Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson has a way of countering the growing opposition to his second term bid in 2016 within his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
To the displeasure of the opposition, Dickson loves to flaunt his modest achievements since February 14, 2012, when he assumed office as governor of the state and call on the people of the state to ask those in the opposition camp to render their own account of service to the state as serving senators and aides to the immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
By now, many natives of the state, through his “tauntings,” have identified his opponents. They include the senator representing Bayelsa Central senatorial district, Senator Emmanuel Paulker; the senior special assistant to the president on Domestic and Social Affairs, Dr. Waripamowei Dudafagh; former state acting governor, Werinipre Seibarugu; former deputy speaker, Hon. Nestor Binabo and former senator representing Bayelsa East, Senator Nimi Bariagh-Amange.
The monthly Transparency briefing and the May 2015 edition of the state executive committee meeting of the PDP in the state presented yet another opportunity for Dickson.
Unlike in the past, his countenance during the Transparency briefing held within the Banquet Hall of Government House, Yenagoa, and the SEC meeting of the PDP held at the state secretariat of the party, was that of subtle anger and show of readiness to confront the growing fold of opposition head-on.
Addressing a crowd of aides and supporters at the Banquet Hall, the governor warned the opposition that the rule of the game had changed.
He said: “All the kinds of characters I have been tolerating, those days are gone. This is a new order. Most of the so-called people in Abuja from this state are major beneficiaries of our restoration government.
“If you have power, use it for the good of our state. A number of them have big contracts, which were given to them; which they have abandoned. And very soon, I am going to tell our people who most of those characters are. It is only our own politicians, who when they leave here for Abuja, don’t know that they have an obligation to support the home government. They think that development is only a matter for the (state) government to do.
“And even as a government, we are trying our best to change our state in a way they cannot ever imagine. What do they do? They stay afar and throw stones. They engage in blackmail and spread propaganda.”
At the SEC meeting of the party, Dickson and PDP supporters resolved to adopt the report of the party’s Disciplinary Committee set up to investigate the anti-party posture of perceived political enemies during the state, national assembly and presidential elections.
The report of the committee, according to the acting chairman of the PDP, Serena Dokubo-Spiff, showed they were expelled based on the gravity of the offences under anti-party activities and disrespectful attitude to the party in the state.
According to Dokubo-Spiff, “The decision came after careful deliberation of the report and unanimous adoption through a voice vote. Some were expelled, others suspended. While some were reprimanded, others were exonerated. The committee worked diligently and in accordance with the party’s constitution. Those invited by the Disciplinary Committee were adequately invited and many turned up. But those expelled shunned the committee’s sitting.”
The acting chairman however announced that the recommendations of the committee on the duo of the suspended party chairman, Col. Sam Inokoba and the senator representing Bayelsa Central senatorial district, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, had been referred to the National Working Committee of the party for action, adding, “This was done on account of the constitutional provision on the positions held within the party.”
Dokubo-Spiff also announced that a Contact and Reconciliation Committee had been set up by the leadership of the party to reach out to those genuinely aggrieved and bring them back into the fold of the party.
“The Committee will reach-out and bring them back into the family. The PDP is a responsible and responsive party. We cane on one hand and reprimand with the other. If they show genuine remorse and turn from their bad ways, the PDP will embrace them.
“We are better, not totally better, but we have established the tenet of fair hearing. If it is one or two genuine party members that are left, we shall soldier on and victory shall be ours,” he said.
In his remarks, Dickson stressed that if indiscipline and disloyalty were not checked among party members, it would affect the party’s survival, pointing out that a situation whereby PDP members campaigned openly for candidates of other political platforms while benefitting from the PDP would no longer be condoned.
The governor berated members, who worked against the party’s interest with impunity in the last elections and called for unity among members. He also lauded the acting chairman and the party for its efforts at instilling discipline and respect for constituted authority.
According to him, “You cannot have a situation where party leaders will sponsor candidates on the platform of other political parties to contest for political power and space against our party. And they do so with impunity, campaign openly while they are PDP members benefitting from the platform provided by our party. This can no longer be tolerated.
“This is a PDP state, but our party’s strength will wane if we do not maintain party discipline. We cannot tolerate a situation where a few people consider themselves above the party and do things with impunity without regard for the authority of the leadership of the party just because they are in one leadership position or the other which, by the way, were positions they got through the instrumentality of the PDP.
“Let me stress that party discipline does not mean that members are not free to aspire to elective offices or other positions of political leadership. What it means is that, at the end of the primary elections, party members must conform to the decisions of the party. That is the only way a political organisation can call itself, a political party.”
But the expelled aide to Jonathan, Dr. Waripamowei Dudafagh, described the decision of the party to expel him and others as acts of impunity, saying that it is no secret that the governor has brought the PDP to its lowest ebb in the history of democracy in Bayelsa State due to his bad governance, corruption, poor human relations, acts of impunity, injustice and nepotism.
According to Dudafagh, “He is acting like he has conquered the people of Bayelsa and has turned the state to a private estate belonging to him and his family members alone, as the only thing he does is to buy up all available land and build houses all over Yenagoa.
“Governor Dickson does not have respect for constituted authority or his elders, thus he can wilfully attack and destroy a whole Federal High Court in Yenagoa, just because he feared the court was going to deliver a judgement that was likely not to favour him.
“Governor Dickson’s disrespect for both President Jonathan and the First Lady is very well known. That is the reason he could not even be patient to allow the President peacefully leave office before embarking on the current disruptive actions.