Bayelsa political circle is currently gripped by the quiet battle of wits between former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson over who to produce governor in 2020. OSA OKHOMINA in Yenagoa examines the issues.
The unusual silence in Bayelsa State over the cold and lingering feud between the Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson is beginning to affect activities of Governance and tele-guiding discuss in political circle.
For many, the duo of Governor Seriake Dickson and Former President, Goodluck Jonathan have come a long way. Like many described it, their political careers were dependent on the brotherly love that existed between them. But the love is lost and the drumbeat of a showdown is unsettling many Bayelsa people.
While the Jonathan loyalists claimed Gov. Dickson benefitted more from their political union, the members of the Dickson’s team left no one in doubt about the role played by Governor Dickson at those troubled times for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as a Deputy Governor, Vice President and President.
While many deserted Goodluck Jonathan as Deputy Governor during the return of the late D.S.P Alameiseigha into Yenagoa after his delay outside the country was facilitated during his face-off with Former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Hon. Seriake Dickson stood strong behind him against forces that attempted to hijack the position of Governor from Jonathan.
Dickson, who is considered a “master Strategist” by his loyalists was also instrumental to the stiff defence mounted in the media against attempts to subvert the constitutional right of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to become President after the demise of late President Musa Yar’dua. Then, he was a member of the House of Representative.
But despite the good actions of Governor Seriake Dickson, the Jonathan loyalists left no one in doubt that all Governor Seriake Dickson were well rewarded with the appointment of Commissioner, two term Federal House of Representative tickets and Governorship under the powerful backing of the Presidential powers of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the Aso Villa, the seat of Federal powers.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who was considered the underdog with the full Presidential powers behind him which led to the ouster of Chief Timipre Sylva from Government House and out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Many are expecting that the impending face- off between the duo will be more interesting with Governor Seriake Dickson considered the favorite and Former President Goodluck Jonathan, the underdog.
For the Loyalists of Governor Dickson, the Former President lacks the needed political arsenal needed to wrestle the PDP structure and determine who succeed the Governor in 2019.
It is believed in the political circle in Bayelsa that while Governor Dickson can boast of the PDP structure and the huge financial muscle needed to battle his one-time leader, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan, on the other hand, is considered as lacking State PDP structure and the needed support from the Senator Ahmed Markarfi led caretaker committee of the party.
He is also considered weak financially with the ongoing hounding of his purse and his aides by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). But what he is lacking in political structure and financial muscle, he has in the support of some State Governors including Barr. Nyosome Wike of Rivers State, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and many others.
Also considered an added advantage to the Former President are the “Militants” from Delta, Rivers and Edo State, deployed during the 2016 governorship elections against the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva. The massive support against APC during the last election was due to the term “PDP is an Ijaw Party”. And it worked for Governor Dickson’s re-election.
While some Jonathan loyalists’ listed five offences Governor Seriake Dickson have committed against Former President Goodluck Jonathan. When asked to explain, the loyalist claimed the time of revelation is close. The Dickson’s loyalists blamed the Former President for the crisis between him and Gov. Dickson.
According to the loyalist, “Jonathan caused the quarrel with the Governor. He allowed his boys and his wife to use his name and insult the Governor openly in the media. He has lost his political leadership of the State due to his failure to control his boys.”
Many of the Governor Dickson’s close aides, however boast that the last Six years of the restoration administration in the state ha been used to consolidate on the future of the State with development projects and political advancement with loyalists being fixed in positions needed to ward off such incursions such as the coming battle with Former President and his boys.
They claimed that the record of political battle fought by Governor Dickson were numerous and he came out clean and victorious. And that is why he is referred to as ‘Ofuruma Pepe’ meaning “the great white shark”
A Federal lawmaker, who spoke to leadership on condition of anonymity, revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan does not have the wellwithall to fight and that if he influ2084904698ences the hijack of the Party from the strong hold of the State Governor, they may activate plan B and disgrace him at the polls.
Plan B, by his claim, may mean switching party and defeat the PDP in the State. Whether the Plan B may mean APC or any other party in the State, time will tell.
