- Â Mischief makers are after governor, says ex-lawmaker
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) have waded into the crisis generated by remarks purportedly made by Governor Seriake Dickson that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan wasted six years in the presidency.
All the groups blamed those they termed as â€˜enemies of the Ijaw peopleâ€™ for wanting to create a gulf between the former president and the governor, insisting that the relationship between the two remains very smooth.
A PDP statement signed by its Chairman in the state, Mr. Cleopas Moses, said Dickson remains loyal to the former president, who is still the leader of the party in the country.
â€œWe condemn in very strong terms attempts by some dubious persons to cause disaffection between former President Jonathan and Dickson.
â€œThe governor was quoted out of context by mischief makers who are bent on destroying the existing cordial and enviable relationship between Dickson and Jonathan who remains the leader of the party,â€ Moses posited.
The PDP added: â€œThe governorâ€™s remark was purely aimed at calling on Bayelsans holding public offices within and outside the state to work together and bring meaningful development to the state through effective collaboration with the state government for the collective good of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation.â€
On its part, the INC in a statement by its Chairman (Central Zone), Kennedy Odiowei, described the comment by Dickson at the event as â€˜food for thought.â€™
â€œThe video, audio clips and the testimonies of notable Ijaw sons and daughters in attendance confirmed that Dickson did not make derogatory remarks about former President Jonathan as being made to believe by detractors.
â€œHowever, it is sad to note that instead of appreciating the efforts of the governor of Ijaw homogeneous state, the detractors for their selfish reason decided to twist the message in order to cause crisis in the region,â€ the INC emphasised.
It added: â€œWe members of the INC have admitted our failure. We have left what is to be done undone. The governorâ€™s statement has woken us up from our slumber. It is our responsibility to join forces with our leaders irrespective of their political parties to ensure a rapid development of the region.
Also, the IYC in a statement signed by its chairman in the Central Zone, Mr Bobolayefa Owoupele, stated that Dicksonâ€™s remark at the Isaac Boro Day celebration was a clarion call for all political office holders to close ranks and work with the government to develop the state and the Ijaw nation.
â€œThose who are twisting Dicksonâ€™s statement on the development of Bayelsa are enemies of the state who are interested to heat up the polity and create a huge disaffection between the governor and former President Jonathan,â€ the youth group said.
Similarly, a former Chief Whip in the old Rivers State House of Assembly, Chief Thompson Okorotie, has expressed concern over the continued attack on Dickson which queried the performance of Bayelsans who have held public offices at the national level in the last six years.
According to him, most of those painting the governor in bad light because of the remark were not even present at the Isaac Boro Day event and only read reports in a section of the media that were clearly biased and unprofessional.
Okorotie told journalists in Yenagoa yesterday that Dickson built his speech from the moral questions raised by King Mosi Agara, the paramount ruler of the late Boroâ€™s Kolokuma clan who asked rightly if privileged Bayelsans were keeping the dream of the departed hero alive.
He observed that it was based on that premise the governor also expressed concern on the level of contribution those who have represented the state had made, adding that their attitude has translated to several missed opportunities for the state.
Okorotie said: â€œI was present at the event at which the governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson spoke about Boro and the signiicance of Boro day anniversary. The views expressed by the governor on the years of wasted opportunities which included six years at the helm of affairs of the country was not intended to disparage the person of Jonathan.
â€œIt was rather intended to call us to duty to ensure effective utilisation of the opportunities we have had and still have to serve the nation and the Ijaw ethnic nationality. The views of the governor are widely shared by the vast majority of Bayelsa and others in the Niger Delta.â€
The respected senior citizen of Bayelsa said that Dickson used the occasion to register his displeasure and regret over the issue and lampooned those who are more interested with selfish interest and the â€˜Pull Him Down Syndromeâ€™.
The former lawmaker maintained that nobody has given more support and sacrifice to the former president within and outside government like Dickson as he stood by him during the presidential election and accorded him a heroic welcome back home party.
He also stressed that Dicksonâ€™s comments do not warrant the extreme negative and divisive views that have been expressed by a very few people who do not wish the Ijaw ethnic nationality well.
â€œIt is therefore my advice that professionals of incitement and hate peddling should stop their strenuous attempts at dividing the Ijaw nation and promoting crisis in Bayelsa State that has enjoyed sustainable peace and security to the envy of other states that are not so blessedâ€, the Bayelsa Elders Forum members concluded.