DESPITE initial violence and tension that rocked Yenogoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Senator Douye Diri was yesterday sworn-in as governor of Bayelsa State alongside his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor, at a colourful ceremony held at the Government House.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s declaration of Senator Diri as winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship poll, earlier in the day, in obedience to the Supreme Court judgement, paved the way for Diri’s inauguration, which started at 6.20 pm, yesterday.
Diri’s swearing-in came as the All Progressives Congress, APC, rejected the INEC’s decision to return Diri as winner of the Bayelsa governorship election and vowed to explore legal options against it. Indeed, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chairman of APC Governors Forum, and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu met behind closed doors at the Aso Villa, yesterday, over what sources said was in connection with the Bayelsa development.
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, sacked Bayelsa governor-elect, Mr David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, over perjury on the part of the latter.
Police impose dusk to dawn curfew Following the violent protests that rocked Yenagoa, the state Commissioner of Police, Uche Anozia, yesterday, imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the State from 8:pm to 6am from Friday to Sunday. CP Anozia, who addressed the media at the Bayelsa State Government House shortly before the swearing-in ceremony was flanked by heads of other security agencies in the state. He said eight suspects had been arrested in connection with the violent protests.
The CP who warned against the violation of the curfew advised members of the public to stay indoors as the security agencies will arrest and prosecute anyone who violates the curfew. He also advised the public to remain calm as the security agencies are poised to secure lives and properties in the state.
Meanwhile, the PDP has called on the Inspector General of Police to stop APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over his stance on the apex court verdict.
Why swearing-in was done in Govt House
Until Thursday afternoon, the Samson Siasia Stadium was the venue for the inauguration. David Lyon had also done dress rehearsals for the event. However, the Supreme Court ruling altered preparations. The change of baton to PDP, violence that greeted the decision, delay in Diri getting certificate of return from INEC and returning to Yenagoa meant a change of venue.
The gate to the heavily fortified but restricted sprawling Government House complex was opened to Bayelsans to witness the swearing in ceremony of Senator Diri Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor. Earlier yesterday, tension heightened in Yenagoa as supporters of the APC took to the streets to protest the Supreme Court ruling which voided APC’s Chief David Lyon’s election as the state governor-elect.
The protest paralysed commercial activities in the capital and its environs. Filling stations, markets and shops were hurriedly shut down when the protesters resorted to burning tyres and destroying properties along the streets and highways. The protesters, armed with placards, were chanting, “No David Lyon, no Governor in Bayelsa State.” Motorists had a difficult time navigating through the usually busy Edepie axis of Mbiama-Yenagoa road.
The story was not different at the Yenizue-Gene stretch of the same road hosting the secretariat of the APC where protesters barricaded a section of the road. Saturday Vanguard learned that the development caused motorists to make detour at the Otiotio junction and Baybridge intersection to connect the Isaac Boro expressway. The Amarata residence of the Senator Douyi Diri, located off Imgbi road, w e fence.
The building window glasses and vehicles parked at the premises were vandalised while mobile phones and other valuables were reportedly carted away by the invaders. A lady said to be a visitor to the Diri family was injured during the orgy of violence.
Also, the PDP secretariat, Onopa, and the sprawling shopping mall complex at the popular Ekeki Motor Park in the heart of Yenagoa were not spared by the protesters who vent their anger on the structures.
Some of the shops on the ground floor of the mall were vandalised. The quick intervention of men of the Nigerian Army on routine patrol saved the complex from being looted. However, tight security was mounted by a detachment of anti riot policemen, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps along the Onopa junction-Hospital junction stretch of the Melford Okilo express road housing the Government House, the State judicary complex and civil service secretariat.
Diri promises diligent services, cautions against politics of bitterness Despite the tension, Senator Douye Diri was yesterday evening sworn in as the 5th democratically elected governor of Bayelsa State by the Chief judge, Justice Kate Abiri.
Also, sworn in was the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor. Clad in brown native Ijaw attire, Diri who arrived the Government House car park venue of the event at 6;15pm was administered the oath of office and oath of allegiance by the State Chief Judge at exactly 6.50 pm amid tight security. Speaking shortly after his inauguration, Senator Diri, who observed a minute silence for the PDP supporters killed in Nembe during the party electioneering campaign promised to serve the people diligently and will be magnanimous in victory.
His words: “My dear good people of Bayelsa State, this is the state that we all wanted to create, as a serving member of the Ijaw National Congress,INC, we traversed the length and breathe of Nigeria and all of us wanting to create a state that we can develop in our region and here we are. Today we have the state.