Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has for the first time since the official opening of the Bayelsa State Government House at Onopa, Yenagoa, attended an event at the edifice inaugurated by former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, two years ago.
Speaking during a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) event to pick members of the Elders Advisory Council, the former president argued that governors were always afraid of not being allowed a second term by their godfathers.
According to Jonathan, immediately governors are elected, they start building their own teams, independent of their political benefactors, so as to consolidate and guarantee themselves a second term, which usually sets them against their godfathers.
He explained that it was part of the reason immediately he went to Abuja as vice president, he wrote a memo on the idea of an elders’ advisory council which could help douse such unwarranted tensions between governors and those who supported them in their careers.
Jonathan added that part of his reasoning was that the PDP as a party should also be able to establish a minimum benchmark for the return of governors for their second term, to reduce needless acrimony generated in many states.
He said: “When I went to Abuja as Vice President, I sent a memo that most of our problems we have at the state level is because there are a conflicts, but that in most cases, there are no people with authority to resolve the conflicts. So, it is good that we have a mini BoT at the state level.
“I have said that there is bound to be friction between governors and people at the centre, for the simple reason that the governors always feel that the godfather will not like to give them a second term.
“So, immediately they become governors, they start consolidating on their own and push the other people to the receiving end.
“For PDP to survive, we have to reduce this tension. The PDP must have a standard way of assessing our governors. Anybody who has the minimum
requirements should be given the go-ahead so that the governor will
not be afraid that somebody will not give him a second term ticket
which will cause infighting”.
He, however, urged all those present to put the interest of the party
before personal benefits, noting that the next governorship election
in the state should be the main focus of all, because the federal
government will be desperate to take over the state.
Jonathan added: “I was quite pleased when the idea of an elders’
advisory council came up because they are capable of resolving
conflicts. While we are pursuing our interests, let us not forget the
interest of the party.
“For Bayelsa, we really have a lot of challenges because the centre will like to use its federal might. The elections are coming and I know they will like to do whatever it takes to take over, but you look at the calibre of people here and you know the key people in Bayelsa are here with us.
“Other parties can only win if we have a major crack in-house, in which case, one group decides to work against the general interest of the party. But I am sure that is why we have the elders council and I believe collectively, we will be able to do it. So, once the board is inaugurated, they will give us a direction.”
He thanked the governor and the various leaders of the party for the roles they played during the last election, noting that “to see this
number of you shows not just the progress of the party, but that of the state”
The elder statesman praised Governor Dickson for building a befitting edifice as office complex and official residence for the governor and deputy, recalling that former governors of the state including himself, used to reside in bungalows while in office.
He further said: “Let me use this opportunity to appreciate the governor for this office. I am saying this because this is the first time I am entering the office and luckily all of us here are part of this story from 1996 and then, of course, as politicians when we took over in May 1999.
“We are now in a standard office; the governor is also residing in a
standard house, so Bayelsa State is progressing. So, I thank the
governor very sincerely. I always say that if you have the opportunity
to be a head somewhere, president or governor, chairman of council or
any other position, you should be able to add value to the
In his remarks, Dickson said the PDP was poised to retain its control
of the state as the gubernatorial election scheduled for November 16,
2019 draws closer.
Describing Jonathan as “my oga,” Dickson said: “I want to specially
thank Mr. President who has put aside all his activities because of
the importance of this meeting and the issues we will be handling from
“Things are different now from when we were in power. In 2015, against
all known odds, we defeated the APC. We faced fire in our communities,
our people were harassed.
“They thought they would be able to take Bayelsa by force, not knowing
we are a people of steel. If we were defeated, our landmark
achievements, including the government house where we are sitting
today, would not have been available. Our state is stable and on the
right path,” he said.
The governor called on all gubernatorial aspirants under the platform
of the PDP to avoid attacking one another but to focus attention on
the “subversive” activities of the opposition in the state.
Dickson also called for stronger cohesion within the party, advising
members and aspirants to avoid pursuing their ambitions at the expense
of the party.
“The ambitions are legitimate but we must note that what is important
is our unity and cohesion within the party.” he added.
Inaugurating the 61-member Elders Advisory Council, the state PDP
Chairman, Moses, described the council as a vital organ of the party
similar to the board of trustees, which is recognised by the party’s
constitution in every state chapter.
He said with the calibre of people in the council showed that no other
political party could defeat the PDP and win election in the state as
Governor Dickson had ensured victory for the party at all levels.
AVM Larry Koinyan, (retd), was appointed as the chairman of the
council while Talford Ongolo was selected as the acting secretary.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion were the Deputy Governor of
the state, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), state chairman of the party,
Moses Cleopas, and other party leaders.