Anthony George-Ikoli, a senior lawyer and the first Senior Advocate from Bayelsa State, has joined the Bayelsa State governorship race.
He received his expression of interest and nomination form from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) national headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
Ikoli was received at the PDP headquarters by the party’s Organizing Secretary, Col Auten Akobundu (rtd) and other members of staff at the secretariat. He told the party faithfuls that he joined the race to ensure the prosperity of the people. He said that the state, despite its contributions to Nigeria as the “chicken that bears the golden eggs” has not witnessed commensurate development.
He said that Bayelsa State is the heart of the Niger-Delta and that the prosperity and well being of her people will generally affect the entire Niger-Delta Region.
“The world is changing and changing fast, the world is leaving the realm of knowledge to the realm of wisdom and wisdom demands creativity and innovation that is birth by the great minds that dare to challenge the status quo”.
“I am ready by the grace of God to challenge the staus quo. I have the experience, the knowledge and wisdom to make the difference and make my people players in the market world of wisdom economy. Bayelsans are a resourceful people just like their brethren in other parts of Nigeria. Their ingenuity and resourcefulness only need to be harnessed by a good leader to turn them into high fliers. I believe that I am that leader”, he said.
Ikoli gave the story of how he became a senior advocate of Nigeria as an example.
“At a point in my career as a lawyer, I realized that my state was about the only state in the country that has not produced an SAN. I took this as a challenge and I worked hard at it. By the special grace of God, I achieved the rank as the first SAN. For a while it was a source of personal worry and quiet embarrassment that I was the only Senior Advocate of Nigeria from Bayelsa for more than a decade despite the wealth of talent that abounds in our State.
“I am glad today that other lawyers from the state has achieved what I pioneered and several others are on the way. This was why I tried my best to ensure that the South-South campus of the Nigerian law school was established at Yenagoa, the state capital,” he said.
He praised the Ijaw forbears who had weathered very harrowing storms to achieve what the state is today.
“The Ijaw nation has been a land of the brave and home to the strong. A humane cultured people of wisdom and truth; sun-crowned achievers and pace-setters in their own right. We are at the crossroads where we cannot afford to disdain our heritage or fail our posterity;
“From very humble beginnings in an inhospitable environment of severe deprivation, Ijaw heroes and heroines have risen to commanding heights in national and international statecraft. I cannot purport to seek to lead Ijaw nation and Bayelsa State in particular without paying glowing tribute to the greats in whose footsteps I intend to follow and whose oversized shoes I dare want to fill.
“As a grandson, the noble blood of Ernest Sisei Ikoli flows in my veins, who rose from the then obscurity of the backwaters of Nembe meteorically to capture national consciousness and prominence in journalism and the legislature. This is the pedigree to which I cannot be found wanting in a call to serve. The many illustrious others whom I hope and pledge to emulate, include but not exhaustive; The venerated Major Isaac Adaka Boro, Chief Ranami Abah, Chief Melford Okilo, amongst others too many to here mention,” he said.
Ikoli was also full of praises for the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson for his effort in the education sector. The PDP family is a giant family of achievers.
In his remarks, the organizing secretary of the party, Col Austin Akobundu (rtd) assured him that the party will not favour any candidate contesting in the governorship race, rather, it will ensure a level playing field for all candidates. He praised Ikoli for coming into the race, as it signifies that men of quality and substance are waking up to the reality of participating in party politics to ensure good life for their people. I believe your joining the race will make the campaigns more robust, interesting , and issues oriented.
Akobundu advised Ikoli to run a decent and issue oriented campaign worthy of his calling as a lawyer.
“You have taken the first step. Go back home and work on your delegates. Reach out to the party elders and I wish you every success in the race”, he concluded.
Ikoli served as the Attorney General of Bayelsa State under the administration of former Gov Timipre Silva. He was the one who influenced the establishment of the Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa Campus, and also reorganized the administration of justice system.