Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has disclosed that he consciously took steps not to direct Bayelsans and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to defend themselves in the course of the Bayelsa governorship elections and after the declaration of David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner because he did not want the state to be destabilised.
Dickson who insisted that the leaders of the APC in conjunction with the Federal Government, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies plotted to take-over Bayelsa by force, said results of votes declared by INEC especially in Ogbia, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s local government area were unrealistic.
He expressed regrets that Former President Jonathan is not reading between the lines to see that APC leaders eulogising him, showing him respect and visiting him are only doing so to use him to give legitimacy to what they have done to Bayelsans and the PDP.
On the governorship aspiration of former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Ndutimi Alaibe, Dickson betrayed no regret in blocking his ambitions declaring that if he has the opportunity 100 times, he would still shut it down.
His position on violence
The results announced for Ogbia are not real. There has been no time the people of Ogbia since this democracy voted that way. Not even when a son of that local government was contesting as President. In 2011 Presidential election, Ogbia never voted that way. In 2015 when I was governor and presided over the coordination of the election, the people of Ogbia never voted that way. What happened in Bayelsa State was one of the most brazen acts of distortion of our democracy; the brazen rape of our democracy. I want to use this medium to thank and appreciate the peaceful disposition of our people. I know a number of our people have been angry asking me why I did not sanction the people to do any other thing that would have helped or allowed Bayelsans to protect themselves. But as you all know me, I believe in the politics of ideas; in politics of stability; in peace; I believe in using the existing system and rules to fight for redress. And I have no doubt that I am right. I know that the temptation is great; I know that the pain is serious and would last for a long time. But I want to do as I have been doing since the 16th and 17th to use this opportunity to call on you all to continue to show restraint. Two wrongs do not make a right. When you have a situation where all the institutions of state which has been put in place to support the exercise of your democratic right are the ones that have now colluded with armed militia and INEC, you can imagine that the outcome is forgone. I want to urge you all to continue that way and not resort to violence. Violence is not the solution. And for those of you who have seen me since then, I want to repeat to you publicly what I have been telling you all privately that we cannot be democrats and at the same time be raising and funding armed militia. You all know what that politics of brigandage led this state to before we took over in 2012. I want to call on all the youth leaders who have been raising concerns on issues and all those aggrieved to take it easy. I understand the pains, no one understands the danger this development has for your future more than me. The solution is not violence; the solution is not to do anything that would aggravate our already unstable society.
APC used Jonathan
In the context of all that has been going on, the insinuations out there is not misplaced. In the mix of all of these, what I think the APC leaders are doing is strategic. Maybe, the former President is not seeing it that way but I can see the strategic content in what they are doing. They came to Bayelsa to take his state and his people by force. They are my colleagues and friends, governors of Jigawa and Kebbi. They never called me or visited me. The game the APC leaders are playing is not just with the visit but comments they are making about him; APC, Oshiomhole and co coming to Bayelsa to praise Former President Jonathan. The reason they are doing that if the Former President does not see it, then it is really sad. What they have been doing is that they have been laying the foundation for this gross violation of the democratic rights of his (Jonathan) people. Because of what they planned, they had to systematically lay a foundation using his name and image to legitimise the illegitimate. That is why they had to be taking David Lyon to him, talking about him; they had to visit him and appeared to be celebrating a victory never earned. On the part of the APC, they are strategic, I can see the strategic content and APC themselves know, Timipre Sylva, the leader of APC and David Lyon, the purported governor-elect knows that the former president was not the one that has contributed to the rigging. What they have used the former president image is firstly to expand this notion of a disagreement to justify the allocation of figures and then after the rigging to now go to him. In other words, they have done terrible things which they know are not defensible. So, like Pontius Pilate, they are preparing a window by which they would wash off their hands strategically and put it at his doorsteps that he endorsed it, sanctioned and legitimised it. That is the game they are playing. The former president knows I have always advised he focused on national and international issues, because that is the face of a leader we have. That was what we worked for and God raised him for us. When we see him with Sylva in Abuja when he has not met the candidate of his party and has not congratulated the candidate of his party, a candidate who emerged in a primary election, he himself voted and participated in, as a democrat, I don’t think that is ideal. But you know he is my leader, my Oga, and elder brother. I am always very reluctant to express my views except this very recent open issue.
I’ll stop Alaibe 100 times
If as governor for eight years, I keep engaging and all I see is an attempt to back a candidate who people perceived is not supportive of me, look if you present that to me 100 times I would shut it down 100 times. Those who packaged that ambition in that manner didn’t mean well for the person they were supporting and did not also mean well for me, the party and even for the former president because whoever emerges we are all his children. But to frame a governorship ambition around him, just like David Lyon’s victory is framed around him, something that he should be distanced from; some ambitions in our party were framed as a contest between him and me which is very bad. I warned and cautioned against it. Even if we make mistakes and even if he is distant, he corrects, steps in to advise. Let it be known clearly that I and the government have the highest level of respect and regard that is due a former President of our country from our place. No politician in Bayelsa has worked harder more with him than him. He is my Oga any day and he himself has helped me so much. The notion that APC is promoting that because there was a disagreement, they won Bayelsa is balderdash. That is false. They are trying to justify a day light robbery of the democratic rights of our people and they are busy looking for justification. They would look for much more.