By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
A two-term Senator from Bayelsa State, Mr. Emmanuel Paulker at weekend joined the race for the November 16 governorship election in the State with a pledge to diversify the state economy with a view to making it less dependent on federal allocation, if elected the next governor of the oil rich state.Paulker, who has already picked the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, nominations and expression of interest forms, further promised to establish processing industries, create enabling environment as well support Small and Medium scale enterprise if he gets the mandate to govern the State.He stressed further that he will address the problem of power supply in the state in order to industrialise it.He expressed the optimism that Bayelsa state could be self sufficient, if its endowed resources are fully harnessed.Paulker said that he had robust economic blueprint, ranging from agriculture, industry to power, that would make the state to be less dependent on oil revenue.
According to him, “If you look at Bayelsa state, we don’t even require fertilizer in terms of agriculture production.”It my intension to unveil that area of the economy. There is no economy boost that is more than agriculture.
“Also in Bayelsa, all the Senatorial districts are open to the sea.
So, we can even make good use of the aquatic environment where you have the fishes all around”, he said.
Continuing, Senator Paulker said, “We will also harness the young minds who are good enterprise, that have zeal for such area of production.”He pledged to address the issues of youth restiveness and insecurity in the state by creating job opportunities for the people.
His words, “When you talk about security, when someone is engaged, it will be difficult for him to leave his work and go to crate problem for another person.”So, first, we must look at the basis of insecurity, see where the lousy minds are emanating from.
“In that regard we have what we call Productive Enterprise Training Centres (PENTRAC) with which we will engage young minds into skill acquisitions” he said.
The governorship aspirant equally assured that he would engage young minds in sporting activities, to tap their potential in the area.
He said, “Bayelsa is known for swimming, boxing and wrestling. I was a wrestler when I was growing up. In my age, you grow up without being taught how to swim. “When I grew up, I knew I was swimming but I never remembered one day where I was learning how to swim.
“So, those talents are inherent in the mind of our youths. We must tap into those areas. So, those dull period where youths spent outside without doing anything, they will have something to do?”
Asked if he was a member of restoration agenda family, which has Governor Seriake Dickson as leader, Paulker said that he was not in a position to polarise Bayelsians, adding, “I strongly believe in the unity of PDP and Bayelsa.”
“I have been a member of PDP since 1998. The best Bayesian to be in the Senate for two terms. So, I strongly believe in this party and in the unity of this party.
“I will be doing a lot of disunity to this party if I start calling a section of this party a name, tagging the other one another name.
“So permit me to say the Bayelsians are one and God knows the best.
“Even though we are ten in number, one person will win by the grace of God. And that is a PDP state, make no mistake about that PDP will definitely win.”
While expressing optimism at getting the PDP’s ticket, Paulker said that he had worked tirelessly within human endeavour to get the ticket, stressing however that he believes that it is God that gives power. On the possibility of having a consensus candidate, Paulker said that one thing that all the aspirants were concerned about is who would be able to govern the state very well.He dismissed the insinuation that the large number of aspirants who had obtained the PDP nomination form may cause the party to lose Bayelsa to opposition party.
Paulker said that all the aspirants were matured persons and are still discussing even in the race.
In his words, “Having a consensus candidate is an in-house arrangement within the party. Like I said, looking at the arrays of contestants, they are all contemporary, we are friends. You may not believe it, we are talking.
“Like I said it is not a do or die affair. I have been a two term senator, it is not a do or die affair. Far from it.
“That fear should be removed. I think I should drum it to our ears now, we are all matured. “For someone to say he is contesting, you know what it costs to obtain the form, that is to tell you that it is the best 11 Bayelsa can come up with.
“So these are matured minds. One thing we will avoid is to shelve Bayelsa to any other party.