A female Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Bayelsa, Tari Oliver, has pledged to make the state a preventive health care and seaport hub, if elected governor.
Oliver made the pledge while speaking with newsmen shortly after the submission of her nomination and expression of interest form, at the PDP national secretariat on Wednesday in Abuja.
Oliver said that Bayelsa had all it would take to drive preventive health care in Nigeria as obtained in India and China.
She said that she had benefited a lot from various opportunities in the state, which improved her health and aided her weight loss.
“I have been an advocate of preventive health care and Bayelsa has everything to drive it.
“An average Ijaw man is a fantastic masseur. Our dances can make you lose up to 700 calories and, by extension, lose a lot of weight.
“In the preventive health industry, only countries such as China and India have utilised their potential for health tourism.
“I believe Bayelsa can be a health tourism designation, where people can come, lose a lot of weight, enjoy the environment and go back happy,” she said.
Oliver said that this would also boost the development of other sectors such as industries, agriculture and tourism, not only within the state but across Nigeria.
The female aspirant, who commended the incumbent governor for doing a lot in terms of infrastructure development, education and road construction, said she would build on his achievements.
She pledged to invest in seaport, tourism, agriculture, industries and entertainment as well support small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to address the mass exodus of young talents in the state.
“The entertainment industry is one that encourages people to migrate and you will find out that most of the talents migrate from the Niger Delta. We should create an enabling environment for them to thrive.
“I’m also going to focus on a seaport project because if we have one in Niger Delta, particularly in Ijaw land, we are going to have a lot of companies springing up and job opportunities created.
“Thank God, Gov. Seriake Dickson has done a lot to make sure an airport springs up; we are going to encourage investors to come in, encourage tax cut and for people to volunteer their land for development,” Oliver said.
The aspirant added that her administration would encourage the people of Bayelsa to come home to invest in the state by creating an enabling environment.
On whether she has the financial muscle to face other aspirants, Oliver expressed confidence that the party’s choice of candidate would not be for the highest bidder.
“Whoever has the highest bidding power can go ahead but the people are wiser now; they understand that a one-off payment will keep them in poverty and will not do anything for them.
“This time, people are going to vote by their conscience and the things they are going to consider to choose candidate is accessibility of the individuals in the race.
“Some of these people are only accessible now because they only need your votes. After getting your votes, they will make themselves inaccessible to you.
“I am part of the grassroots and I believe this is the time for a grassroots person to emerge.
“I can convince the delegates because the projects I am bringing to the table are not abstract; they are what the people want,” she said.
Oliver, who said she was the youngest member of the ‘Restoration Family’ in Bayelsa, said she was not intimidated by the array of male aspirants from the party.
She said that all along, Bayelsa had been governed by men and it was time for the party structure to look towards the women, adding that if this was done, the state would be having the first female governor by November.
“I did not consider being the only female aspirant as a challenge but an opportunity because Gov. Dickson believes in women and youths.
“The governor also believes in the 35 percent affirmative action for women. If you go by that, it means I already have 35 per cent of delegates’ vote and the other 65 per cent between the other 20 male aspirants.
“With this, I don’t see how they are going to beat me. In fact, I see a lot of possibilities and opportunities. I believe the men will stand by me to move Bayelsa forward.”
She also pledged to engage professionals to address the issue of gas flaring and frequent tanker explosions in the state, saying “I am going to be a listening governor.
“What makes a good leader is the ability to listen. You may not know everything but if you listen to professionals, you will get professional advice.
“I will bring professionals from different sectors on board to support the state with their expertise to solve our myriad of problems.