Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Bayelsa businessman and philanthropist, Mr Keniebi Okoko, has officially picked up the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expression of interest and nomination form for the state governorship election scheduled to hold on November 16.
The party had at the end of its 86th Emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, pegged the nomination form at N20 million while the cost of the expression of interest form was put at N1 million. It cited the cost of conducting primary election as the reason for the hike.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Keniebi, an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and the University of Port Harcourt, promised to build on the educational feat achieved by Governors Seriake Dickson in Bayelsa state.
Keniebi, who hails from Obunagha in Yenagoa, said having served his people through the Keniebi Okoko Foundation, by bringing succour to them in terms of providing aids during perennial flooding, granting scholarships and payment of hospital bills for the underprivileged, it was time to take it to the public realm.
He explained that as an aspirant he was aware of the fact that the party is supreme, reason why he decided to follow the rules and be the first to pick up the form in the entire state.
He lauded the PDP for being the beacon of the revival of democracy in the country and expressed confidence that the process of nominations during the primaries would be free and fair.
Keniebi, son of foremost educationist and Ijaw leader, Prof. Kimse Okoko noted that aside education, when elected, he would ensure that investment flows into the state.
“With the right infrastructure in place, good roads, steady power supply, reliable security in place, good hospitals, good and quality education, captains of industries and entrepreneurs will be comfortable and willing to come to Bayelsa and invest and jobs will be created through the private sector participation.
“Dickson has done very well in changing the face of education in Bayelsa state and one of the major things I want to do is to build on that. The educated mind is a liberated mind. We also want to increase the quality and number of companies that come into the state and create the right environment for business to thrive.”
In his comments, the Director General of the Keniebi Okoko Campaign, Chief Darius Obiene, a two-time Chairman of the PDP in Bayelsa, noted that Keniebi’s decision to be the first to buy the form in the state was an expression of his seriousness in the governorship race.
“We are sure that if this man is voted during our states special congress , definitely he will go on to win the election and bring victory” he said.
Also, Dr George Fente, an elders statesman and Chairman of the campaign, said for now , Okoko remains the only candidate without any political baggage.
He said: “Anybody I have worked for in the past , won election and I am sure it is not going to be different this time. I believe he doesn’t have political encumbrances. He’s fresh in the field and I tell you that he will emerge the governor by God’s grace”
Also, Julie okenare, Women leader, opined that with the structures already on the ground, established by the Dickson government, Okoko was the best man to succeed Dickson and continue the empowerment of women.