Spotlight on Dr. Dawari’s Reign as Commissioner for Energy Natural Resources

by Odimegwu Onwumere

It was the Holy Bible that said that there is time for everything: Time to stay and time to leave. This reminds us of the indispensable part of the time we had with Dr. Dawari Ibetela George in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, as Commissioner for Energy & Natural Resources, before a call to duty beckoned on him by his people of AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency to represent them in the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja. If the youngish George had not performed creditably well as commissioner, his people could not have reposed on him the trust and power for representation.

The quest to represent AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives was seen as a fierce battle among his fellow contestants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But Dr. George was not perturbed. The much and only comment he was always making was, “I am going to win”. He then took his campaign beyond the Akuku-Toru and Asari-Toru LGAs delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after they made him proud in the constituency primaries at ASALGA Secretariat on Thursday, January 6, 2011.

He did not see his emerging in the AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency primary election as a win for himself, but for all who contested in that election. He expressed gratitude to his people and told Barr. Onimim Jacks, Hon Daddy West, Chief Tam Princewill and many others who contested in that primary election that he would individually relate with them on how to move the constituency forward. In the primaries, Dr. George polled 429 votes, beating his co-contestants who polled 120 votes, 18 votes respectively. This, however, did not surprise observers as majority has always been behind him. Dr Dawari George (PDP) polled 36,400 (winner), in the general elections against Opunabo Inko Tariah of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), 7,966.

The DIG DEEP Campaign Organisation, the indomitable campaign organization that was set by his well-wishers and people was a formidable force. The DIG DEEP contributed immensely to his success. The campaign group’s members preached to the stakeholders in the constituency for a new dawn in Dr. George, a man who knew his onus at every given point in time.

As Commissioner for Energy & Natural Resources, Rivers State, Dr. George, even a kid was saying that he followed the due process and re-organized the petroleum products distribution monitoring team in the state. This was a feat that he achieved without dissolving the team. His reign as Commissioner introduced a legislation that will enable intervention directly in the oil and gas sector, which will involve moving gas to private homes, offices and industrial complexes. As commissioner the government achieved a plan of a gas-to-diesel conversion plant that will enable the state to use gas to power its vehicles.

AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency should be applauded both nationally and internationally for delivering Dr. George to represent them in the National Assembly. They should be applauded in that election process because it has been upheld by the world present in the constituency on the day of the general election as not marred by irregularities, unlike what elections in the constituency had represented.

Prior to his election, Dr. George had been known to be a cool-headed academic but a no-nonsense politician. His gentility has never been mistaken for weakling except for those who had not been in physical contact with this Buguma-born scholar from the ancient Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State.

The National Assembly elections were conducted all over the Kalabari Kingdom peacefully and orderly, except for some individual blunders, because Dr. George was a born-again humanistic Christian.

It is to the credit of Kalabari people that they have a man like Dawari George. All agents in that election made sure that ballot boxes and papers and other INEC materials did arrive at the designated offices after the election in Kalabari. Dr. George should be given special kudos for the splendid display put in place during the election in AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency.

The credibility and transparent nature of Dr. Dawari George is blazing. He is a preacher of commitment to work. He urges people and the members of the public to put all misunderstandings in the past behind them and work assiduously as a team in order to achieve set goals. The people of AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency believed in him on this.

It was under Dr. Dawari George, as Commissioner for Energy & Natural Resources that the Rivers State government said the state possessed a huge gas reserve that would last for over 150 years. A feat that had never been thought of in Rivers State let alone to achieve it.

As commissioner, Rivers State made plans and developed a master plan for the state, which will enable the government to utilize gas for both domestic and industrial activities. His reign as Commissioner introduced a legislation that will enable intervention directly in the oil and gas sector, which will involve moving gas to private homes, offices and industrial complexes. Under him as Commissioner, the government of Rivers State achieved a plan of a gas-to-diesel conversion plant that will enable the state to use gas to power its vehicles. Dr. George collaborated with foreign investors to build refinery, petrochemical and bitumen plants, to generate employments.

According to him: “We have comparative advantage to open more petrochemical plants in our state given the existence of such plants, apart from providing jobs for the skilled and unskilled across the different strata of the economy, of course, you know that this will oil the wheel of the needed development which the current administration has hugely carried out.”

Speaking with newsmen once after the inspection of the Masters Energy Tank Farm at Port Harcourt, Dr. George said: “There is no doubt whatsoever that Masters Energy tank farm can compete with any of its kind anywhere in the world. The size and facilities at the tank farm are so mind blowing that government does not have any choice than to support the facility to achieve its objective.”

As a dedicated Christian, Dr. Dawari George as Commissioner, every Monday morning, assembled the members of the Ministry of Energy & Natural Resources, Rivers State, for prayers for 15 to 30 minutes, and he would be quoting copiously from the Bible. He was always punctual to doing this and to work.

Like it is said: Life is too short to be wasted over things that do not contribute to progress in life. No doubt, Dr. Dawari George is utilizing his very well and positively. He likes working with young people. When he was in Class three in secondary school, something was in his spirit that he would have a Ph.D. in Political Science. Today, he holds a Master’s in Political Science, specializing in Political Economy, which is called Development Studies. He also holds a Ph.D. in Political Science, majoring in Political Economy/Development Studies. These were all achieved at the University of Port Harcourt. He has also been involved in some courses and seminars, to beef up his knowledge of some other areas that interested him.

As he leaves for Abuja to represent the AKULGA/ASALGA Federal Constituency since the early days of June, 2011, his absence in Rivers State would be felt by many, but his contributions to develop the human and natural aspect of humanity would make great impact. Positive results go with the name Dr. Dawari George.

The people of Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency should always support him, as they have been doing. Dr. Dawari George has been tested and trusted and has been declared fit and proper by friends and his people. He should continue to make his people proud. The unprecedented song that took place Saturday, December 11, 2010, when political leaders and the masses of Asari-Toru (ASALGA) marched through the streets of Buguma chanting s

ongs: “Dr Dawari George na our choice,” “we believe wetin Dr Dawari George can do,” “Go and tell them that Dawari na our choice for House of Reps” will never stop.

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