President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met behind closed doors with Bayelsa Governor-elect, David Lyon, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The governor-elect was accompanied on the visit by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiohmole, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State as well as Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
Mr Lyon, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the November 16 election in Bayelsa, was declared winner after polling 352,552 votes.
Mr Lyon defeated his closest rival, Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 143,172 votes.
Despite reports of violence, Mr Oshiomhole said the election in Bayelsa was the most peaceful in the state since 1999.
Read a transcript of what the politicians said after the meeting with President Buhari on Monday.
Thank you very much. We want to congratulate you member of the media here in the seat of power, you are one of the first to meet with our brand new governor-elect Governor David Lyon.
We went to present the governor-elect, governor David Lyon to President Muhammadu Buhari. As the President and our father, he has a brand new baby boy who will be sworn- in on Valentine Day February 14, 2020, as governor of Bayelsa State. We thanked the president for his fatherly role and he insisted that we must ensure that while we are determined to win the election that we must play by the rule and ensure that the process is transparent and above all the president has always been concern about peaceful election and we were proud to inform him that besides very isolated cases of ballot box snatching, the election in Bayelsa can be described as the most peaceful. I believe since 1999, you as very seasoned journalists who have covered elections in Bayelsa in the past, you will agree that this is the only time we can say the election is truly transparent and peaceful. Again, our candidate attracts support across the political divide when you see territories and communities where his victory was being celebrated you will agree that not only did he had the support of the APC family, he had support beyond the APC family.
And of course, the president was very happy that we had a peaceful election in Bayelsa state. But of course, we also know that there was an election in Kogi but that is a matter for another day when we present the governor are-elected.
But we do realize that all the 16 senators who decamped along with Senator Bukola Saraki from APC to PDP, hard as they have tried to come back the Nigerian people in their respective constituencies, have insisted on punishing them for being disloyal and transferring it monetizing their mandates. I think the only that is still struggling now is Dino Melaye but as you can see from the result so car, Senator Smart Adeyemi is leading by over 20,000 votes even though INEC insists we must have a re-run for the remaining areas we are confident that there is no way he can make up for 20,000 vote deficit.
I think the lesson for us to be learned as a party is rather clear that when politicians go to the polls to collect mandate on a particular political platform and then they dumped the party for another party, the electorate will always be waiting for them. Over time we are likely to see people out of fear for the electorate, not monetizing their mandate after they are elected. But overall, we are grateful to Almighty God for making this election successful, we appreciate the people of Bayelsa State who have reposed confidence in our party and on our candidate. We also want to appreciate the very warm reception that the former president accorded our candidate who in line with his character of humane, simplicity and commitment, in company of our chairman of APC governorship campaign for Bayelsa state, Jigawa state governor Abubakar Baduru and governor Bagudu who is the Chairman of APC governors forum and co-chair of the Bayelsa election.
We are also very appreciative of the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipreye Sylva who has had to manage a very difficult tight schedule – playing his role as minister of state petroleum which entails engaging with international engagements and at the same time making out time to ensure that he provides leadership for our party in Bayelsa, for us as APC, we are very grateful. We are grateful to the two governors who had to stay 72 hours to ensure the success of the election..
For the governor, this is a call to selfless service, the more support you get the more the expectations. As they say, to whom much is given, much is expected.
When he takes over the office in February Bayelsans will see the difference between his government and that of outgoing governor Serieke Dickson.
Today, is one of the greatest days of my life. A great day because the great people of Bayelsa have spoken their minds by taking the time to vote for our great party, APC.
It is indeed a welcome development because at our campaigns we promised that when elected and sworn in, security and development will be our key agenda and with the support of Bayelsans they have made this possible.
Today, on behalf of my APC leaders, I promise Bayelsans that, we will serve them and not them to serve us. We also promise to respect leadership which is key for us. Today their vote has been counted and the people of Bayelsa will be respected.
