Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has expressed serious concern about the current state of the nation, and advised state governors and other stakeholders to work with President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government in tackling issues of national security, law/order and the economy.
The newly elected governor for a second-term stated this while speaking with journalists in Abuja monday.
He said: “We have seen a steady decline in our revenue. I have been saying this. There is an insufficient attention from the team around the president. Instead of focusing on the economy and national security, they are interested in political conquest and intrigues, even in their party.
“I am of the view that the president’s advisers are not sincere, I am seeing them showing unnecessary concern about political ego. This is when we should be forming national consensus. I don’t think deploying national assets and resources for political ego are necessary.”
The governor said he was surprised that despite all the changes, people are interested in battles and not building consensus, saying that should always happen after election by drawing a line to criminality and bad conducts.
He said whiled the APC leadership knows the true situation they elected to compromise the state and national security and called for understanding from the federal government for Bayelsa State to be safe again.
The governor also expressed optimism concerning the fate of the traditional ruler of Peremabiri Community, Chief Progress Never Die, who was shot at close range by a suspected militant group allegedly led by Eris Paul a.k.a Ogunboss—during the rescheduled Bayelsa State governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
According to him, the monarch has a bullet wound lodged on his brain, saying the people who shot him are walking freely and enjoying state protection.
He advised that the statement by a repented militant from the Niger-Delta, Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) that those who blew up pipelines are sponsored to incriminate others should not be dismissed.
While expressing optimism that his sister, Nancy Dickson and the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Local Government would be released, the governor assured that the security agencies were on top of the situation.
Dickson said: “I have always treated kidnapping as a crimes in its own rights. The security agencies should be allowed to do their jobs. My sister has spent one month in captivity, we are very concerned. But I don’t believe in paying money or ransom to kidnappers. Our prayer is that very soon they would be released.”
Governor Dickson attributed his victory over the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Timipre Sylva, in the recently-concluded election to divine intervention.
According to him, while he was with God and campaigned with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for six weeks, Sylva was waiting for the judiciary to make him governor.
He said the Bayelsa State governorship election was unique because “we were up against a full display of the totality of powers deployed by the centre to the fullest to take over Bayelsa State by force.
“My opponent’s campaign was appropriate and it was nicknamed Operation Takes over Bayelsa; we now know what they meant. We thank all Nigerians, from all walks of life who showed their anger that the right thing should be done,” Dickson stated.
“The election is a significant development for our democracy. This is the first time a governor in the core Niger Delta would be winning election different from the government at the centre. It is a triumph of peoples, will over might. Women used their bare bellies to stop Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).”
The governor said he expected his opponent to have called to congratulate him with a view to joining him to build the ruins he allegedly perpetrated, saying the honourable thing for his opponent is to stop the war against the people and stop boasting that he would manipulate the judiciary against the will of the people.
He added: “I don’t know what he wants to get out of the judiciary; this is desperation on his part. I’ve extended my hand of fellowship to Sylva. They don’t have God on their side and they were completely routed.
“The big lesson is that anybody seeking election should draw closer to his people. Power comes from God, but don’t underrate people. The governance politics of Bayelsa State cannot be the same again. We visited community after community and campaigned for six weeks. It is very penetrating and engaging and I am connected to my people. We toured the state for election, while the other side (Sylva and APC) were preparing for violence.
“If the election is conducted 100 times in Bayelsa State, I will win. The lesson from that is that after God, comes the people in any election. The story would have been worse if we had not laid the foundation for non-violence in an election, but insisted that people should resist malpractice and defend their votes.”
The governor regretted that instead of grieving for those who were either injured ir killed during the election, Sylva believes that the judiciary would make him a governor.
“INEC officials were at gun point to write fake results for him. It seems that he is not tired of supplementary election. He doesn’t care if Bayelsa goes to blazes. I think it is too much desperation on his part. If we are in more decent climes, some people will be answering questions over the violence that took place in the election.
“He knows that he has no case, yet he is hoping on more supplementary elections. This has to stop, someone should tell this gentleman that this has to stop”, the governor stated.
Dickson also ruled out one party state in Nigeria saying that cannot happen in Nigeria, going by the Bayelsa State experience.
“Nigerian democracy is on trial, it shows that our country cannot be a one party state. From my experience in Bayelsa a state, anybody thinking of totalitarian rule in Nigeria should have a rethink. This country shouldn’t be allowed to slip into a one party state. Many people who defected to the other party just because they were interested in political appointments lost their polling booths and units. It shows that our people would be against one party state”, he stated.
While condemning the violence and bloodletting that trailed the governorship election, Dickson said the victims were all from the PDP, while those who perpetrated the violence were all from the APC.
He however promised to work with the families to bury the dead.
The governor said after his election, President Buhari should have congratulated him in line with the trend of peace.
He said, “The President is the custodian of the country.
President Olusegun Obasanjo and others never compromised that standard. In the interest of the nation, the President should congratulate me.
“He should be advised to project himself more and that is the opportunity my reelection has provided. I know it is not yet late, I don’t know the briefing he got. If you look at the manner he was elected, President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated him, he would have gone to court and that is a major milestone.”
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