Gov. Diri Eulogises Late Kalama

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described late High Chief Felix Pere Kalama as a man who lived an impactful life worthy of emulation.

Senator Diri, who eulogised the former foremost banker and politician on Saturday during a funeral service at Agbere in Sagbama  Local Government Area of the state, said the large number of people that came to pay their last respect to the deceased was proof of his impact on those he worked with.

He admonished the gathering that the only legacy anyone can bequeath are the good deeds during your lifetime.
His words: “The only way we can write our testimonial and be remembered is to leave good legacies. We are encouraged that Pere Kalama led a good life worthy of emulation.”

Governor Diri, who said the deceased left at a time the state needed to tap from his wealth of experience in politics, prayed that God would grant the family and the community the fortitude to bear the loss.

Earlier in his exhortation, Pastor of the Refined People’s Assembly, Ken Bitere,  reminded the people of the inevitability of death and the need to positively impact on society and leave a good legacy.

Pastor Bitere urged the people to embrace Jesus Christ and positively touch the lives of others.
High Chief Pere Kalama, who died on April 21, 2021, was born on July 21, 1951 to parents from Agbere and Asamabiri communties in Sagbama Local Government Area.

He had his early education at Agbere and Asamabiri and later Ghana and London.
He was a banker, who served in various capacities and was later appointed as Executive Director of the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue.

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Gov. Diri Tasks INC On Ijaw Nation’s Challenges

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has urged the new leadership of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to build linkages at home and abroad in order to successfully address the Ijaw nation’s challenges.

Governor Diri, who expressed confidence in the capacity of the new leadership to effectively champion the cause of the Ijaw people, applauded their change of strategy in seeking a better deal in the Nigerian state.
He spoke on Friday during a courtesy visit by the executive council members of the INC to Government House, Yenagoa.

The governor in a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, challenged the ethnic nationality apex socio-cultural body to foster unity among all Ijaws and speak with one voice, particularly at a time that other ethnic nationalities were taking positions on matters affecting them.

He also charged the INC to build consensus with National Assembly members of Ijaw extraction and other stakeholders to ensure that they adopt a common position on all critical issues.
He said: “We would not expect our members of parliament to be speaking in varying tongues with the INC and even with the government of Bayelsa State. You need to synergise for all to be on one page. 

“What we should cherish most now is our unity and that is the only way we can speak with one voice. Let it not be a one-off event but a continuous engagement with members of the National Assembly.”
Senator Diri, who also urged the INC to always adopt diplomatic approach in fighting for the yearnings and aspirations of the people, said the Ijaw nation would not play second fiddle to any ethnic nationality and equally not be shortchanged by the international oil companies.

“If the Nigerian state continues to explore and exploit unjustifiably and visit the injustice that we are seeing today and continue to terrorise and intimidate us, then violence can only be a last resort.

“The Ijaw nation will not play second fiddle to any other ethnic nationality. Our territories are very clear. Let no map of any other ethnic nationality include one fishing port of the Ijaw nation. I am sure that you will stand to defend Ijaw nation across the states where the Ijaws are natural owners of the land.”

According to the governor, the Ijaw nation should not be seen stooping down to beg for crumbs from the international oil companies but rather be seen as partners in the exploration and exploitation of its God-given resources.
He also expressed gratitude to Ijaw traditional rulers, community leaders, youths and other stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful, transparent process in electing the current INC executive council while restating his position for a non-aligned and non-partisan congress.

In his remarks, the INC President, Prof, Benjamin Okaba, said the visit was to inform the governor of the body’s plan to chart a new course for the Ijaw nation.

Prof. Okaba noted that the congress would interface with stakeholders across the six states where the Ijaws are indigenes and build consensus on critical issues as well as create legitimate structures from the community to zonal level.

He said the congress would convoke an all-Ijaw summit and had set up an 11-man committee with Rear Admiral Geoffrey Yanga (retd) as chairman saddled with the mandate of providing direction for the INC.

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Electronic Voting Will Ensure Rancour-free Elections In Nigeria, Says Gov Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the hitch-free conduct of the recent Ijaw National Congress (INC) election indicated that Nigeria can hold rancour-free national elections.

