri who spoke during the June 12, 2020 Democracy Day said that he identified many similarities in his emergence as Governor of Bayelsa State and the June 12 saga.
“I recall with deep sorrow, the blood of Martyrs of Nembe, innocent lives brutally terminated during the November 16 campaigns by anti-democratic forces – they will forever be recognised as our own heroes of democracy, Diri said.
Excerpt is the full text of the Democracy Day
Message by Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State
Dear Bayelsan and friends, on this Democracy Day, 12th of June, 2020, I am proud and humbled to send you this message on a day set aside to commemorate the restoration of democracy in Nigeria and acknowledge the sacrifices of our many pro-democracy heroes.
On this day, 27 years ago, a projected 14 million Nigerians – ignored tribe, religion, class, sectional proclivities and even inclement weather to elect their president with the hope of instituting representative governance and enjoying the dividends of democracy; a process that was, however, tragically annulled.
When it seemed that all efforts to restore representative governance had failed, in a clear testament that power absolutely comes from God, Nigeria miraculously returned to democratic rule in 1999, even though several lives perished. The ideals of this epochal process should thus naturally transcend ceremony and mere symbolism. Indeed, the June 12, 1993, annulled Presidential election has become a watershed in our political annals. Rigorously construed, it was more than the date of an election. It is indicative of the collective aspiration of Nigerians to enjoy the dividends of democracy and create a better life for themselves.
As I send my inaugural Democracy Day message to Bayelsans, I can identify many similarities in my emergence as governor of this state and the June 12 saga. I recall with deep sorrow, the blood of Martyrs of Nembe, innocent lives brutally terminated during the November 16 campaigns by anti-democratic forces – they will forever be recognised as our own heroes of democracy. Our support transcended clans, communities, kingdoms and faiths. Again, when the corporate will of the people had been disdainfully cast aside and election results concocted, our mandate was divinely restored at the 11th hour, by the God who resides in heaven and rules in the affairs of men.
That is why I recognise the divine duty of this government to be faithful to the covenant of Prosperity we have with the people of Bayelsa. In fittingly honouring June 12 as Democracy Day, I have no greater responsibility or obligation as governor of Bayelsa State than ensuring that we live in peace so that the prosperity we all covet will be quickly manifest. That is why this administration is committed to embracing the spirit of inclusiveness and equity for all our people without considering party or political tendencies. In our unity lies our strength.
This tendency has been marked in our fight against COVID 19. While keeping us safe for the better days ahead, we have continued to take steps and make deliberate decisions that have cushioned the burden imposed by the pandemic, without discrimination.
We shall continue to extend a hand of fellowship to all our aggrieved brothers and sisters to join us in building the Bayelsa of our dreams. It is interesting to close this message by paraphrasing the immortal words of M.K. O Abiola: “Those with whom I have sought to dialogue have remained like stones, neither stirred to show loyalty to the collective decision of the people of their own state nor to observe God’s injunction that they should exhibit justice and fair play in all their dealings with their fellowmen.”
I wish to say in conclusion that I am conscious of the task before us, gratified by the confidence you have bestowed in me, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our martyrs of Nembe to bring us to this point and will continue to covet your earnest prayers and wise counsel. Be assured that I will not undermine or take your mandate for granted.
We must remain faithful to the ideals of those who have sacrificed for our democracy to thrive, in the understanding that in our collective responsibility lies our collective success.
God bless Bayelsa State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.