I am sincerely grateful and to our father, the president of this country, for his fatherly advice this afternoon, as one of his sons in APC, we want to say we Bayelsans will not disappoint APC. We will consult with our leaders, traditional rulers and I believe there will be a serious positive change in Bayelsa State.
This incoming administration will make Bayelsans see positive developments and that is key to us. Thank you so much for having me here today as governor-elect of Bayelsa state
We want to thank Baylesans, they are remarkable. They know what they want, they know when they are frustrated how to act and they have acted right.
I want to thank the leader of our party in Bayelsa State, the Minister of State of Petroleum, who digging out the right candidate. So the success of this election is in our being able to come up with the man of the people.
I have been there, I have seen where he lives, I have seen the crowd that comes to him and I have seen how he engages with them. He is a technical man of the people and that is why he has been rewarded with so much heavy votes. He is a man that is always with his community and he is a man that always supports his community, and that made the job of the election very easy and simple.
We were on the ground there, like the chairman said earlier, we have a history of elections in Bayelsa what it used to be and you have seen what happens there.
READ ALSO: NIPSS asks Buhari to repeal NHIS Act
For the three days of voting and counting, not a single soul to my knowledge was killed. Of course, there were pockets of violence, ballot box snatching which results in a council but when you look at the magnitude, there are so few compared to what use to happen in Bayelsa. I will credit this also to the right choice of the candidate, which means most of the people are with him and hence no need to create any trouble. And that translated to the vote that we got. Because it shows the number of people that came out to vote for him indicated that, the opposition cannot even try to make trouble and that was why we had a very peaceful, transparent election.
Of course, I thank Baba Buhari for his guide, support and for his concern for elections being peaceful, free and fair.
We had a court order disqualifying our candidate, one on Tuesday, second one Thursday but because this is what the PDP saw and wanted to take advantage of the court to run away with what the people want, but God willing we got to stay in the two judgements and run for the election and showed them what Bayelsans actually want.
It’s been a very hectic week but I will like to bring in this Eritrean proverb, that if you marry a wife very well, you will be blessed with another wife. Governor Dickson, unfortunately, made our job very easy because he married the wife very badly. Of course, this proverb pre-supposes that if you marry a wife badly, you will not get another wife. So he did not marry the state very well, so the state roundly rejected him.
Like it’s been said earlier, we had a good candidate and when you have a good product it’s very easy to sell it. So we went round and sold this good to Bayelsans and the result was an overwhelming success.
We are happy with this victory because for us it is very significant. This gives our party a footprint in the Niger Delta, which is very key to us. It gives us more of a national outlook, we have always been a national party but this gives us even a bigger national outlook.
I have always said that if our party doesn’t have this much of a footprint in the breadbasket of the country, it was not too good for us. But now we have it and I want to assure you that from a small seed, the biggest tree will grow. From here we will gradually grow the party in the south-south and the southeast. APC is a good product just like our governor and we intend to sell that good product in the whole of the south-south and the southeast.
We are privileged to present to Mr. President, the governor-elect, David Lyon, whose quality had been described by other speakers.
Many people worked hard in making this happen, most importantly, Mr. President, who has always shown the party that wins or loses we should aim for free, transparent and fair elections. Because, that is what will guarantee peace, confer legitimacy and support for elected persons to proudly execute the mandate that they are given. And in Bayelsa we have seen a demonstration of that.
Everyone is talking about how free, transparent and fair the elections were. We were in Bayelsa for over 72 hours we didn’t see a tyre burning, we didn’t see people running, we didn’t hear a gunshot, everyone was celebrating in all the areas we passed, which shows the acceptance of our candidate, our party and the process itself.
It is equally noteworthy that Bayelsa is a home of a former president of Nigeria and this election won by a party different from the one he belongs, has been accepted by all including around him and so far, from what we hear and what we are, he also is happy with the outcome irrespective of the difference in the party, which is an indication of the transparency of the process.
This is a victory for Nigeria because it shows that parts of the country that has been under another political party, can in a free, fair election make their democratic choice and vote for another party with the right candidate.