Governor Diri stated this on Friday during the inauguration of the new INC leadership at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa.
He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting to avoid conflicts during elections.

A statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, noted that the failure of the country’s electoral body to adopt e-voting has led to politicisation of revered state institutions and disrespect to such institutions.
The governor also said that the adoption of e-voting would provide an opportunity for Nigerians in the Diaspora to choose their leaders through the ballot.

His words: “I am an advocate and supporter of electronic voting system. Many Nigerians have been denied the right to vote because they are not in Nigeria and cannot participate in choosing their leaders.
“It is a challenge to Nigeria. Let the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be challenged. If the Ijaws can do it, the Federal Government can also do it.

“If Ijaws can enfranchise Ijaws in Europe and America to be part of deciding who leads them, INEC can equally do it. It will check violence, criminality and state institutions being politicised.”

Giving his charge to the new executive council of the apex Ijaw socio-cultural body, the governor stressed the need for the body to advance the cause of Ijaws to achieve equity and fairness in Nigeria.
In his inaugural address, the new INC President, Professor Benjamin Okaba, assured that the body would work for the progress of the Ijaw people.

Prof. Okaba also said  the INC fully supported the recent pronouncement by governors of southern Nigeria prohibiting open grazing in the region, saying the organisation would provide the necessary support to ensure adherence to laws aimed at protecting the people and their land against invasion from external forces.

Okaba, who stated that INC would collaborate with other ethnic minorities that share the same experiences with the Ijaws to achieve their dreams, said the ethnic group was aware of surreptitious moves by some groups to annex territories in the Niger Delta because of its resources, but that no part of Ijaw would be ceded or conquered.
“The INC wishes to use this special occasion to and in an unequivocal term remind and warn such characters that the Ijaw territory was never and will never be ceded or conquered. We belong only to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Should there be a compelling necessity to pull out of the present Nigeria, we shall go our separate ways in fulfilment of the dreams of our ancestors,” he said.

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Anti-Grazing Law: Gov. Diri Commends Bayelsa Muslim Community

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commended the Muslim community in the state for their support to his administration’s anti-grazing law.

Governor Diri gave the commendation on Thursday when he hosted Muslim faithful in Government House, Yenagoa, to mark this year’s Id-el-Fitri celebration. 

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted the governor as saying that he was pleased with the participation of the Muslim community prior to the passage of the bill and the subsequent enforcement of the law.
He stated that the anti-grazing law was not against any ethnic group but to ensure peace and order in the state.
The governor particularly thanked them for joining hands with government, citizens of the state and adherents of other religions to keep the peace and ensure mutual coexistence.

He said: “I like to commend you for your peaceful disposition throughout this period of fasting and prayer. I like to also appreciate and commend you for supporting and helping the government to keep the peace in Bayelsa State.
“I recall that even when we sent the Executive Bill to the House of Assembly on the burning issue of open grazing, you were part of it. You participated even at the level of the committee for the public hearing.

“When issues arise, you have never taken them to yourselves to seek help from other sources. You are always law abiding either to the constitution of Nigeria or the laws made by the government of Bayelsa State. You were holding meetings before and after the bill was signed into law. The law is not against Muslims nor anyone in our society but to ensure that we live peacefully and that there is order and mutual respect for the various parts that make up Bayelsa.”
While describing Nigeria as a circular country, Senator Diri said everyone was free to practice their religion and to eke out a living peacefully.

“Across humanity, you have criminals and all kinds of persons. Therefore, I like us to moderate the way we speak and the way we use words in condemning a particular religion or profiling of any ethnic group. We have different characters across various religions and ethnic groups.

“The most important thing is our ability to tolerate each other and our ability to resolve all issues when conflicts arise.”
Responding to requests made by the delegation, Governor Diri approved a bus for Muslim community and promised to address others when the economy of the state improves. 

Speaking earlier, the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Bayelsa State, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo, commended the governor for his fatherly role in relating with different religious organisations.
Alhaji Otobo said this has endeared the governor to him and other Muslim faithful and strengthened their resolve to maintain peace and nip religious tension in the bud. 

