By Samuel I. Tarawou
It is not for nothing that Senator Douye Diri, the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, is called the miracle governor. The events and circumstances surrounding his historic emergence as Bayelsa governor are nothing short of the miraculous, an epic case of the dead and buried coming back to life.
When the results of the November 16, 2019 governorship elections in Bayelsa state were declared, the miracle governor had lost massively to his main rival, Chief David Lyon of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Himself of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the miracle governor had come a distant second, trailing far behind his arch rival by as much as an excess of 200,000 votes.
This poor outing of the miracle governor at the polls hadn’t come as a surprise to most Bayelsans. Being the anointed and favoured candidate of his godfather and outgoing governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, the miracle governor had inherited the massive ill-will, ire and disaffection that the overwhelming majority of Bayelsans had for his outgoing principal. It was an epic case of the proverbial sins of the fathers coming upon the children, and the miracle governor, being the son in this instance, had to pay massively for the sins of his political father.
Going into the elections, therefore, the association of the Diri candidature with the Dickson factor had soured and turned the minds of majority of Bayelsans against Diri. Everyone who had a score to settle with Dickson rallied round the opposition candidate and joined hands with him to sink Diri at the polls.
When, therefore, David Lyon of the APC was declared winner of the elections, Bayelsans were not surprised. They had exacted their vengeance against his principal. He had paid for the sins of his father and his fate had been sealed. And with the Dickson era decisively ended, Bayelsans had begun looking forward to a brand new era of growth and development under the governorship of the much loved David Lyon of the APC.
But alas, this was not to be. As if scripted by God himself, the unexpected happened at the very eve of the inauguration ceremony of David Lyon as governor of Bayelsa State. While the governor elect was busy rehearsing for his inauguration the next day, news trickled in that the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the apex judicial authority in the land, had voided the candidature of David Lyon and consequently declared governor Diri, his closest rival, as governor of Bayelsa state.
After their epic loss at the polls, Diri’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had approached the courts to contest the eligibility of David Lyons running mate, Senator Degi Eremienyo, to contest the elections given that the senator had multiple names that called the authenticity of his credentials to question. The apex court had ruled that indeed, the senator’s multiple names and countless sworn affidavits were suggestive of certificate fraud and had therefore voided his candidature. And since he shared a joint ticket with David Lyon who no longer had a running mate, David Lyon’s candidacy was also voided since he could not legally contest an election without a running mate as required by law.
It was this surprising turn of events that set the stage for senator Douye Diri to emerge as governor of Bayelsa state. These interesting happenings, miraculous, surprising, and unexpected as they are, are what earned him the appellation of the miracle governor of Bayelsa state.
And true to that appellation, it has been nothing short of a miracle for him to remain as governor ever since his inauguration. As could be expected, other aggrieved parties in the state also approached the courts to overturn Diri’s emergence as governor. In fact, the litigations challenging Diri’s governorship at the courts were beyond count, starting from the elections petitions tribunal through the appellate court all the way to the supreme court.
But being, as widely believed, the product of a resounding miracle, the miracle governor won all the cases at the courts. His detractors, having been soundly defeated at the courts, have sheathed their swords, allowing him some breathing space to consolidate his grip on power as the authentic governor of Bayelsa state.
Miracles do indeed happen.