A former Commissioner for Information and Orientation in Bayelsa State, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, has insisted that his ambition to fly the flag of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Ogbia Federal Constituency, in Bayelsa State, is borne out of his passion to deploy his skills, experience and connections to serve his Ogbia people and the entire state at the House of Representatives.
On his transition from a top media professional and to a politician and how it his media background has boosted his passion for service, Iworiso-Markson said: “It is not new to have such transition. You’re right in your description and the net effect of it is my humble quest to serve my people. So that’s basically the attraction. I have the conviction that given the opportunity, I have some laudable ideas that can be translated into very broad policies as my legislative agenda for the greater development of the Ogbia people whom I hope to represent in the House of Representatives in the forthcoming election.
“I think the whole idea about politics and representation is the critical thinking about the people and how the political system as represented in the representatives at different levels can come up with some good ideas and policies that solve problems and create a better life for the people. So in my judgement being a politician is more of how much of good we can contribute rather than just the nomenclature and what it connotes in society.
“So my transition, as you suggested, is built around this notion of service to the people who I have seen more closely in my time in government and that’s the inspiration for me to serve my people. My media background can only add value in that quest vis-à-vis shining light on my legislative agenda in the house and advocacy for a new deal for the Ogbia people.”
Speaking on his modest contributions to the development of his people before now, Iworiso-Markson said: “Of course, my leaders, the Ogbia people and associates are in better position to judge my stewardship but generally the verdict can only be positive on account of my resourcefulness and effective performance in office.
“The consciousness was and remains that I owe the generality of Bayelsans and indeed my ancestral Ogbia land the onerous responsibility to serve them and do so meritoriously. I have established this in my character and dutifulness while I was in government. I also enjoy a robust relationship with my people, thinking through the development challenges they face and my determination to make a difference.
“The above are basic interest in my candidacy if elected to represent the Ogbia Federal Constituency in the 2023 general election and will surely do our people proud through my accomplishments.
“I hope to create workable partnerships with the relevant private and public institutions that will bring about shared prosperity in the New Deal. So I have the intellect, skill, experience, acumen and maturity to be an ideal candidate to represent my people in the House of Representatives.
“However, in a more substantive realm, I think in answering your question, I could recall some of my humble contributions in government while I served there in Bayelsa State.
“One specific occasion was my contribution during the introduction of the public service reform in Bayelsa State. The public service reform I am talking about was instituted by the Henry Seriake Dickson administration which somehow was greeted with resentment because it was largely misunderstood. Many people felt then that it was a deliberate plan to unjustly sack workers. It became one of the most challenging moments of the government as it was faced with barrage of criticism.
“But a Daniel stepped in, if you permit that, and that was how the reform idea was successfully implemented. What we did was to recommend a proper enlightenment campaign which, of course, falls under my purview as the Commissioner for Information and Orientation. The campaign was to convey the government’s proper intention on the reform.
“The campaign which was organized in the form of town hall meeting was held across the eight local governments in Bayelsa State with massive turnout of civil servants, members of the civil society organizations, the organized labour and others. It was a huge success and it became the turning point as those who hitherto kicked against it had a change of mind and endorsed it. At the end of the town hall meetings and the reform exercise, government achieved five major things: the government saved billions of naira that was going into the pockets of greedy individuals after blocking the various financial loopholes, ghost workers were fished out, thus creating employment opportunities for fresh graduates, over one thousand graduates were employed into the state civil service, the state civil service got a new lease of life with the injection of fresh hands and monies saved from the reform were channeled into other critical projects which the state was in dire need of.
“So I think I am blessed with such uncommon ideas to produce and transform society. Of course, that’s at the heart of my job as a federal legislator if I get elected, to think through the issues and problems of my people and come up with some workable ideas and solutions that overall, solves the problems and enhance the living condition of my Ogbia people. With all humility, I think I am a silent achiever in this regard and our people and my respected leaders can testify either in the generality of Bayelsa State or in Ogbia constituency. I think I can do more in some innovative dimensions and accomplishments if given the nod”.
Reacting to whether he will make any difference at the House of Representatives if given the opportunity, Iworiso-Markson said: “That’s important because it tells you the essence of my candidature and indeed how far I’ve been thinking through the issues in my constituency. As they say, all politics is local and this relates to local politics in my area and the state as a whole. Now, what’s the difference I can possibly make? What specific concerns would I be addressing as they affect my people? So my legislative agenda revolves around some well thought out ideas which are six in number and classified as “Essentials of my Manifesto” under the theme ‘The New Deal’.
“Thus if elected to represent the Ogbia Federal Constituency in the 2023 election, I will work assiduously to realize the components of the New Deal which revolve around six major pillars and further change the narrative of development in the area for the better. The first here is to strengthen the bond of unity that was once the hallmark of the Ogbia people as championed by past leaders like Chief Melford Okilo.
“Through my proposed quest to restore Ogbia’a unity, I will work towards galvanizing the people to collectively advance the course of development. Yes, I believe a united Ogbia is a stronger Ogbia and a united Ogbia is one that is ready for development. In this New Deal, I will work even more to strengthen our unity.
“Education is also a key item in my legislative agenda. I want to see more quality graduates from Ogbia kingdom. So in the New Deal, local and foreign scholarships will be offered to deserving students while education interventions will also be made working with the Federal, State and Local Governments to equip our institutions of learning.
“Then, empowerment follows whereby our young people will be empowered with vocational skills that will make them entrepreneurs and employers of labour. This will further reduce incidents of crime in Ogbia as more and more young people will be engaged through a special scheme that will be created in the New Deal.
“Of course, I shall be working very hard towards declaration of Special Status for Ogbia as the first LGA in Nigeria where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity. I think this would be a major step in correcting mistake of the past. Sadly, what is West Africa’s first oil well is today covered with rust several decades after it stopped pumping crude.
“The declaration of Special Status for Ogbia has become expedient as due compensation for the now famished land and people with no economic inheritance just as the proposed research institute sponsored by the Federal Government is still at foundation level. A well articulated legislative position can achieve this desirable objective in the New Deal.
“I also want to see a situation where Oloibiri Oil Museum becomes a reality and indeed ensuring that Oloibiri is named a UNESCO heritage site. I think we need to allow our institutions function duly in this country. You remember the Federal Government had proposed to build an oil museum at Oloibiri but the project has not been achieved.
“Today a trip to Ogbia and indeed Oloibiri leaves one with a lot of disappointment and shock as the expectation of seeing the benefits of oil wealth in the communities was not to be. The people still face basic development challenges and environmental pollution caused by oil spills and exploitation.
“However, I think a dedicated and resourceful legislative action will help to refocus the inherent issues and actualize the Oloibiri Oil Museum in the New Deal. My conviction is actually making the monument a UNESCO heritage site which will come with huge economic benefits as Ogbia becomes a notable spot on the world map.
“Last but not the least is effective communication. This is very important as I hope to relate regularly with my constituents by briefing them on my legislative agenda and accomplishments on a monthly basis through a feedback mechanism that ensures no one in kept in the dark over my work in the House.
“This ensures openness, inclusiveness, commitment and integrity in the New Deal. Given my antecedents, I think I can make our people proud by delivering on the above agenda and even do more in consonance with my aspirations to complement the good work of the Prosperity administration as ably led by Governor Douye Diri in Bayelsa State”.