He appealed for more support from the government towards building a befitting central mosque as well as sponsorship of Muslims to pilgrimage.

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Ijaw Nation’ll Sustain Boro’s Legacies – Gov. Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said the Ijaw nation would continue to agitate for the realisation of the ideals of equity, justice and freedom that the late Major Jasper Adaka Boro fought and died for.

Governor Diri stated this on Sunday during the 2021 Boro Day celebration at Kaiama, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.

The governor also re-emphasised  the need for the Federal Government to restructure the country so the Niger Delta can manage its resources, develop at its own pace and pay taxes to the centre.

In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, Diri acknowledged that some of the issues the late Niger Delta hero agitated for have been achieved but that a lot still needed to be achieved.

His words: “Clearly, Isaac Boro has done so much to awaken our consciousness, awakened all that was within us as a people, as Ijaws, to demand what rightly belongs to us. Resource control, state creation and today, at least we have one homogeneous Ijaw state in Nigeria.

“Let nobody miscosntrue the true position of the Ijaw people. We are a people that have been marginalised, misunderstood and in the case of Adaka Boro condemned to death.

“All we are asking, like any other Nigerian, is freedom and equity. That we can put up our own plans to develop our region. Give us relative autonomy. Give us the management of our resources and we will pay back taxes to the Federal Government.”

He charged the new leadership of the Ijaw National Congress to work towards actualising creation of two additional Ijaw states of Toru-Ibe and Oil Rivers.

The governor, who noted that Boro fought for the emancipation of all minority groups, called on all Niger Deltans to join hands to demand for equity and justice from the Nigerian state.

In his welcome speech, Chairman of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Council, Hon Dengiye Ubarugu, said Boro fought for what the southern governors demanded recently at Asaba.

In his speech, the King of Kolokuma Clan, Onya Mozi Agara, tasked those in leadership positions to emulate the virtues of selflessness that were exhibited by Boro in his quest to better the lives of his people.

Also speaking, the  daughter of late Boro, Dame Esther Boro, challenged leaders to eschew selfishness and amassing of wealth from resources meant for the development of the society.

She noted that her father was being celebrated 53 years after his demise because he was selfless in his activities.
In a related development, Senator  Diri, speaking during the wreath-laying ceremony at the Ijaw Heroes Memorial Park in Yenagoa, urged the people, particularly youths of Ijaw nation, to imbibe the values that Boro represented in his struggle for self-determination, which include selflessness, discipline and justice.

While describing the youths as assets to the Ijaw nation, he said his administration was collaborating with the Presidential Amnesty Office to seek ways of creating empowerment opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths.
The governor directed the General Manager of the Bayelsa State Housing and Property Development Authority to waive the N5 million being owed by Deigha Georgina Boro, who was alloted an apartment in one of the government buildings at Azikoro.

Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Chief Patrick Erasmus, said Boro deserved to be honoured as a hero because of the sacrifices he made in fighting for the emancipation of his people.

In his remarks, President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, said the congress was poised to expand the scope of its programmes and  collaborate with the Presidential Amnesty Programme as well as network with relevant national and international agencies towards engaging the youths in productive ventures.

In their separate remarks, Presidential Amnesty Programme Interim Administrator,  Col. Dixon Milland Dikio (Rtd) and the Ijaw Youth Council president, Comrade Peter Igbifa, represented by the council’s spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, urged the people to emulate the shining example of Boro by advocating excellence in all their undertakings.

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NCAA Approves Commercial Flight Operations At Bayelsa Airport

After months of expectation, the Bayelsa State-owned airport, on Saturday, finally got the nod of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to commence commercial flight operations.
The NCAA Director General, Dr. Nuhu Musa, presented the regulatory body’s approval letter to an elated Governor Douye Diri in Government House, Yenagoa, after the team completed the mandatory inspection of the airport and its facilities.
Dr. Musa said the airport met all airspace standards and is one hundred per cent ready for daytime flight operations. 

