By Henry Ovie
Governorship contender in Bayelsa State, Barrister Anthony George-Ikoli on Friday raised the issue of a level playing field, urging the national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to ensure a fair and credible process.
George-Ikoli made his position known in Sagbama and spoke against imposition even more strongly in an interactive session with notable politicians, students, industry leaders and journalists.
“We need a level playing field. There should be no imposition. The process should be fair and credible. With that, I do not see any issue arising out of the process. I wish our party well. I wish aspirants good contest and as the best man, I know I will emerge victorious.’’
The former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice promised to transform Bayelsa State.
“The slogan of my movement is something new. I have no baggage. I am well-equipped to build on the worthy legacies of the outgoing governor. I have the sincerity. I have demonstrated capacity and competence. The people are excited. There is in the air some spirit of renewal. The people are anticipating a rebirth, rejuvenation, something wonderful to happen’’ he said.
The legal luminary said that if elected, he would make sure that ‘’Bayelsa State cease to be a one city state’’
“Bayelsa will cease to depend largely on FAAC. There will be employment. There will be bye-bye to hunger, insecurity and darkness. We will re-engineer the state for greatness and God will help us to achieve all our plans and make our dreams come true.’’
While at Sagbama, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria addressed subjects, including grassroots politics, his connections outside Bayelsa State, well-paying jobs and the fears of other aspirants.
He said some people were frightened about his cosmopolitan reach and dimensions.
“First of all, I am a Nigerian, a Bayelsan. I am as qualified as any other person to aspire to any position. I make my living from my practice in Lagos but I have always served and sought to lead my people. My having Lagos connection can only be advantage to the quest to lead my people. It shows that I have deep and wide connections. It is not a disadvantage. People are frightened about my cosmopolitan reach and dimensions. I am on ground. It is only people that are frightened that are saying I am not on ground in Bayelsa State.
The only candidate with a real plan for the good people of Bayelsa State also spoke on the cost of running for political office in Nigeria.
“I am prepared as any other aspirant. If you are seeking elective office, there is conventional wisdom. I advocate that you have to spend something to attain power to change the system. I concede that it is a very expensive. I am wondering why it should be so expensive. If you are a grassroots politician, there is cost to moving around. There is cost to structures. There is cost to voters’ education. There is cost to mobilization. All these things cost money. It is just the cost of getting the people to vote for you. Ours may be unique in the sense that it takes quite a bit more. You know our society. If that is what is required to serve the people, then I think it is the price one has to pay.’’
George-Ikoli, who is hoping to beat all the political odds in the PDP primary and the November 16 governorship election, promised to make a difference.
“I stand before you today asking for your trust. I ask you to trust me with your future, with your children’s future, with the future of Bayelsa. I ask because I am the only candidate who can deliver a deserving future to Bayelsans. I am the only candidate who can deliver something new and something wonderful to Bayelsa’’ he added.