By Godknows Boladei Igali
Today gives me a distinct opportunity to thank God for his goodness and mercies over my life and over the numerous doors that have opened for me to serve our country, my state, Bayelsa and our generation indifferent capacities.
Each of these engagements both nationally and internationally, you would agree with me, afforded me robust opportunities to build up myself in numerous ways for further service whenever duty calls.
One of such demands of duty for me, at this crucial time, is to deploy my composite experience, modest as it may be, to the quest of rapid advancement of Bayelsa State; the optimal improvement in the well-being and standard of living of our people.
With the purchase of the necessary documents for nomination and Expression of Interest to contest the election, I again, offer myself to serve.
None can claim to have any magic wand or possess special gifts of reinventing the wheel. However, we do know that the journeys, which we have taken and the results which we have seen, be they positive or negative are always the best teachers.
From the age of 22, when I joined the Nigerian Diplomatic Service and at the age of 52 in 2015 when I exited, having attained the highest rank of being a Career Ambassador at different duty posts and the time when I left as a very senior Federal Permanent Secretary, I have been able to garner experience in state building and seeing the course of reformation, rebuilding and transformation of nations.
This has always been under the hand of serious minded, focused and determined leadership. This is more so in this 21st century when nations find themselves in a greater burden of competing for very scarce resources for the improvement of the lives of their people. These would impel leaders with visionary calling and courage, leaders with character and determination and leaders with the depth and drive to bring about change to emerge on the scene. Even where odds exist, to take their peoples, communities and nations out of the shackles of stunted growth and poverty on a quantum leap into the future.
It is on this account, that our main Work Plan in Bayelsa, if given the opportunity to serve, would be on ensuring that the state leads not just Nigeria in reasonably attaining some of the irreducible standards of modern living as well articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The quest for attainment of the SDG goals, which by the way appears to cover every aspect of qualitative and beneficial human existence and environmental order, would be a guiding benchmark.
I have acronym our campaign credo as “PROJECTBAYELSA: (For the Ijaw Cause, Development & Regional Integration). I therefore, on this occasion, provide a bird’s-eye views, or rather in an annotated manner, a few issues central in our plan. These include, but not limited to:
* Physical Security and Peaceful existence (Home grown and community based security, ADR and Dialogue focused solutions, ICT and application of New Technological solutions)
*Human Security and Human Development (rebuilding and modernization of schools and health facilities for universal coverage, comprehensive health insurance and social welfare, special maternal care, children welfare and nutrition support programme), massive public housing and robust/affordable mortgage scheme.
Wide scale Infrastructural development (urban renewal, roads, embedded gas based power supply agenda and energy efficiency, water supply, optimization of Bayelsa Cargo Airport, Agge Port, specialized harbours, etc), tourism development assets through modern and innovative funding strategies
*Entrepreneurship and low carbon/green Economic Growth, with special focus on Micro, Small and medium sized businesses incubation as well as Downstream oil and Gas Agriculture, The Marine Economy (Deep Sea Fishing, Shipping & cabbotage Service and Mineral resource exploitation),Innovation and Technology, Youth and Women inclusive and empowerment programmes.
*Innovative Infrastructural and Social Investment Funding Strategies.
*Environmental Security & Ecological remediation programme, (revisit the expected Report of Bayelsa Oil and Environment Commission under Archbishop John Sentamu as well as 2012 UNEP), tackle climate change, searise and ocean surge, as well as coastal erosion
*The Ijaw Question as fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria (language, identity, cultural revival, safety and peace)
*Promotion of Regional Integration (intra South-South, South-South/South-East, etc).
*The Nigerian Question. (Advance the Restructuring, Resource control and fiscal federalism, devolution, devolution of power).
In the days ahead, I will unveil details of my work plan and the time lines which we have allocated to each of the various activities. We also expect to have conversations with various stakeholders on all pertinent issues. I also look forward to clearly issued-based debates and conversations with other aspirants as we march towards candidature.
Igali is a governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Bayelsa State.