The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, has appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for making him part of his first term cabinet.
He however asked that the president not to bother re-appointing him as a minister in his incoming government.
Lokpobiri, who said he made the appeal to Buhari during a recent meeting with him, explained that he wants to become the next governor of Bayelsa State and not a minister.
He disclosed this during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday. He noted that though he gained a lot working as a minister under Buhari, he would prefer to replicate all he had learnt as governor of Bayelsa than serving as a minister again.
“I met the president a few days ago and I told him that I want to run for governorship in Bayelsa, having thanked him for appointing me as a minister.
“I have learnt so much under him in the four years than what I learnt as a parliamentary for 12 years. I want to take that experience back home and see how we can build a Bayelsa beyond oil,” he said.
On what happens if the state’s former governor, Timipre Sylva, believed to be his godfather is opposed to his ambition, Lokpibiri said:
“Sylva is not my godfather. When I was speaker in 1999 he (Sylva) was special assistant to Alamieyeseigha. When I came to the Senate, he became governor.
“Yes, I must concede he came into APC and might have facilitated my appointment as minister but that does not make him my godfather. In 2007, when he got elected as governor, I got elected as Senator. In 2007, I was with Timi Alaibe and that was how I got the ticket.
“In 2011, we worked together even when former president Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson were fighting him. I worked for him and not Dickson.
“The APC governorship ticket would not divide us. As far as I am concerned, it is going to be a family affair. We might go into primaries and whoever wins would fly the party’s flag and I believe I am going to win.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had recently shifted Bayelsa State governorship election from November 2 and rescheduled it with that of Kogi State to November 16.
Bayelsa remains one of the states in Nigeria with a history of extreme violence during elections.