While the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, continue to polarise opinions in Rivers, many are pushing for Dumo Lulu-Briggs to become the new face of Rivers State’s politics, reports Shola Oyeyipo
If the calculation of some concerned persons in Rivers State is anything to go by, the state is on the verge of experiencing a breath of fresh air.
Whereas attention has remained on major gladiators in the Rivers State political turf in persons of former governor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the incumbent governor, Nyesom Wike, opinion leaders are already shopping for a new breed of politician to lead the state in future elections.
Indigenes and residents of the oil-rich Rivers State, who have followed the political trends are fed up with the waste of human lives that usually characterised conduct of elections in the state in the past and earnestly want a change.
The people are generally miffed at the level of poverty among the people despite the riches for which the state is known globally, hence the emerging consensus that only a new breed of politician can reinvent the wheel.
Though, it is yet unclear how the people hope to actualise their intended political paradigm shift, but THISDAY can authoritatively confirm that there is already a mapped out plan to introduce a candidate that will not only be acceptable to majority of the people but that has the requisite knowledge and understanding needed to move the state forward.
According to sources close to the handlers of the movement, which they plan to make public any time soon, considering that Wike is most likely to pick the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) ticket to run for a second term, the All Progressives Congress (APC) platform becomes the most veritable alternative to present the preferred candidate to the electorate.
Already, it is no news that Amaechi and the senator who representing Rivers South-east Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, are on a collision course over the 2019 governorship race in the APC, whereas Amaechi is the leader of the party in the state.
Their no-love-lost relation deteriorated further earlier in February at a meeting with the Ikwerre Chiefs and Elders Forum, where Amaechi maintained that though there was no infighting within the APC in Rivers State, but that he would not n support Abe’s governorship ambition.
â€œI am not in any way stopping Abe from running for the governorship, but what I know is that I will not support him. Abe is daring me, an Ikwerre son. He is abusing me every day. I will ensure I use Ikwerre vote on him,” Amaechi said underscoring that his Ikwerre ethnic group has about 1.1 million votes out of the 2.5 million eligible voters in the state.
His argument is that governorship in the state is rotated among the various ethnic groups, and that it would be greedy for his Ikwerre kinsmen to hold on to power for more than 12 years in a state where there are other ethnic groups. So his position is that he would rather support a person from the riverine area to rule the state for eight years before power will move to Ogoni.
Many, in Rivers agree with Amaechi that it is inequitable, unfair and an injustice for one ethnic group to hold on to power for years in a state that has other ethnic groups. That is oppression. Even though, some don’t like the messenger, (Amaechi) they agree with his position
On his part, Abe too has said with or without Amaechi’s support, he would go ahead with his ambition and this has further raised the hope of those considering the APC platform to actualise their agenda of charting a new political course for the state.
In trying to look away from those who had held the state to ransom, opinion leaders and some youths in the state have arrived at the decision to bring in a well known legal practitioner, technocrat, politician and grassroots mobiliser, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, popularly known as DLB, as a new face of Rivers State politics.
Though yet to officially declare his readiness to contest in the race, indications abound that he is favourably disposed to the calls coming from across all the political divides. Apparently, out of personal conviction, he recently dumped the ruling PDP in Rivers for the APC and he has been helping to reposition the party for victory in future elections.
Already, some socio-cultural groups, youth groups and others who believe DLB is capable of repositioning the state, are already canvassing support for the soft spoken, young and successful business mogul to actively join the Rivers governorship race.
Many of his supporters are not pretending about their support for him. So, just as Briggs joined the APC from the PDP, they also joined the APC on his request and vowed to give him all the necessary support on the platform if he declares for governorship.
Those encouraging the lawyer-turned politician to vie for governorship are of the views that the Wike-led administration has failed Rivers State. To them, the administration has underplayed the importance of education and denied the people adequate security and peace.
Born to the philanthropist family of revered elder statesman O.B Lulu-Briggs, founder and chairman of Moni Pulo Limited, an oil exploration and production company, which was awarded its first oil block in 1992 during the Ibrahim Babangida era, when he was encouraging indigenous participation in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, DLB himself a renowned philanthropist, youth friendly and easy going personality, has enjoyed huge love from his people over the years.
Some commentators have said he is capable of positively changing the political and developmental history of Rivers State, and also make the state a global player if given the opportunity to serve.
In a post on Briggs facebook page, a Rivers State indigene, Komi Leesi described him as “A man with a very large heart. One who understands his people. I pray Rivers State and Nigeria give you a chance to lead us. The ‘Messiah’ of the common man. We love you. We are forever grateful.”
Another person who simply identified himself as Ammonia also wrote: “Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs is one man that is an untapped blessing to the people of Rivers State and Nigeria at large. He is an enigma; a living legend.”
Someone else wrote: “Absolutely the best hands. We need to be led in the right direction. Enough of uncivilised forces that impose their will on us. We need a man like DLB.”
The strong support he is getting among his people is basically because he is considered as a quintessential leader and a gentleman. To them, he is the embodiment of cerebral articulation, the essence of unparalleled philanthropy, and simplicity, the personification of undiluted humanness, the perfect example of a good leader, the paragon of idealism. Simply put, he is seen as a perfect gentleman.
During his 53 birthday celebration, Briggs said: â€œThe true worth of a man is in the way he treats people who are absolutely in need. If you care about people in need, you are actually making a contribution to the development of the nation.
“We need to give life back to the people; democracy is important in governance. We need to see how we can use the available resources for everybody; create opportunities for all and care, especially for those who are truly in need. The gap between the rich and the poor should be bridged. Those of us blessed with material resources need to share with others. We must strike a balance with our resourcesâ€.
Though he did not give a definite answer on his highly anticipated governorship ambition, facts on the ground and the expectations among the people show that his name will be on the ballot paper when the state goes for another election next year and if permutations and his support base are anything to go by, the possibility that he would be the people’s choice next year is very high.
Many people in Rivers agree with Amaechi that it is inequitable, unfair and amounts to injustice for one ethnic group to hold on to power for years in a state that has other ethnic groups