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the NCAA DG as saying that the approval was sequel to the report of the agency’s inspection team, which prior to the visit had certified that out of 29 gaps, the airport was able to close 26. 
He noted that other requirements were non-safety related and that work was already in progress to achieve night flight operations.

He said the agency had to limit flight operations to daytime as the runway lights were being installed, noting that once completed, full approval would be granted. 
Musa commended the state government for the quality of work done at the airport and the capable personnel from the state that facilitated the issuing of the licence. 
Responding, Governor Diri, who was full of joy, expressed appreciation to God for making the long-awaited day possible.

He said issuing of the operational licence was a winding journey that began from the administration of his immediate past predecessor to when he assumed duty over a year ago.
Senator Diri commended former Governor Seriake Dickson for his foresight in ensuring that the state had its own airport. 

He noted that Senator Dickson started the project, which had been on the drawing board of past administrations and saw to its completion before handing over to him. 
He said his administration was therefore determined to ensure flight operations commenced as he set the machinery in motion to get the NCAA nod.

His words: “This is a dream come true for our state and our people. I thank God Almighty because this journey had been a winding one from my immediate past predecessor and I have been in the saddle for over a year waiting for this licence. Today, God made it possible.
“I also thank my predecessor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson. This airport had been on the drawing board but he took the bull by the horns by starting the airport and virtually completed it. May I on behalf of this government and the people of Bayelsa appreciate him. 

“As I came on board, having seen what he did, my administration had to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Having been briefed on certain requirements, I wasted no time in approving what was necessary to ensure that the airport was ready for use. Today, we have the approval for the airport to commence commercial flight operations.”

Diri also expressed appreciation to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the NCAA DG and officials for the approval and promised to do all it takes to get full flight operations. He averred that all the necessary facilities and equipment were in place and would be installed in no distant time, especially all the runway lighting system.
He said the  importance of an airport cannot be overemphasised, particularly in the South-South region that is the centre of oil and gas activities in the country.  

“Bayelsa State is a major contributor to the oil and gas business in Nigeria. Bayelsa is the centre not only of oil and gas but also other economic activities within the South-South and the South-East.
“So, the Bayelsa airport is critical not only to Bayelsans but indeed the people of the South-South,  South-East and by extension the nearby countries. We are at the border with the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

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Bayelsa Govt Resolves Disputed Land Issue With Nigerian Navy

Following the intervention of the Bayelsa State government, the dispute between some landlords and the Nigerian Navy at Agudama-Epie community has been peacefully resolved.
Speaking in his office in Government House, Yenagoa, when he received the report of the committee set up to look into the issues on Monday, Governor Douye Diri stated that available facts show that the Navy were the rightful owners of the land, which was in dispute. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as commending the committee headed by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Konbowei Benson, for doing what he described as a good job, which according to him prevented a bloodbath. 

The governor also commended the Navy for its patience during the period of the committee’s work and stressed the need for individuals and groups, particularly security agencies, to work with the government to sustain the prevailing peace in the state. 

He said the government was committed to the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state just as he lauded the former landlords for not taking the laws into their hands but instead reported the issue to government for necessary action.

His words: “We would have had a bloodbath but the work of the committee averted that. We are here not just receiving the report. Actually the report is that there was no dispute between the Navy and those who bought the land without first of all ascertaining if it was encumbered.

“Clearly, the Nigerian Navy had no other contender to the land. Maybe the only person who would have had issues with the Navy would have been retired Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni who sold it. So, the Nigerian Navy did not commit any offence.

“Going forward, before you purchase land, visit the Ministry of Lands and Housing. The lawyers say that ignorance is not an excuse under the law. What you did was to buy a land that had already been bought by the Navy and in the process you slowed down their pace of development.”

Acting on the report of the committee and facts available to both parties, Governor Diri stated that the land in question was sold to the Nigerian Navy by Rear Admiral Porbeni and that the security agency were the rightful occupiers of the land. 

On the former claimants’ appeal for compensation, Diri said it would be looked into administratively and a decision communicated to them through the Ministry of Lands. 

