MY MANIFESTO IS WRITTEN ON THE FACES OF THE YOUTHS, MEN AND WOMEN OF BAYELSA EAST
Ahead of the February 16 general elections, the people of Nembe-Bassambiri have thrown their weight behind the senatorial bid of Hon Iniruo Owazi Wills, describing him as one of the finest and credible candidates in the race.
Hundreds of youths, women, elders and leaders of the community poured out into the streets to welcome one of their own who like his father, the late Edward Owazi Wills, has over the years put smiles on the faces of the people through various development initiatives.
As Will's entourage glided through the town, Saturday, shouts of elation and joy split the air with resounding assurances victory.
The Paramount ruler of the community and Chairman Council of Chiefs, Chief S. D. Ben-Koru while receiving the Bayelsa East Senatorial Transformation (BEST) Team, described Iniruo Owazi Wills as a man of peace who, based on antecedents , would promote the interests of the community when elected.
He recalled that during the 2003 elections, the community lost a sizeable number of graduates to political violence and called on all candidates from the community to embrace peace to avoid a repeat of history.
Chief Ben-Koru observed that given that there were other Senatorial candidates from the community, his cabinet was already working out modalities to get all the candidates to sign a peace accord which would bind and guide their conduct throughout the elections and that anyone who did not keep the peace would be held responsible for the breach.
He advised all the senatorial candidates from the community to explore the window of coming together and joining forces to adopt a single candidate in order to trounce the opponents.
Earlier, the Senatorial candidate for Bayelsa East on the platform of Labour Party, Hon Iniruo Owazi Wills had stated that the visit was part of efforts to build support for his candidacy and to to formally inform his primary constituency.
He said he was motivated to join the race when he realised that poor representation of the Senatorial district had, over the years, cost the area huge environmental, economic and infrastructural deficit.
He said he is therefore offering himself to provide incomparable quality representation at the Senate to change the narrative and advance the interests of the zone which he described as the premier senatorial district but which nonetheless has remained under the painful grip of underdevelopment due to inept leadership.
"From 1999 to 2019 is 20 years and enough time for us to take stock of our achievements as a people and to ask ourselves if we are making progress or not. We need to ask ourselves if we are satisfied with the kind of representation we have had. This is not a manifesto night. But travelling from Yenagoa through Ogbia to Nembe with all the bad roads and the clear absence of critical infrastructure for our people , the manifesto is written all over the senatorial district on the faces of our youths.. This is the manifesto; the biting poverty, the poor roads, the unemployment, and in some cases absence of roads...am not canvassing for small incremental progress. We have been made to believe that better life is not possible, that our youths should continue to be jobless. But this is not true. We have come to say the BEST is possible. "
He said the Senatorial project for him was not just a political ambition but rather a movement that is sweeping across the entire zone with the youths, women, students and community stakeholders and influences being critical stakeholders and volunteering support to bring about lasting transformation and development of the area.
Wills who is a lawyer and environmental rights activist, remarked that in order to achieve this knowledge was key as according to him "When there is lack of knowledge beggars will ride and princes will walk on foot. "
He noted that by virtue of the political and historical place of Bayelsa East in the political economy of Nigeria, the zone ought to have witnessed the kind of development obtainable in highly developed cities such as Dubai where Sheiks or traditional rulers were ranked among high net worth individuals .
The former Information commmisioner recalled that all through his adult life he had been involved in community service beginning from the struggle for recognition of his hometown Oluasiri as host community to Shell and as Legal Adviser to the Nembe se Council of Chiefs and as Special Assistant to the Managing Director of NDDC where he attracted several projects to Nembe and Ogbia including roads, such as the Yenagoa-Ogbia-Nembe Road as well as shore protection in Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri.
He disclosed that he is currently representing Nembe in a matter involving OML 29, the largest onshore oil field in Nigeria with a 120,000 barrels per day production capacity to get the operators relocate their head office from Lagos to Nembe, the host community among other fair demands, in line with global practise.
He stated that part of the reasons for the growing spate of violence in the Niger Delta was the lack of jobs for the youths whilst the resources from the area have been deployed elsewhere in Lagos to build the first, second, third and now fourth mainland bridges at extremely huge cost, emphasising that such clear injustices must be stopped through non-violence means.
"So the mandate of getting our people actively involved in economic activities is what I've come to seek so that we can draw infrastructural projects to Bayelsa East...politics is about interest and we must stand up to say before the budget is passed each year certain projects that are due to our people must be captured," he explained
He said the people of Nembe, Ogbia and Brass were highly industrious even during the colonial era as the area was then known as Oil Rivers Protectorate which depicted the huge volume of transatlantic trade in palm oil and other goods but regretted that today even with the historic commercial discovery of crude oil in the area, the people still suffered untold economic hardship and environmental pollution.
He said it was time for Nigeria and the oil multinationals to say thank you to Ogbia, Nembe, Brass and Akassa people of Bayelsa East for feeding her and not getting anything in return but pain and suffering due to poor representation.
He said he was part of efforts to bring the Nigeria Agip Oil Company to justice for the continuous discharge of harmful produce water into the Brass Canal for over 45 years.
Wills thanked the Council of Chiefs for receiving him at short notice and promised to continue delivering quality service to his fatherland when elected.
The Bayelsa State chairman of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Ebiowei Olomu while handing over the official campaign banner of the BEST team to the paramount ruler, thanked the chiefs and people of Bassambiri for the rousing welcome and expressed hope that Iniruo Wills will win the Senatorial polls come February 16, 2019.