- Posted by Editor
- On November 28, 2019
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Governor Dickson and the price of impunity
By Annabel Ogheneganre
THE above is the title of a piece I did for another newspaper two weeks before the governorship Bayelsa polls. It is so very sad that my prediction came to pass, though not without some unpleasant incidents. Though what played out in Bayelsa is everything but credible election, it however serves Governor Dickson right. That too has sent the right signals to the rest of the PDP family across Nigeria. The governor drove loyal party men to the point of walking away not minding the consequences. The celebration that greeted the fall of Dickson is enough to prove that though APC may not be a better option than PDP, it remains a formidable alternative which is there to drive sense into the leadership of the party. Before I make my post election comments, I may need to draw some excerpts from my earlier piece:
”The signs are ominous. There is a strange air of political uncertainty in Bayelsa state, particularly in the PDP camp. Ahead of the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa State, there are indications that Bayelsa, a supposedly hitherto stronghold of the PDP and home State of leader of the party in Nigeria, former President Goodluck Jonathan was gradually slipping out of the PDP hands. Most pre-elections signals emanating from the state are in negative no thanks to the recklessness and impunity of the incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson. The man is power-drunk and does not listen to the voice of reason. He is hell-bent on foisting a particular candidate on the state. Through the hurriedly elected Chairmen of Council and their councilors, Dickson succeeded in finding his way through the jungle of party primaries to have his way against the advice of the party elders and leaders most of whom wanted Timi Alaibe as party flag-bearer. Dickson had his way and since then, the party has not known peace.
”Governor Seriake Dickson who was handpicked by Goodluck Jonathan from the House of Representatives to be Governor in 2011 has suddenly assumed the status of an emperor who do not wish to listen to anybody. He brought in the unpopular Senator Diri from nowhere and imposed him on the party against wise counsel of the party elders including Goodluck Jonathan. Perhaps, Dickson has an unforgiving spirit because it was Alaibe that gave him the battle of his life in 2015. But having understood the strength of Timi Alaibe and the precarious condition of the PDP having lost power at the centre, there was need to promote a transparently visible internal democracy within the party so as to carry all stakeholders along. Dickson vowed never to hand over to Alaibe and the latter also resolved to take his pound of flesh not minding what the PDP might suffer in the long run.
“Today less than two weeks to the election, more than fifty political office holders in the Dickson administration have resigned their appointment to pitch tent with the opposition All Progressives Congress. Those who resigned include a serving Commissioner, Special Advisers, Special Assistants, Board members and a former Council boss. All these are leaving the PDP with hundreds of their supporters and loved ones to swell the rank of the APC ahead of the polls. The only hope the party have going into the election is simply the support and goodwill of Goodluck Jonathan, former president of the federal republic of Nigeria. Many people want to teach Dickson a lesson so he would know how to handle party affairs. Since Uche Secondus assumed the leadership of the party, some level of sanity has been infused in the running of the party and this has given life to the party at all level. But Governor Dickson has failed to drive Bayelsa with the new spirit of the PDP. He had his way with the primaries in a crude manner which may rock the boat eventually since Timi Alaibe has refused to drop his case in the law court. That too could undermine the performance of the party as Timi and his teeming supporters may not fight for the party with the degree of energy expected from his camp.
”The APC will surely cash in on the aforementioned confusion to reap some strategic votes in difficult areas of the state. If care is not taken, Governor Dickson may pay the ultimate price of impunity in political contest by losing to the APC at the polls. The signs are not favourable to the PDP. APC is bringing so much money to Bayelsa to clear the way for them. PDP also has so much to play with since the incumbent may not want to be humiliated as a Governor who failed to produce a choice successor. But the reality on ground is grave and ominous for the PDP. Whatever plays out on November 16 will surely teach some hard lessons on the pains of impunity by political office holders. The lessons are not for PDP alone but for APC alike. All stakeholders will have to learn from the fact that Dickson is struggling to have his way because of impunity. PDP may well win but surely not as easy as if Timi Alaibe, a strong candidate, were to be in the ballot. That David Lyon of the APC seemed to be a political misfit is not enough as many Bayelsans are not satisfied with Dickson’s leadership style of snubbing critical stakeholders like Goodluck Jonathan. Dickson has turned himself into an emperor, a potentate with all powers vested in him. For this many have left the PDP to teach him a lesson he may not forget in his lifetime.
”While the sympathy of this writer rests with Goodluck Jonathan and the need to protect his honour as a PDP leader, the likes of Seriake Dickson deserves to be taught some hard lessons so that those in authority could learn to behave. Power is transient and in a matter of months, Dickson will shed the enormous powers he wields in the past 8 years in Bayelsa state. He wants to be the next senator if the PDP Senator Diri wins as Governor since the incumbent senator, Ewhrudjakpo who is running mate to Diri would have to resign his seat in the senate for possible election of Seriake Dickson. This is the height of selfish political thought. The man is not even thinking of the situation PDP has found himself in. Perhaps he thinks Bayelsans love him so much that they would ask him to go to the senate without a fight from the APC. Even if PDP wins on November 16, and Ewhrudjakpor resigns, what gave Dickson the impetus to think that he would have an easy ride to Abuja? With a PDP governor in power, Dickson could still lose and that would be a minus for the PDP family. Dickson is self-centered and his type deserves some hard lessons to drive some sense into him. Let November 16 come and see what will become of the likes of Governor Dickson. He stands the chance of paying the price of impunity on November 16”.
This was what I wrote two weeks to the polls and that was exactly what happened. The Jubilation that greeted the fall of the PDP even in the stronghold of the party suggests a deeper anger than what could be imagined, even beyond what APC members ever thought of. Dickson has paid the price and the fortune of the PDP as a party sitting on the oil well of the Niger Delta has been reduced. The template for winning the Bayelsa poll may be invested in Delta in 2023 and those who believe PDP can never been beaten in the State may well reap the gains of treachery sooner than later. Delta Central, which is the battleground zone of Delta State, has already sown the seed of treachery in 2019 which may blossom into an octopus in 2023 to hurt those who believe they own PDP and can take the people for granted. I love the music from Bayelsa State. Anything can happen and even Delta State can fall for APC if care is not taken.