Gladiators angling for the soul of Bayelsa

Preparations have hot up over the October governorship election coming up in Bayelsa State. EBIOWEI LAWAL takes a look some prominent among those positioning to take over the state Government House.


Mr. Keniebi Okoko

HE is a renowned entrepreneur and industrialist who seats atop a multibillion naira investment in oil and gas. He is a trained economist from the prestigious University of Port Harcourt. He holds another degree in Political Science from the Carlton University. In 2014, Okoko got a post-graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania on Strategic Thinking. He has also participated in the Harvard Business School High Potentials Leadership Programme in 2014. He is contesting for the state governorship on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Joshua Maciver

Honourable Joshua Maciver hails from Olugbobiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. He attended the University of Port Harcourt in 2009 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and Communications in 2013.  Maciver has been president of the Iniebi Group Limited from 2007 till date. Iniebi Group is a dredging company.

The politician is known to have fought consistently to end pipeline vandalism and other criminal activities in the Niger Delta region. He is one-time caretaker committee chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area during the Henry Seriajke Dickson-led administration.

Ebonyi gov flags off operation zero pothole

Franklin Erepamo Osaisai

Born in October 1, 1958, Osaisai is a nuclear engineer, energy scientist and former Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC). He attended the University of Port Harcourt where he obtained a Bachelor of Science ( degree in Chemistry from the School of Chemical Sciences of the university in May 1981.

He later received a graduate scholarship award that earned him a Master’s and Doctorate degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California. He started his career at the University of California as a lecturer before he joined the services of the University of Port Harcourt where he specialised in Nuclear Reactor Engineering.

He later became boss of NAEC under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.


 Benson Sunday Agadaga

Chief Agadaga, who is the national chairman of Ogbia BrotherHood Worldwide, was born at Ologoghe in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He attended the Rivers State College of Education, Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, where he graduated with NCE Certificate in Chemistry/Biology. He thereafter proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where he obtained a Bachelors Degree in Science Education in 1983. He last served as a special adviser to the governor during Dickson’s government.


Agbedi Frederick Yeitiemone

Honourable Agbedi was born in 1960. He is an indigene of Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He is currently a lawmaker representing Sagbama/Ekeremor fderal constituency in the House of Representatives. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Abuja.

Agbedi is a former teacher and clerical officer. He also worked as head of the Universal Primary Education Accounts and in the Ministry of Education. He worked as a legislative aide to former Senate president, Adulphus Wabara. He also worked as a Special Adviser on Political Matters to the Bayelsa State Governor.

Agbedi, one-time chairman of the PDP, is still within the fold of the party.


Mr. Reuben Okoya

Okoya, a renowned architect, is a former lawmaker and minister during the administrations of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Michael Okpara in the old Eastern region.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design and a Master’s degree in Architecture. He was also trained as an architect in the United States of America. However, in 2000, he decided to come back to Nigeria to serve his people, and today, he wishes to be the next governor of Bayelsa State on the ticket of the PDP.


Douye Diri

Douye was born on June 4, 1959 in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He is currently representing Yenagoa/Kolokuna/Opokuma constituency in the House of Representatives.

Douye studied at the College of Education in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State where he obtained his NCE in 1985. He thereafter attended the University of Port-Harcourt and obtained his Bachelors of Education degree in Political Science in 1990.

Hon. Douye taught in several government schools in the rural area in the old Rivers State. After leaving the education section, he moved to politics. He was appointed the first national organising secretary of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), the foremost organisation of the Ijaw nation.

He was also Executive Secretary, Centre for Youth Development in Bayelsa State from 2000 to 2002 during the tenure of the late Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha. He was later appointed as Commissioner for Youth and Sports 2005/2006 during Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in Bayelsa State. He became governing council member of the University of Maiduguri from 2008-2012, and later, chairman of the PDP Disciplinary Council, Bayelsa State.

He was appointed deputy chief of staff, Government House, from August 2012 and a year later, principal executive secretary, a position he held until he resigned in 2014 to contest for the House of Representatives. He is currently the senator representing Bayelsa Central senatorial district.


Mr. Kemela Okara

Kemela graduated with Honours in Law from the University of Middlesex, London and was called to the Bar of England and Wales at the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and later as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He has practised law for over 20 years.

