Former Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has said that he owed no one apologies for supporting the re-election of Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, in the November 11, 2023 off-cycle governorship poll in the state.
Dr. Jonathan also said it was the right thing to do as Governor Diri had the support of majority of the Bayelsa people to continue in office.
He stated this on Tuesday during the Yuletide visit of the governor and a high-powered delegation to his residence in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Wife of the former president, Dame Patience Jonathan, was also on hand to receive the governor and his entourage.
Jonathan explained that he publicly endorsed Diri’s candidature during the campaigns because of his visionary leadership demonstrated in handling the affairs of the state.
According to him, the governor deserved to be re-elected for his developmental efforts, particularly for ensuring peace and stability in the state.
He said: “I did what l did during the governorship election and l have no apologies to anybody because l know that the governor and his team were doing very well, especially in the area of peace and stability of the state. At a time, l became very worried.
“I have not said others did not do well. After all, l was also governor for a little less than one and a half years and also had my challenges.
“Since Diri came on board, the excesses of cult groups, particularly in Yenagoa, has reduced reasonably. If we must move forward, first and foremost, we must handle the issue of security in order to attract investors. I saw that the governor and his team have a vision and he needed to be encouraged to do another four-year term.”
Jonathan charged the governor to do more to meet the high expectations of the massive support base for his Prosperity Administration, adding that “to whom much was given, much was expected.”
In his response, Senator Douye Diri expressed appreciation to the former president for his support and endorsement, which contributed to the Peoples Democratic Party’s victory at the poll.
According to Diri, “your endorsement of a sitting governor was more than billions of naira. And so having secured that endorsement, we were very sure of victory. We are here to say a big thank you as that has brought stability in the state.
“So, with the kind of peace and security we have in our state, Bayelsa is ready for private investors to come in.”
The state’s helmsman expressed the optimism that Jonathan would have more roles to play in reconciling people in the country and the African continent to ensure peace and development.
Diri also thanked President Bola Tinubu for ensuring a peaceful, free and credible election in the state.
Dignitaries who accompanied the governor on the visit were National Assembly members, including Senator Konbowei Benson (Bayelsa Central Senatorial District), Hon. Fred Agbedi (Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency), Rodney Ambaowei (Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency) and Oforji Oboku (Kolokuma/Opokuma/Yenagoa Federal Constituency).
Others were Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange, one-time Chief Whip, House of Representatives, Ishiaku Bawa, Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei and members of the state executive council.
Also on the entourage were former state assembly members, including Dr. Tonye Isenah and Ebi Ololo, PDP caucus chairmen for Ogbia, Ekeremor and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas, namely Chief Innocent Afagha, Dein Binadoumene and Chief Isaac Kumokou respectively.
Others were the chairman of the state Civil Service Commission, Perekiye Buruboyefe, a former Commissioner for Health, Prof. Tarilah Tebepah as well as traditional rulers, including King Mozi Agara, Ibenanaowei of Kolokuma kingdom, paramount ruler of Sampou community, Chief Simon Usikoromoagha, and caretaker committee chairmen of Ogbia and Kolokuma/Opokuma councils, Ibu Mizodome and Inemo Orubide among others.