By Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
Members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Monday paid a solidarity visit to Governor Douye Diri following the ruling of the state’s election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja.
The lawmakers declared total support for the governor and his appeal of the tribunal judgment.
The Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said in a statement that the delegation was led by the Speaker, Abraham Ingobere, and accompanied by the House of Representatives member representing the Ogbia Federal Constituency, Fred Obua.
The visit came just as Governor Diri urged the Assembly to go ahead with the screening of his commissioner-nominees, saying he would swear them in after the exercise.
“I hear you are having some august visitors on Tuesday, August 18. Go ahead and perform your legislative duties by screening them, and I will swear them in as commissioners. The state is already in motion and we are not going back,” Diri said.
Continuing, Ingobere said the House suspended its plenary when they received the news of the judgment.
He emphasised that as a God-fearing leader, the Assembly would stand solidly behind the governor because he had proved that he had the interest of Bayelsans at heart.
The Speaker said: “Your Excellency, the House is solidly behind you and we believe strongly that it is the Supreme Court that will give the final judgment on what happened today.
“The world is aware of how elections were conducted in a volatile situation and where the opposition party caused crisis that claimed the lives of Bayelsans. But we thank God for averting their plans by giving power to you and we are sure that He will do the same for you again.”
Ingobere stressed that the assembly leadership was not interested in wresting power from the executive and that their only interest was the wellbeing and development of the state.
Receiving the delegation, Diri described the visit as a morale booster that would inspire him to forge ahead with governance undeterred.
The governor said the tribunal judgment, which had a dissenting ruling by its chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, was not enough to slow the wheel of governance, and thanked the legislators for their show of solidarity.
He said: “It actually encouraged me. It gave me the strength and hope that we have a brighter tomorrow, and that we have an assembly that cares. Let me use this opportunity to call on Bayelsans to be calm as nobody has removed the governor.
“This is the court of first instance and we respect the judiciary. The judiciary is there for the common man and we believe that justice would be done.
“Even this judgement is not unanimous. The chairman of the tribunal said the judgment by the other two Judges was not correct and he has read his own, saying what they did was wrong. He said as far as he was concerned, the governor remained validly elected.”
While expressing confidence in God to complete what his administration had started, Diri noted that although the legal fireworks had not ended, he is confident that it would end in his favour.