He is a founding partner of Streamsowers and Kohn, a major commercial law firm with offices in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. He also sits on the board of Arc Lights Limited, holders of the Lego franchise for West Africa and parts of North Africa.

In February 2012, Kemela was the governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state governorship election.

He has since set up the Kemela Okara Foundation, with offices in Yenagoa, to provide vocational and entrepreneurial training for young men and women in the Niger Delta region.


Gboribiogha John Jonah

Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd) was born at Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. He attended St Luke’s primary School Nembe and Nembe National Grammar School, Nembe, before joining the Nigerian Defence Academy Course 16 in June 1974 as a naval cadet.

He passed out of the academy in December 1975 as the best Naval Cadet and was awarded the silver medal. He later proceeded to the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in England where he did the International Midshipman course and passed out in first class (academics). He was commissioned in July 1977.


Konbowei Friday Benson

Honourable Benson was born in Korokorosei community, Olodiama clan in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

He graduated from the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic with a Higher National Diploma (HND).

Konbowei went further and gained admission into Delta State University, Abraka, where he studied Public Administration and obtained a Masters’ degree.

He then proceeded to the Imo State University (IMSU) where he eventually bagged a Master of Arts degree in History and International Studies.

He is the immediate-past speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. Before that, he was also chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.


Senator Emmanuel Paulker

Senator Paulker holds a BSc degree in Biochemistry from the University of Port Harcourt. A teacher by profession, he was appointed Bayelsa State Commissioner for Lands and Housing (1999-2001). After taking his seat in the Senate in June 2007, he was appointed into committees on industry, finance and downstream petroleum.

Paulker, as a Senator, made useful contributions through his committee on downstream petroleum, especially on the issues of fuel subsidy removal and entire deregulation agenda.

In September 2015, Senator Paulker sought to contest the state gubernatorial position, but was reportedly disqualified because some members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) attended his thanksgiving service.


Nimibofa Ayawei

Dr Ayawei was born in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

He attended the University of Ibadan where he bagged a Bachelor of Education (B.ED) degree in Chemistry in 1995.

He earned his Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Analytical Chemistry in 2008. He also went to the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, where he earned a Ph.D in Analytical/Environmental Chemistry in 2015, with the honour of being the first PhD holder produced by the university.

He started professional working career at the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment where he worked as a Scientific Officer until he was appointed as a member of the state scholarship board in 2001 by Alamieyeseigha.

He was later appointed chairman of Bassan-Koluama Rural Development Area, which was created by the state government out of Southern Ijaw Local Government.

Ayawei was later elected to represent the Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 in the state House of Assembly. After leaving the Assembly in 2007, he retired to private life until he was appointed by Dickson as General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of the Bayelsa State Housing and Property Development Authority.

Dr Ayawei was Commissioner of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2016.


Steven Sinikeim Azaiki

Professor Azaiki is a Professor of Conflict and Crisis Management and International Relations. He is a visiting Scholar/Fellow of the Institute of Petroleum Studies, University of Port Harcourt.

He has served as a director of Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc. and as president, World Environmental Foundation of Africa (WEFFA); national coordinator, National Think Tank; chairman, Intercontinental Group; and a member, Bayelsa State Advisory Council.

He is also contesting on the ticket of the PDP.


Heineken Lokpobiri

Senator Lokpobiri was elected 2007 on the ticket of the PDP in Bayelsa State to represent Bayelsa West district. He is the immediate-past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Lokpobiri received an LL.B (Hons) in 1994 from Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt. He is an expert in Environmental Rights and Environmental Law. He holds a PhD from Leeds Beckett University, UK.

Senator Lokpobiri he had been a member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly from and speaker of the House from June 1999 till May 2001.

In 2015, he defected from the ruling PDP to the APC. He was later nominated by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration as minister.

Today, he is contesting the Bayelsa State governorship election on the ticket of the APC.


Diseye Nsirim-Poweigha

Nsirim-Poweigha is retired Commissioner of Police. She is the only female aspirant in the governorship contest and is vying for the ticket of the APC. She hails from Egbedi community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Loca Government Area.

She has served as Commissioner of Police in Niger State.

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