Warring Bayelsa Assembly Leaders Strike Peace Deal

Seriake Dickson

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

A reconciliatory meeting brokered at the weekend by Governor Seriake Dickson has culminated in a peace deal between the impeached Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Emmanuel Isenah and his successor, Monday Obolo.

Although details of the meeting were not made available to the press, sources at Government House told THISDAY that Dickson had prevailed on the former speaker on the need to accept his removal and work for his kinsman, Douye Diri, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 16 guber election.

Earlier in the week, there was chaos in the Assembly with attendant several gunshots after Isenah took his colleagues by surprise to adjourn the sitting indefinitely, after he allegedly indicated to resign voluntarily.

A moment later, the Assembly reconvened under the leadership of the Deputy Speaker Abraham Ngobere and summarily sacked Isenah with about 18 of the 24 legislators in attendance.

The former speaker, who had not been seen in public since then however appeared in pictures taken by Government House photographers during the reconciliatory meeting yesterday, which also, had Diri in attendance.

The ex-speaker had been under pressure by the PDP leaders in the state to step down for Obolo, who hails from Southern Ijaw, in a new power sharing arrangement following the emergence of Diri, who hails from the same Kolokuma/Opokuma as Isenah. Southern Ijaw has the second highest voting population in the state and the PDP leaders agreed to cultivate the voters with such key position in Bayelsa State Government.

In a terse statement after yesterday’s peace deal, the impeached speaker said he had let go of his grouses against the process leading to his removal, promising to document his experience in his upcoming memoirs.

The former speaker, who thanked his supporters for their steadfastness, appealed to those who felt offended by his U-turn and decision to make peace to forgive him.

“Well, point made and lessons learnt. As the song writer will say ‘let it be, let it be, let it be.’ Apologies to those who will feel disappointed; and appreciation to all those who stood by me through this period.

“Special thanks to my worthy constituents, friends and well wishers for the show of love and support. When I gather my memoirs and document my story, a whole lot will be revealed. Life itself is a struggle. Great grace and God’s speed.

 “Your love for me is immeasurable and will certainly not be taken for granted. He who fights and runs away will certainly live to fight another day. It’s good to be a living hero than to be a dead hero,” he said.

Also, the new speaker said there were no cracks within the rank of the Assembly, stressing that the lawmakers remain one in their quest to build the state.

He said: “It is one united Bayelsa State House of Assembly. The Assembly is meant to argue and debate. I want to assure you that there are no cracks, we are united. The immediate speaker is part and parcel of this family.”

Confirming the peace deal, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said the pictures which emerged from the meeting had succeeded in telling the full story of the reconciliation.

He said: “These photographs are real and they tell their own story in a unique way. The story of unity, of oneness, of strength! Surely, those who are waiting for the imagined implosion of the PDP in Bayelsa will have their date with disappointment.

 “The PDP is one big strong, reliable and cohesive family in Bayelsa and its umbrella is formidable enough to accommodate the members. Political differences are not substitutes for irreconcilable disagreements and bitterness.