Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, got a rousing reception on his return to Yenagoa on Thursday evening as a mammoth crowd of jubilant Bayelsans turned out to welcome him.
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday dismissed the last batch of six appeals against the governor and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
Governor Diri, who was returning from Abuja, was apparently taken by surprise when he saw the large crowd of dancing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, supporters of the party, women and youths at the Igbogene entry point into the state capital.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said in a statement that the governor stepped out of his vehicle to acknowledge cheers from the excited Bayelsans and briefly addressed them before heading to the Government House where another large crowd was waiting at the gate.
Governor Diri thereafter headed to the King of Glory Chapel in Government House for a victory thanksgiving service.
In his remarks, the governor described the turn of events at the apex court where all six appeals against him and his deputy were dismissed as clear indication of God’s supremacy in the affairs of men.
For the umpteenth time, he called on the litigants to realise that the legal battles were now over and that it was time to place the state on the pedestal of development.
His words: “Again, let me call on our political adversaries and not our enemies that although it is their constitutional rights to do what they have done, they have however come to the end of the road.
“Whatever they can do for our state let them come on board. Our Prosperity Administration is still waving the olive branch, calling on them to join hands with us to advance the state together.
“If Bayelsa State is developing, it is to our glory. So my dear members of the Prosperity Administration and, of course, our great party, the PDP, please still call on your brothers and sisters on the other side that it is not late.
“I thank all of you, who despite the time still waited to receive me.”
He also appreciated the team of clergymen that have stood in the gap in prayers for his administration and the state.
Highpoint of the victory service was special prayers offered for the governor, his deputy and the state led by Archbishop Winning Willy Bunting.
Niger Delta Governors Will Work With Amnesty Boss, Says Diri
Meanwhile, Governor Douye Diri has expressed the willingness of the state and his other colleagues in the Niger Delta to collaborate with the Presidential Amnesty Office to achieve set goals.
Speaking in Government House, Yenagoa, when he played host to the Interim Coordinator of the programme, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), on Thursday night, he described the latter’s visit to the region as a step in the right direction.
Diri said there was need for collaboration between the office and governors of the region to enable the programme succeed.
The governor averred that it was not necessary to politicise the amnesty programme but rather ensure all stakeholders from the region forge a common front to achieve the desired goals.
He lauded the amnesty boss for the initiative of bringing the programme back home and advised him to set up a zonal office in the state for easy coordination.
The Bayelsa helmsman expressed worry over the preponderance of light weapons in the region and urged the amnesty coordinator to revisit the disarmament and demobilisation aspects of the programme.
He also condemned the looting of the amnesty training centre in Kaiama and urged youths of the region to embrace dialogue as a means of resolving issues rather than resorting to looting and protests over every slight provocation.
He lauded the sterling qualities of the amnesty boss and expressed confidence that with his wealth of experience, the amnesty programme will improve on the gains recorded and sustain the existing peace in the region.
His words: “This is not the time for us to politicise that programme. It is a programme that directly affects our youths in the various states that make up the presidential amnesty programme.
“These states, as you are aware, today have all the six governors in the Niger Delta region in the PDP. But let nobody deceive you that because they are PDP they are not ready to work with you. We are prepared to work with you. I in particular will ensure that you succeed in this amnesty programme, which we believe will add value to our youths.
“Let me also use this opportunity to address our youths, who at the slightest of provocation block the roads to protest. Please, it is not everything you go and protest about. There are different ways of achieving what you want to achieve.”
Earlier, the Interim Coordinator, Col. Dikio (rtd), said he was in Yenagoa as part of an initiative known as the “Back to the Niger Tour,” which aims to bring the amnesty programme from Abuja back to the region.
He said he was ready to work with the governors and other stakeholders in the region and solicited their support to change the narrative from that of violence and protests to consultation and dialogue as means of resolving issues.