By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirant in Bayelsa State, Mr Keniebi Okoko has called for more collaboration between international oil companies(IOCs) and host communities in addressing the issue of oil spillage in the Niger Delta region.Okoko made the call while with answering questions from newsmen at the PDP National Secretariat in Abuja after obtaining his nomination and expression of interest form.
The governorship aspirant maintained that it was important for stakeholders to come together and proffer solution to the environmental challenge currently facing the region.
According to him, “I believe that the issue of oil spillage should be the joint responsibility of the oil companies and their communities.
The IOCs should not be held responsible alone.“Our youths have to understand that vandalising the pipes also affects us as indigenes of the state; it affects our water, fish and the sea life which is the major life of an average Ijaw man.
“Everybody should come together with the IOCs and the communities to chart ways forward on the oil spillage issue,” he said.
The gubernatorial aspirant pledged to work with IOCs and other companies in the state to tackle crime and criminal activities through creation of job opportunities for youths.
According to him, if the youth are gainfully employed, crime rate will reduce drastically.
Okoko commended Gov. Seriake Dickson for doing his best to create employment opportunities in the state.
He pledged that if elected, he would increase job opportunities in the state by attracting more companies to the state.
Okoko also promised to sustain the developmental strides of the incumbent governor, if nominated by his party and eventually elected as governor of Bayelsa.
In his words, “Development is a consistent process. It is also dynamic. With regards to what happens in my state, I am satisfied to a large extent with what the governor has done, especially within the limit of the available resources.
“If you look at what he has done in education, it is tremendous. He has created two more universities, that is, the Medical University and the African University in Torowa.
“The governor also recently launched the Education Trust Fund to encourage people to have more access to funds to further their education outside the country.
“I plan to continue with these giant strides and also increase the level of industrialisation in the state through a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement,” he said.
Okoko dismissed insinuations that he was the anointed candidate of a cabal within the PDP in the state, saying he was not aware of any cabal.
“I am anointed by God. I do not know about any cabal. I do not think there is any cabal in Bayelsa State PDP.
“I am a part time pastor in Salvation Ministries. If you are anointed by God, it is the most important of all anointing,” he said.
The governorship aspirant said that leaders of the party, both at the state and national levels, had assured all the aspirants of free and fair primaries.
Okoko also spoke on the nomination form which was pegged at N20 million, saying that it was the party’s decision and must be respected.
“We do not have reason to object than follow the rules of the party.
If you are not ready to contest, you can walk away,” he said.