Chaos, uncertainty and a possible feel of volatility were the basic descriptions of the atmosphere at the time of Senator Douye Diri’s “miraculous victory” in the governorship poll in Bayelsa State.
The days that followed contrasted sharply with the present. At a time many were predicting a descent into chaos, he worked to return stability to the state. And why not?
It’s said that when a leader seemingly divinely-enthroned comes along, a change in the status quo is expected. And Governor Diri made that change happen, in tune with his “no enemy” mentality in leadership, and the penchant to carry everyone along.
The new helmsman at the Creek Haven seat of power in Yenagoa needed the stability of the political, economic and social structures, to enable him to add value and get everything and everyone working again.
These vital structures are currently evident in improved social and economic security, and a rapidly decreasing crime rate in the state, as the populace look forward, with hope and anticipation, to a prosperous future.
The beginning of any project is laden with challenges, but the initial approach tends to point to the direction of the executor, and thus the confidence they give to the beneficiaries. On this score, the Diri administration is headed in the right direction!
The hiccups experienced during his swearing-in ceremony on February 14, 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic that heralded his administration, were a telltale sign that Governor Diri found himself in the depth of troubled waters from day one of his assumption of office.
Struggling to keep the state’s economic atmosphere stable, and set up a working system, in line with his vision for the state, was a herculean task for a young government. Still, the governor attempted to surmount the obstacles of the times by initiating various infrastructural projects.
So, upon the inauguration of his government, earnest efforts to properly light up the streets of Yenagoa began, and they are scheduled for completion within his first 100 days in office.
There is earmarking of commencement of work on the first phase of the Yenagoa ring-road project, and an International Shopping Mall in the state capital.
The ring road, connecting Igbogene to Onopa, is to serve as an alternative bypass for commuters when construction work commences on the Tombia-Etegwe flyover.
“What we have done is to ensure that this flyover is in our budget, commencing from this year. But before we construct it, we don’t want our people to suffer. If we start the flyover immediately, there would be a total blockage in the movement of people in Yenagoa,” Governor Diri said.
Governor Diri also promised a robust economy. He said: “We will create a vibrant economy that would propel wealth creation, economic boom and industrial revolution that would make our people work for themselves instead of waiting for monthly allocations from Abuja, which is not helping our people and state for now.”
On tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps the more tasking of its challenges thus far, the Diri government was proactive, by trying to limit the impact of the virus on the health and welfare of the people, and the state’s economy in general.
By quickly responding to infrastructure, equipment and personnel issues, the government showed it was not only prioritising the effectiveness of the health sector but also managing the COVID-19 situation with transparency and humanity in the forefront.
And pushed atop the scale of preference is continuous training of health workers, to measure up to best practices and standards; and the provision of welfare arrangements to ensure adequate service delivery.
These diligent measures enabled the government to implement a partial lockdown, without crippling businesses and livelihoods. So, the people have been going about their businesses amidst the restrictions put in place.
The effective regulation of hike in prices of goods across the country allowed the provision and distribution of palliatives and supports to the people, with no consideration of affiliations.
The fact that Senator Diri has managed to reach these heights without a properly constituted cabinet simply establishes the opinion that the “Miracle Governor” has a divine hand at work upon him, which he acknowledges.
That said, the achievements are not, in any way, based on chance or trial and error. They are a product of carefully thought-out plans and vision meeting opportunities, and the results of such a combination are never in doubt.
The governor’s background as a core public servant – having taught in public schools both in rural and urban areas, and rendered services in various capacities while journeying through the corridors of power – have prepared him for the current tasks.
And while his eye is on the ball, he has maintained that his drive stems from the yearning to serve and nothing more. Therefore, he has put, front and centre, the welfare and wellbeing of the people.
So, it is safe to predict a soaring degree of success in the next four years, when a proper cabinet is inaugurated to run with the governor’s vision of serving the people.
Winston Churchill said, “The price for greatness is a responsibility,” and Senator Douye Diri is creating an enviable profile of one who doesn’t shy away from responsibility.
With more wind in his sails, the young but impactful governor looks on course to deliver the dividend of democracy in abundance to the “not-hard-to-please” but very proud and good people of Bayelsa State.
• Abanum writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.