Due To His Exceptional Performance, Douye Diri Will Triumph
By Adewole Kehinde
“Leaders are made; they are not born. They are made by hard work, which is the price that all of us must pay to achieve any worthwhile goal”. ~ Vince Lombardi
On April 12, 2023, Douye Diri clinched the ticket of the PDP for a second term in office; the election is scheduled for November 11. The big question that remains is: how was Diri’s performance in his first term?
In this article, I will outline the performances that are giving him an edge over other contestants in the state.
Only a small percentage of Nigerians who reside outside of Bayelsa State can ostensibly explain Governor Douye Diri’s behavior. Since taking office on February 14, 2020, the laid-back governor has proven to be as godlike as any Nigerian governor could possibly hope to be. More than three years after taking over from Henry Seriake Dickson, Diri has already become a legend in the minds and hearts of Bayelsans.
His disposition has been that of a united and rancor-free state. This was obvious in his inaugural speech, in which he said, “If they preach hate, exude love,” so he is truly working on that speech.
Going by the circumstances of his emergence after that landmark Supreme Court judgment and the reactions thereafter, the anticipation was that peace and security would elude the state for a long time, but he quickly rallied to douse the tension and took firm control of the security architecture of the state.
He later went on to enact the Community Safety Corps Law and appointed General Eric Angaye as the coordinator, who didn’t leave anybody in doubt that he was here to make the state peaceful and enable social and economic activities to thrive. The General, therefore, wasted no time in putting together a robust arrangement that has since brought out the best of the state’s internal security outfit, “Operation Door Akpo.”
He has transformed the men and officers to be highly disciplined, responsive, and on high alert at all times. Response to distress calls is not only prompt but monitored from the command-and-control center of the Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi Security Center, situated in the heart of the Government House.
Governor Douye Diri has advanced the state’s level of existence such that it stands on equal footing as regards breadth of development with any other State in Nigeria. Diri has also proved himself to be a patient and considerate governor.
Now let me go into some of the achievements proper: Tombia Roundabout, which hitherto was a den of criminals, is now gorgeous to behold. That was where ladies’ bags and phones were snatched; drug dealers’ and petty thieves’ abode is now a serene and lovely environment.
Nightlife has become safer as the Bayelsa volunteers’ operatives and the internal security personnel curiously watch out for criminals and criminal activities on a 24/7 basis. The completion of the second bridge and the lighting system at night has further enhanced the aesthetics of the place. The level of completion of the West and Central Senatorial District roads is extraordinary.
Diri’s huge intervention in the power sector cannot be silenced. The Niger Delta Power Holding injection substation at Ogboloma, which was abandoned, was reactivated out of necessity to supply uninterrupted power supply to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital at a time when movement even within the state was prohibited during COVID-19.
This was done at a considerable expense, as the hospital was designated an isolation center. Today, barring a loss of supply from the grid, the Gbarain communities in Yenagoa have the highest availability of supply.
Diri’s administration equally intervened in revamping the 60MVA 132/33kV Transmission Substation. I was told his administration had to procure the failed parts on special and priority orders, air freight them from China due to the urgency, and work day and night to accomplish a task that ordinarily would have lasted six months in eight weeks. This has made the state, which had only one transmission substation, have two, thus making the power supply flexible. These are very silent but salient projects that I thought should be brought to the fore.
On education, we should not forget that Gov. Diri is a product of a teacher and also one who taught for many years in secondary school before joining politics. So, he places education in a special place in his heart.
Having been a member of the council at the University of Maiduguri and one who understands the need to train and develop the right skills for the 21st-century world, he is using education as a tool to confront the development challenges of the state by investing in specialist educational skills. He is striving to develop skills that are employable both locally and internationally.
He has since embraced the STEM education philosophy by building one technical college in each of the eight local governments with one super internship high-skill center that will harvest and advance the very talented for productivity and self-reliance. Five of them are very ready to go by this current session with exchange programs with skill centers in India and Germany.
He embarked on an on-the-spot assessment of education facilities across the state. With the first-hand information the tours provided, he told the state executive council that the situation was unacceptable and vowed to change the narrative.
Some of the primary schools in rural areas had only a teacher and a head teacher. He gave a marching order to embark on massive recruitment of teachers to boost teaching as well as massive construction and rehabilitation of schools across the state.
Some of these schools include Yenezue Primary School, which was built from scratch. Others are Biogbolo, Igbogene, a brand-new school at Opolo along AIT Road, UPE Ovom, and a lot more that are verifiable. It may also interest you to know that the government engaged the services of Microsoft in the training of 12,000 teachers in ICT.
This is borne out of the desire to update the teachers with contemporary skills, knowledge, and competencies in ICT for the first time in the history of educational development in the state. We are happy, and teachers are happy today that they are being fondly described as digital teachers.
The attention of the governor was drawn to the plight of primary school teachers in the state, ranging from non-promotion to non-payment of a backlog of 18 percent minimum wage arrears owed since 2011. Without wasting time, he approved and instructed immediate implementation.
Gov. Diri is in a hurry to place Bayelsa in the fast lane of an entrepreneurship-driven economy and promote a culture of skill acquisition that will equip the beneficiaries to easily fit into the global job market or become entrepreneurs from day one of their graduations.
This is part of his determination to enthrone his vision for prosperity, as most of the army of unemployed youths will be meaningfully engaged through such practical skills.
To cushion the issue of perennial flood disasters in the State, Gov. Diri created a Directorate of Flood and Erosion Control to prepare an adequate response in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment to open up blocked drains, canals, and water channels.
The Bayelsa state government was praised for building a brand-new, cutting-edge bus terminal at Igbogene Community in the state’s Yenagoa Council area.
The Governor also provided vehicles to transport travelers from the terminal to the different parts of the state.
It is heartwarming to mention that so far, the state-owned Niger Delta University has, within the period under review, secured the accreditation of 70 courses at a stretch, while other institutions like the state-owned School of Nursing, the College of health technology, the college of education have all benefited from similar gestures.
Every worker can attest to the fact that Governor Diri is a worker-friendly governor. Regular payments of salary every month, pension payments, and the backlog of gratuities have made both retired and active civil servants happy and motivated. Just a few months ago, he set aside the sum of One Billion Naira for the payment of pension arrears and gratuities. This is in addition to the standing order of N250 million a month that has been meticulously implemented right from the day he assumed office.
The training and retraining of workers for optimum performance is a cardinal goal of the Diri administration.
He also approved payment of the state’s own part of counterpart funding for healthcare workers across the eight LGAs to boost the morale of primary health workers. Today, they have all benefited from various welfare packages and allowances alongside the N30,500 minimum wage that has been fully implemented since he came on board.
To cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal on residents of the state, Governor Douye Diri inaugurated 106 vehicles to boost the intracity transport system in Yenagoa, the state capital, and its environs.
Diri, who assured the people of the state that he is working to ensure that everyone experiences prosperity, called on the operator of the scheme not to politicize the process of employing drivers to man the vehicles.
Time is the revealer of secrets. Now that many of Diri’s promises to the Bayelsan people have been fulfilled, many people have nothing but praise for him.
With over 90% of performance so far, Gov. Diri is poised for victory and a second term in the November 11, 2023, gubernatorial elections in the State.
Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846, firstname.lastname@example.org