A native of Dukegbene in Opuama Kingdom, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa state, Duke Surveyor Timipa has paddled a canoe for about 20 hours covering a distance of about 100km to celebrate the victory of the state’s governor-elect, Chief David Lyon.
Timipa, who is a 29 year old man, started his journey, pulling his local canoe with a paddle from the waterways of Olugbobiri, Lyon’s community in Southern Ijaw, traversing many creeks and rivulets to anchor at the Ox-bow Lake in Yenagoa.
The voyager said he had vowed to paddle the canoe from Olugbobiri to a Yenagoa if Lyon and the All Progressives Congress (APC) win the governorship election in the state which took place on Nov. 16.
Timipa hoisted the flag of APC in the canoe and began the hand-pulling journey at about 9:30am on Tuesday withstanding rising current and got to the Ox-bow lake at about 4pm on Wednesday.
He said he undertook the journey to underscore his belief that Lyon has the capacity to develop the state and build roads linking riverine communities to stop the hardship associated with canoe paddling.
According to Timipa: “I believe development will be felt in all sectors of the state. What am doing today signifies the end of when our people used to paddle canoe from our distant communities either for fishing or trading to the capital city.
“We know since he is one of us he knows the pains of the people. Road will get to our communities and link with Yenagoa. The traditional means of using canoe for long distance is gone. All the villages in Opuama kingdom will get roads ”
Timipa, who carried four litres of water, bread and dried fish as his basic requirements for the journey added: “I started the journey in the morning, and at night when I was tired I rested at Oporoma, the Local Government council headquarters and I continued again on Wednesday evening.
“I want to use this opportunity to urge youths in the state to embrace the incoming administration. We have to cooperate with the governor-elect to achieve all we have been craving for, because David Lyon, is the people’s choice and he will impact positively in our lives.
“On tourism, we have so much potential that will earn the state so much and increase our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and also sell the state to the outside world.
“The governor will encourage tourism”.
Also speaking, Leader of ward 13, Opuama Kingdom, Commander Mark Agada, said from 1999, Southern Ijaw had suffered neglect.
“I heard that a young man had vowed that if David Lyon won, he would honour him personally by using a hand-pulling canoe to Yenagoa, the state capital. With the high current in the sea, the young man was able to paddle through for David Lyon.
“This indicates that he is standing for the whole people of Southern Ijaw to end long suffering of using canoe to travel down such a long distance.
“He suffered on behalf of the people with assurance that the governor-elect will build roads and cars with other means of land transportation will be used to get to our communities.”
Those who received him at the ox-bow lake pavilion recreational centre were, General Asupa, Samuel Richard, CDC chairman Opuama Kingdom, Gen. Don Ebi, Mr. Ayiba Meeting Aweke, Mr. Freedom Oki, Gen. Perekeme, Mr. Double Odogu.
Others are Mr. Blacky Sokari, Mr. Okilo Young, Mr. Tarila Olotu, and P.A Gen. Asupa.