At the national level, some politicians claimed that Governor Seriake Dickson have lost face over his perceived support to the Modu Sherrif groups in the PDP. A claim, that has since being dismissed with his visit to Senator Ahmed Markafi as part of the final winding up of his Reconciliation Committee.
Governor Seriake Dickson has however confirmed that no political group or party can defeat his political group known as “Restoration team” as constituted under his administration in the State.
He said his “Restoration Team” is the only group with capacity and proper structure to win elections in the State, warning existing opposition political parties not to be deceived with false hope of victory at the poll.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who made this known during the inauguration of the Contact and Mobilization Committee led by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Chief Feynman Wilson at the Party Secretariat, said the Restoration group is the only winning side in the State.
Gov Dickson told the ward, Local Government and State Executive members that the 9-man Committee on Contact and Mobilization was established to reach out and bring bank members that left the Party and make appropriate recommendations to the party on how and when those members would be openly received.
According to him, “the committee should further ensure that they mop up smaller political parties I the State. Our party is not of bitterness and those opposed to us are not enemies. PDP is the only winning side. Don’t allow them to deceive you. This is the only party that has the capacity to win election.”
Gov. Dickson also noted that the his administration in the last six years have been dedicated to the building of human beings and Institutions,” the era of repeated crisis in the State Assembly and removal of Speaker is in the past. The Bayelsa State Assembly is stable and working with state executive.”
He also warned those allegedly involved in the struggle to instigate political crisis in the state ahead of the choice of his successor in 2020,” As I said three or four years ago, that the case of these kind of politicians is likened to an Antelope that was called to dance. Antelope started dancing early and when the dance day comes, the antelope legs are broken.”
“Please tell them to take it easy. Any ambition is planned. Plan it well and time it well. It is not yet time for Governorship election. It is in 2020. Don’t be misled.
Chief Perekeme Kpodoh, the Former Security Adviser to the Bayelsa State Government and a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) warned the Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to stop acts capable of provoking division and angers among the people of the Niger Delta.
He insisted that such anti-Niger Delta actions could confirm his fears of bad reception and angry reward among his people.
Kpodoh, said though the people of the Niger Delta, particularly Bayelsa State welcomed him back home in 2015 after the six wasted years of zero development of the region, the recent acts of heating up the Bayelsa polity through anti-democracy tendencies may provoke the people to review their peaceful disposition and pay him back in his own coin.
Chief Perekeme Kpodoh while responding to recent reports of the alleged involvement of Former President Goodluck Jonathan in cases of political risis over issue of who succeed Governor Seriake Dickson in 2020, said the days when Ijaw people will vent their anger on years of Jonathan failure in the Presidency is near.
According to Kpodoh, “Jonathan should not take the silence of his people in the Niger Delta as a clear acceptance of his failure as President. The reception given to him when he came back from election defeat is not acceptance but a clear mockery against his under performance in office.”
“The Niger Delta people knew the way he left them and it was the way he came back to meet them. They hold him in contempt over his failure to complete the East-West road with many of their kinsmen dead from road accidents. He gave monies to his cronies for the Federal Secetariat and roads in Ogbia and other places.But they diverted the money and the project is hanging. He opened the Federal treasury to his cronies and they stole the monies meant for the region and Bayelsa.”
“Now, he has started fanning ember of political crisis among the people that despise him. No Bayelsa indigene will listen to him except his cronies. They are tired of his deceit and lies. And if care is not taken his prediction in 2015 that he was expecting to be booed will come to pass sooner than expected. The Ijaw people have tolerated him for over six years and are ready to shut him up,politically.”
“He was the same person that left the Bayelsa State government indebted under Chief Timipre Sylva. Ans also could not account for the N20billion left in government coffers after the conspiracy that removed Late D.S.P Alameiseigha from office. If he does not stop this penchant for disrespecting the political will of the people, he will be disgraced and stoned.”
Early signs of battle
In the last few days, the drums of war have started sounding with the drummers counting their teeth with their tongues.