In his remarks, chairman of the committee, Dr. Konbowei Benson, stated that it discovered that the Navy were the rightful owners of the land but as part of its recommendations appealed to the governor to support the former claimants to relocate. 

Some of the former landlords, who spoke, admitted to being on the wrong side of the issues but appealed to the governor to support them by providing some form of compensation for their loss.

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Bayelsa Bans Logging, Deforestation Activities

Bayelsa State government has halted logging without permit and other deforestation activities in order to protect the state’s forest reserves.

Henceforth, all commercial timber dealers are to obtain permit from the Ministry of Environment before embarking on logging activities.

Governor Douye Diri, who stated this on Monday during this year’s International Day of Forests celebration in Yenagoa, also directed that an executive bill in consultation with the Environment Ministry and related civil society organisations be prepared and forwarded to the House of Assembly. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the governor also said that the new bill would repeal existing environmental laws that are now obsolete.
His words: “Henceforth, all timber dealers are to obtain permit before taking out logs from our forest reserves. This is to protect our forests.

“I hereby direct that an executive bill in consultation with the state Ministry of Environment and related civil society organisations be sent immediately to the House of Assembly.

“This bill should repeal every other existing laws. I trust the State Assembly to do justice to this bill so that we can protect our forests.” 

Governor Diri emphasised that his administration was determined to protect such reserves through the legal framework.

“It is interesting that somebody that came from Cameroon has told us about an only specie in the world found in our state and yet we cannot protect it. So this bill should look at ways and means of preserving such few species in our forests.” 

The governor, who also frowned at the use of dynamite by fishermen, noted that the bill should make the use of explosives on the state’s waterways an offence. 
Diri asserted that as a government that preaches prosperity, it cannot fold its arms and watch forests in the state being degraded.

He directed the Commissioner for Environment to rejuvenate the forest guards and deploy them to their respective local government areas to ensure effective protection of the reserves.

The governor also granted the request by the Ministry of Environment to adopt six proposed forest reserves.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, said the International Day of Forests was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

Mr. Gbaranbiri remarked that healthy forests strongly influence the quantity of water yielded from watersheds, discharge the highest quality of water and provide logs, fuel woods, fodder and medicinal plants used by local and indigenous communities.

According to him, the state has six reserves namely the Taylor Creek, Edumanom, Apoi Creek, Nun River, Igbedi Creek and Ikebiri Creek Forest Reserves.

Coordinator of the Red Colobus Conservation Network, Miss Florence Aghomo from Cameroon, stressed the need for Bayelsans to be responsible in forest preservation as its socio-economic benefits cannot be over-emphasised.
According to Miss Aghomo, Nigeria is a home to two of 18 Taxa species known to science and the Niger Delta red Colobus can only be found in Bayelsa and Preuss’s red colobus in Cross River State.

Also speaking, Mr. Morris Alagoa from the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), who lauded the governor for the history making event, appealed for the establishment of a zoological garden and community forest-driven management in the state.

In the same vein, the Executive Director of Trees For Life Initiative, Chief B. Okolo, presented a medicinal plant, Dogoyaro, to the governor and his deputy.
Highpoint of the ceremony was the planting of trees by Senator Diri alongside his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and other top government functionaries.

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Gov Diri Awards Scholarship To Another First Class Law Graduate

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has offered scholarship to another first class law graduate from the state, Miss Pere Esther Amazige.

Miss Amazige, who graduated from the Rivers State University in Port Harcourt, is the second female Law graduate to bag the scholarship after Miss Ebizi Eradiri that had a double First Class at the Niger Delta University and the Nigerian Law School.

Senator Diri made the offer on Tuesday while receiving Miss Amazige and her mother, Mrs Joy Amazige, in Government House, Yenagoa.

The governor, who assured her of his administration’s preparedness to sponsor her education up to doctorate level in any university of her choice within and outside the country, congratulated her for achieving the feat against all odds.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, Governor Diri saluted Amazige’s courage and resilience, pointing out that she was not deterred from achieving her dreams by her father’s death.

