ONE of the governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Amb. Godknows Igali, in an interview with Vanguard spoke among others on how he will consolidate on the achievements of Governor Seriake Dickson, if elected.
What do you think you can do differently in the state?
I wouldn’t say what I can do differently. Governor Dickson has done well. Government is a continuum and he (Dickson) has done his beat and haven done his beat, statutorily he has to go for somebody to come in and whoever comes in should not just do his beat, but twice or thrice of Dickson, and that is what I will bring on board.
Why do I say so? I joined Federal Service as a carrier diplomat at the age of 22. I left Federal Service at the age of 55. Within these 33 years I gathered robust exposure, training and experience. I can say boldly that among my generation of civil servants, there are a few that have the experience I have because I was opportune to work with different heads of state, ministers of Foreign Affairs, Power, and Water. I was exposed to serve as Head of Mission in both the African setting and in the industrialized countries of the world.
What are the areas you think need quick intervention?
Number one is peace and security. It is the soft stratum for any development. If you don’t have peace nobody will come around you. I was Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta at a time. The word ‘Amnesty’ everybody is talking about today is a word from my mouth.
On 27 February 2007 at the meeting of Presidential Initiative on Coastal States I said Mr President for us to move further and bring back oil production from 800 barrels per day to two million plus per day, we need to get the boys to lay down their arms we must give them amnesty because they have engaged in hostile actions with the military. They have carried arms against the law. Finally, the proclamation was done.
All the militants with no exception including Tompolo, Ateke, freedom fighters, and agitators see me as a father because I was forthright with them, I told them which boundaries they cannot cross during the period I was in charge dealing with them on behalf of the President.
Another thing the Bayelsa State needs critically is economic development. Bayelsa till today is still largely a civil service state. Well, the Governor has come up with some designs on industrial zones that should be created in the state, which is the duty of the next governor to drive. It has to be somebody who when he goes to the World Bank they know him, and as Permanent Secretary Ministry of Power, we have a lot of projects that are funded by the World Bank and it was at my time as Permanent Secretary Ministry of Water Resources there were a lot of projects around the country from foreign investments, World Bank, and African Development Bank.
The third thing is job creation. We have to be able to garner resources that can go into the micro, small and medium level engagements for business growth and development. Bayelsa is one of the states with endowments. We must be able to benefit from it, use it for job creation for our young people on the streets. We are going to do it and we know who will bring investment.
The other thing is infrastructural development. If you put all the money of the state into infrastructure it cannot work. There must be a more ingenious way of bringing resources through private public partnership.
On the issue of internal democracy, do you have confidence in your party, the PDP?
The Peoples Democratic Party is a party with big background, as at now it is the most experienced, national and versatile party in Nigeria. The party has learned its lessons from the electoral defeat in 2015. The PDP is more than any other party has the capacity to ensure that within its ranks the primaries are conducted with fairness and equity.
For Bayelsa State we have a Governor who is the leader of the party, then we have the former President who is also the leader of the party at the national level. These are men of great integrity and serious mindedness.
So I believe that they will be able to do the right thing leading rest of the party to state executive council.
Under me Bayelsa will transform. One of the main things I want to do as governor is to galvanize the collective strength of the Niger Delta people into one huge productive force and come up as a strong region that cooperates with the South-East to create wealth and prosperity for our people. We can’t do it alone we need our neighbours. So in few years we will see our states become like Dubai or Singapore.
Do you think you will be given a level playing ground before, during and after the primary election your party will conduct?
Yes. That is my expectation. Like I said we have two senior partners; my Governor and the former President who is my boss and friend, he knows my passion for development to change the narrative.