Leadership gathered that while the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson was on official six weeks le abroad, Former President Goodluck Jonathan visited the state and allegedly held wide consultations with stakeholders, particularly his loyalists and some aides to the Governor on how best to approach the battle.
It was gathered that the meetings, which were held in secret, was allegedly to map out strategy to battle. Among the strategies being considered by the Jonathan’s squad is the pressure on some of Gov. Dickson’s aide and Assembly members to resign and join force against him.
Juicy appointments and positions are allegedly being offered to many as a yard stick to join the anti-Seriake Dickson battle.
The first sign of possible confrontation between loyalists of Governor Seriake Dickson and Former President Goodluck Jonathan was a statement issued by the PDP after the non-elective convention in Abuja.
The Bayelsa State PDP under the Chairmanship of Barr. Cleopas Moses accused some pro-Jonathan loyalists of attempts to hijack the party structure in order to “single handedly” install Dickson’s successor. Cleopas Moses is a known loyalist of Governor Seriake Dickson.
Barr. Cleopas Moses, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State offered reasons for the alleged desperate attempt by some anti-Dickson forces to hijack the State Executive of the Party, sayign the attempt is to single handedly impose Dickson’s successor in 2019.
Cleopas, Moses said though the refusal of the Sen. Ahmed Makarfi and the P.D.P National Care-Taker Committee for not dissolving the state Executives is commendable, those behind the plot to destabilize the Party have been identified.…
Barr. Cleopas Moses, who made this known in a statement in Yenagoa, said those pushing for the dissolution of his EXCO were the same people that tried to no avail to use Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) to destabilized Bayelsa State in the buildup of 2015 General Election, even after all their plots failed like a park of cards, many of these people decamped to All Progressive Congress (APC) to distract the P.D.P and our performing Governor, Rt. Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson from a well-deserved second term.
According to him, “The Bayelsa State Executives under the Chairmanship of Hon. Cleopas, Moses .Z. (JP) rose from their usual Executives Committee meeting and resolved to commend and express, appreciation and gratitude to the National Care-Taker Committee led by Sen. Ahmed Makarfi for dissolving the State Executives of the party but rather confirming and using convention powers to ratify it in the just concluded Non-Elective National Convention on the 12th of August, 2017 in Abuja”.
The Chairman, Hon. Cleopas, Moses said he was aware of some enemies of the State that had pushed for the dissolution of the EXCO for their selfish ends. The Chairman reiterated that the Bayelsa State Party Executive is ever strong and united, he further assured the NCC of the readiness of the State Chapter to work tirelessly with it to ensure that P.D.P grows from strength to strength.”
Hon. Cleopas said those pushing for the dissolution of his EXCO were the same people that tried to no avail to use Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) to destabilized Bayelsa State in the buildup of 2015 General Election, even after all their plots failed like a park of cards, many of these people decamped to All Progressive Congress (APC) to distract the P.D.P and our performing Governor, Rt. Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson from a well-deserved second term.”
The Chairman said having failed to stop the re-election of the Governor in 2016, the same characters have re-grouped to undemocratically take over Bayelsa state Party structure ahead of 2019 with the aim of foisting Governor Dickson’s successor on the P.D.P Executives”
However, the Chairman assured all that their plans will fail, and that they shall be resisted by EXCO, that these anti-democratic forces calculating to hijack State structure to crudely impose candidates of their choice including the P.D.P Governorship Candidate on the party shall be resisted by the real P.D.P family.”
The Chairman and members of the also put it on record that for those who left the Party and are desirous of returning, there is a P.D.P. Constitutional process of re-joining which shall be led by his EXCO at the State level and that the process is on-going.”
We warn those desirous of a return to identify the real route and never allow these political jobbers and miscreant and misguide them.
In conclusion, the State Executive Committee collectively and wholeheartedly reaffirmed the Restoration Administration of Governor Dickson and Praised the Governor for placing the state on the paths of Development, peace and prosperity.
They called on the governor not to be distracted as Bayelsans and the Ijaw Nation are solidly behind him.