The National, Monday 20th August, 2012
By CLEMENT KAUPA
KOKOPO MP Ereman ToBaining Jr, a first-timer in national politics, is the duly-elected governor of East New Britain.
Incidentally, he is the last provincial governor to be elected into office in the 2012 elections that officially ended earlier this month.
The People’s National Congress Party member was named governor last Friday after he beat leading contender and Gazelle MP Malakai Tabar 13-5 on a LLG presidents’ vote in Kokopo’s provincial executive council chamber.
He takes up the office vacated by Leo Dion, now the deputy prime minister in the O’Neill government.
ToBaining said he would serve the people of Kokopo and East New Britain with dedication and integrity.
In an attempt to prevent the provincial executive council election, Rabaul MP Dr Alan Marat had raised an issue about the legality of the election due to the exclusion of seven LLG council presidents who had resigned to contest the national elections.
However, the PEC advised Marat to take the matter up in court and proceeded with the election in
the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Dion, who voted for the new governor.
“I hope this election is merit-based,” Marat told the election committee.
Also present during the PEC elections was T.H.E Party leader Don Pomb Polye and his parliamentary members, party executives, support staff and people of Kokopo who crowded the provincial headquarters grounds to witness the occasion.
ToBaining’s father – Ereman ToBaining Senior – was the first governor of East New Britain. Dion took office after him in the previous two parliamentary terms.
In recognising family achievements, Polye saluted ToBaining Jr and said: “You come from a very distinguished family and I know you will serve the people of East New Britain with distinction and credibility.
“You are a young and dynamic man and I believe you have the right leadership qualities.”
Polye also congratulated the people for the elevation of Dion to be deputy prime minister.
“It is not a mistake,” Polye said of Dion’s appointment.
“What we, T.H.E Party, gave and PNC gave is not to take back. It is to stay for five years with you,” Polye told the crowd shortly after ToBaining was sworn in as the governor.