From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State Government has named the newly built media complex after media icon and pioneer editor of Daily Times, Ernest Sissei Ikoli.

Ikoli, a foremost nationalist and journalist who died at the 67, was from Brass Local Government in Bayelsa State.

The newly built complex built by the administration of Governor Douye Diri, now called Ernest Ikoli Media Complex, with 430 offices, 107 restrooms, two restaurants and other facilities, now houses the state-owned media outfits, namely Radio Bayelsa, Niger Delta Television and the Bayelsa Newspaper Corporation, publishers of the New Waves Newspaper.

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Iyorchia Ayu, who inaugurated the building as part of activities marking Governor Diri’s second anniversary in office, commended the performance of the Bayelsa governor, saying the party was proud of his achievements in two years.

He said it takes a man of great commitment to doing so much in such a short time when some others were still struggling to find their footing in governance.

Ayu said despite the initial hiccups in his first year, Governor Diri stood against all odds and is breaking new grounds through the inauguration of several projects.

The party’s chair described Diri’s performance as the trademark of the PDP governors across the states as they were elected with the mandate to work for the people they govern.

“I’m very proud of Governor Diri. It takes a man of singular commitment to do so much in a short time. Many of you who have governed states will know that sometimes it takes a governor about a year before he finds his feet.

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“Governor Diri came and stood on the shoulders of giants and because the ground was so prepared, he hit the ground running.

“Today after only two years, we are able to come here to inaugurate several projects.

“Two days ago, the governor of Oyo State called that he was in Bayelsa to inaugurate the project. This is how governors of the PDP work. They work for the people. They do not leave their states to stay in Abuja as some of those other parties that abandon their states and become chairman of their party.

“I want to thank all the PDP governors across the country for making the party proud. It is your work that is giving confidence to the Nigerian people that PDP is coming back after staying out of power for about six years. Nigerians now know that members of PDP are determined to serve this country.”

Diri said because of the history surrounding the state media, the government decided to name the complex after Nigeria’s foremost journalist whose contribution to the profession and the media is acknowledged all over Nigeria.

Governor Diri recalled how some unfortunate incidents bedevilled the state radio station ranging from fire, windstorm and the ugly attack on the station and staffers on the eve of his swearing-in by overzealous opposition party members.

“There were situations that necessitated the decision to put up this masterpiece. We had some natural disasters that affected almost all our media operations.

“Upon the pronouncements of the Supreme Court of the victory of the PDP, some overzealous persons came in here and destroyed everything they could lay their hands on.”