His words: “You have a lot of offers in the United Kingdom to go for your Master degree. Let me on behalf of the government declare that your admission in or outside the country will be taken over by the state government even up to Ph.D level.

“I use this opportunity to advise our young ones not to be discouraged by the circumstances they find themselves. Esther lost her father while in  secondary school. Nothing can stop you when you are determined to achieve your dreams.

“Let Esther be your role model. With all the daunting challenges she and her mother faced, she remained focused and today we are celebrating her success. I urge the youths to learn from her success story. 

He charged Miss Amazige to continue to be of good conduct and ambassador of the state and the country.
In his introductory remarks, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Biriyai Dambo (SAN), described Miss Amazige as an intelligent and promising young girl, who bagged First Class in 2018 but narrowly missed replicating it at the Nigeria Law School.

In her remarks, Miss Amazige expressed gratitude to the governor for the opportunity to advance her education, saying her academic success was in fulfillment of her determination to make her late father proud.
She said she already had five admission offers for a Master programme abroad and promised to fly the flag of the state and the country high at all times.

In a related development, Governor Diri also hosted three Bayelsans that are recipients of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Presidential Honours Award. 
The 2018/2019 presidential awardees are Dr Anointed Bagiri Riches, Engr. Abbott Temple Olotu and Bodisere Blessing Isaac.

He appreciated the awardees for positively promoting the image of Bayelsa at their places of primary assignment during their service year.

He noted that their feat was proof that given the opportunity and right environment, the youths of the state can compete favourably with their peers anywhere in the world.

His words: “That is why we keep preaching that the youths of Bayelsa are not lazy. The youths of Bayelsa are brilliant and can compete with anybody anywhere. You have just proven that to be part of the honorees of the President.”
He noted that the feat would spur other Bayelsa youths to excel.

While presenting the recipients, the Commissioner for Education, Hon. Gentle Emelah, stated that two of them were graduates of the state-owned Niger Delta University while the third graduated from the Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro.

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Federation Commends Diri’s Support To Nigerian Wrestlers

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Hon. Daniel Igali, has given kudos to the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, for his administration’s tremendous support to Nigerian wrestlers. 

Hon. Igali gave the commendation when the governor visited the Nigerian wrestling camp in Yenagoa ahead of their departure to Tunisia for the Tokyo Olympic Games African qualifiers. 

Igali, who is also Bayelsa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, expressed gratitude to Senator Diri for his support to the  federation since the wrestlers began camping about a month ago.

His words: “On behalf of the NWF, I want to thank Governor Douye Diri for all the support to wrestling. We started camping here over three weeks ago and the governor has been responsible for bringing everybody to camp in Bayelsa.
“Bayelsa is the only state that hosts annual national wrestling championship in the past 10 years in the country. All our athletes from Bayelsa, the South-South and across the country regard Bayelsa as the home of wrestling.”

Igali said the first batch of the athletes would depart the country on Monday, March 29 while the second batch would leave the next day.

He said nine out of the 10 wrestlers going for the Olympic qualifiers are African champions and expressed the hope that they would win their first Olympic medal.

The Sports Commissioner also assured the governor that the Bayelsa team to the National Sports Festival holding in Edo State would make the state proud.

Governor Diri, in his remarks, charged the athletes to be worthy ambassadors of the state and the country and expressed the conviction that they would excel in their various categories.

While commending the NWF and the Nigeria Olympic Committee for their commitment, he urged the contingent to  ensure victory for the country.

“The number one sport for Bayelsa is wrestling. Before now, we had wrestling festivals across the communities. Wrestling is part and parcel of the state. 

“You are not only athletes but ambassadors of Bayelsa and Nigeria. As you go to Tunis for the qualifiers, compete and conquer and carry the flag of Nigeria high. You will return as those who will represent Nigeria and Africa in the next Olympics.”

Senator Diri, who urged the NWF president to also consider training youths in swimming, noted that Bayelsa has comparative advantage in the sport, which could bring laurels to the country.

The governor charged the state contingent to come tops at the National Sports Festival and also approved more funds to defray all the costs incurred by the NWF at the national team training camp.

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