Perez Peretu is one time chairman of Sagbama Local Government Area, and currently a Board of Trustee (BoT) member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview with Ebiowei Lawal, he bares his mind on the debate about zoning the office of Governor of Bayelsa State across the three Senatorial Districts of the State and other sundry issues. Excerpt.
You were a member of the PDP, why did you leave the PDP, and how has your journey in the APC been so far?
I left the PDP because there were lots of misunderstandings between myself and the Governor, Seriake Dickson, at that time. You and I know that the Governor is the leader of the party and if on principle we had misunderstanding, the best thing to do is leave the party. Reason being that I wasn’t comfortable, and I saw the fact that Nigerians at that time needed change. So when I left the party,
I never knew that I was going to join the APC, until i saw the fact that APC was more focused on bringing the needed change for Nigerians and for the people involved in the formation of the party, I knew that we were going to win the election and provide effective leadership for the country.
How has the journey been so far in the APC compared to your days in the PDP?
The difference is clear enough for everyone to see. Like you and I know, things are not done the way it used to be in the past. In the past people did whatever they liked and went scut free, but today people are held accountable for their actions. As you can see, today people are careful how they handle public, knowing that they would be held responsible. So the APC has brought positive change into the governance culture of Nigeria and I must confess to you that joining the APC was the best decision I took when I left the PDP. So far, I have no regrets or whatsoever.
There are lots of governorship aspirants in the APC, why did you choose to join the Heineken Lokpobiri campaign team?
I joined the Heineken Lokpobiri campaign team because you and I know very well that Lokpobiri has held several offices in the past and has been tested and confirmed worthy to serve the people. In terms of bringing value into leadership, he has been very effective.
When the First State Assembly was inaugurated in 1999, with Lokpobiri as the Speaker, they started their legislative business with plastic chairs in one small house and it didn’t take long before he transformed the assembly into what it is today.
Since he left the State Assembly, you all know that nothing has changed. Even as a serving Senator he did a lot of things and his footprints are everywhere for all to see. As minister for state, he gave our people all the needed assistance and that is why I support him to be the next governor of Bayelsa State.
What about the fact that Lokpobiri is from Bayelsa West Senatorial, the same district the Governor that is leaving office comes from. Some are of the opinion that the Governorship should move to another district. With this in mind, do you think Heineken can win?
As a matter of fact, Bayelsans should be more focused on the person that is capable of delivering the good to the people more than where the person comes from. If you talk about where the person comes from anybody from Bayelsa West is as qualified as the person from any other Senatorial.District of the State.
As you all know, we have had a Governor from Bayelsa Central to Bayelsa East and presently Bayelsa West. So there is nothing wrong if Bayelsa West starts the rotation this time. We have also had a President from Bayelsa East, and everyone have had a feel of the governorship.
Even in our local contribution market women do, it is called Osusu in Ijaw dialect, the person who took money last becomes the first to take in the next circle. There is also no law as to which Senatorial District should take it first. There is also no law establishing the zoning arrangement people always refer to.
Apart from that we should be more interested in the Local Government Areas that are yet produce a Governor. Talking about areas that that have produced Governor; Southern Ijaw, Brass, Ogbia and Sagbama have all produced Governor. In fact Ogbia have produced President of Nigeria. But take Ekeremor where Heineken comes from, they have not produced a Governor.
So to be just we must be talking about the credibility of the person that is contesting and not where the person comes from. Even if you want to talk about rotation of the office across Senatorial District, what would you say about Timipre Sylva and Goodluck Jonathan that come from Senatorial District but have both become Governor of Bayelsa State?