2019: Dickson’s New Political Strategy Over Successor Unsettles Opposition In Bayelsa

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In this report, Osa Okhomina examines the strategy of the incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson to ensure that whoever succeeds him has the right qualifications for Bayelsa development as laid down by the Restoration team.

new wave of optimism is moving through the political landscape of Bayelsa State over the battle to succeed the incumbent Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson come February 14,2020.
Fueled by the giant strides of the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson in the area of Education, Infrastructural Development and New economic successes with the state hitting over N13 billion Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) since the creation of the State, the optimism has already spread like wildfire within the fold of the PDP and members of the Restoration team of Governor Dickson.
Unlike in the past, where a few political big wigs in the State led by former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan decided who govern the state, the tide has changed with Gov. Dickson’s decision to perform and set a higher bar with needed requirements being performance, party loyalty and proper consultation with key stakeholders.
While many political observers agreed that presently in Bayelsa State and with the near excellent performance of Governor Seriake Dickson in all sectors of the state, the decision to choose a successor will largely depend on his Political structure known as the Restoration team.
Others said despite the purported performance and display of proper grip on the politics of the State, the Politics of the State is filled with surprises and shock. They claimed that the different political bed fellows may gang up and form a formidable team to upstage the choice and will of
the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson.
Many of Dickson’s loyalists have the belief that a successor worthy of Governor Dickson’s performance and style of good governance will emerge from the ruling PDP and will be supported by the people based on the achievement of the present administration.
Even the opposition led by the All Progressive Congress (APC) seems to be divided in their assessment of Governor Dickson’s performance. I breath, those close and loyal to the Former Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva are of the opinion that the Dickson’s administration is riding high on the ignorance of the people.
But the former Acting Chairman of the APC in the State and the Former Security Adviser to the Bayelsa Government, Chief Richard Kpodoh, commended the present administration of Governor Seriake Dickson over the construction and completion of projects in the health and road infrastructure sectors of the State, saying the health projects is saving lives of Bayelsa people.
Chief Kpodoh, said despite the present administration’s political affinity to the people’s Democratic Party (PDP), the completed projects such as the State Diagnostic centre, the Dora Akinyuli drug mart, the Kidney dialysis centre, the 350 bed hospital medical personnel quarters and the ongoing construction of the Sagbama-Ekeremor road have increased the access of indigenes of the state to world class facilities and securing lives.

Dickson’s uncommon strategy
Despite the accolades of performance, the loyalists of the Governor Seriake Dickson administration confirmed that instead of engaging in noise making and media war with perceived political enemies, Governor Seriake Dickson is busy raising the bar and changing the political game plan with increased bridge building and increased revenue profile for infrastructural development of the State.
In the few months, Governor Dickson has met with the business community, stakeholders in the Oil and Gas sector and Foreign investors for more of increased investment and employment through active industrial presence in the State.
The list is endless. Governor Dickson has met with the Managing Director and Country Chairman of the SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, the European Union Ambassador, Michel Arrion and the GMD of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
More strategic, was his decision to inaugurate a-22member Bayelsa Business Council (BBC) to formulate policies aimed at attracting local and foreign investors to the state and as well shore up her revenue base.
Members of the council are Chief Ephraim Faloughi (Chairman); Mr Harcourt Aduke Deputy chairman, Ambassador Godknows Igali- Vice chairman public sector, Gesiye Asamowei – Vice Chairman, private sector, Mr Tam Alazigha-secretary, Idikio Warmate as assistant secretary.
Others are Ken Etete, Mrs Ebi Fumudor, Dr Eruani, Prof. Steve Azaiki, Mr Didi Ndiomu, Mr Guy Murray Bruce, Mr Elvis Donkemizuo, Mr Moses Siasia, Mr Joe Penewou, Chief Fumudoh, Chief Timi Alaibe, Mr Denzel Kentebe, Mrs. Funkazi Koroye Crooks, Ms. Patience Abbah, King A.J.K.Turner and Dr Daru Owei.
Dickson said the council has as part of its responsibilities the laying of solid economic foundation and formulation of economic policy that will be private sector driven.
He said the mentality of total dependence on the government has to change and the only way to achieve this is to formulate economic policy that will have direct impact on the people.
According to him, the present administration carefully selected this set of our leaders to lay foundation for a private sector driven development of the economy of our state.
Most of the members of the business council are politicians interested in 2019 Governorship race. While the likes of the Former NDDC boss, Mr. Timi Alaibe is interested in the race on the platform of the APC, others maybe depending on the clear nod of the PDP and the Governor for the race.
Notable among them are the Former Bayelsa SSG under Jonathan administration in the State and Former Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Boladei Igali, the Former SSG to Late D.S.P Alameiseigha, Prof. Steve Azaiki,
The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, in his usual way of sounding modest, tagged his administration as a practical example of democratic administration interested in good governance and development, declaring that the last six years of his administration was used as a silent and practical tool for change and development.
Though, he was silent and failed to agree that the recent efforts were political and economic strategy to unsettle those plotting against him on issue of his successor in 2019.
Governor Seriake Dickson, while conducting some visiting medical experts from the United States of America around key medical facilities built by his administration, said the projects embarked upon by the present administration was a statement and a silent revolution for change, development and posterity.
The Visiting Medical experts were conducted around the newly completed Government House Ultra Mordern Hospital with Kidney Dialysis Centre, the Diagnostic Centre and the Dora Akinyuli Drug Mart in Yenagoa.
Governor Dickson said the establishment of a Kidney Dialysis Centre was an historical feat by his administration and was part of his revolution in the health sector. He said with the state of the art facilities and the capable medical personnel in the various hospitals and health institutions, the era of traveling to other states and countries to seek quality health-care is gone for good.
He said with the state of the art facilities and the capable medical personnel in the various hospitals and health institutions, the era of traveling to other states and countries to seek quality health-care is gone for good.
Dickson said, “This is a statement we are making that Bayelsa has changed and we are waging a silent revolution for change, development and posterity. And this is one of the health care investment the state has made.”
“This is the first time we are having dialysis facilities in the state and we are glad that our partners, a team of experts from the US are here to oversee these facilities. So with

what you are seeing, the diagnostic center and the referral hospitals in the eight local governments, you will agree with me that Bayelsa is set for quality health-care delivery”.
The governor also disclosed that very soon the facilities will be formally opened but in the meantime it can be accessed as full services are being rendered on a daily basis.
Dickson called on Bayelsans who are professionals in the health sector and are currently abroad to return home and contribute their own quota to the growing health system in the state, assuring that they will be fully accommodated.

Jonathan’s role
For supporters of the Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, confusion is the feeling within the fold. The feeling of despondency emerged after the open outburst of the Bayelsa Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson on the frustrating betrayal from their camp while Jonathan holds sway as President.
Recently, they were also shocked into their shell following the arrest of 34 years old George Turner by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission following countless petitions over alleged N3billion diversion from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
For the people of the State, the case is purely criminal and bothering on the anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari. The loyalists of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan however think otherwise. They alleged that the claim that George Turner was being tutored to succeed Governor Dickson caused the speedy of events which landed him in EFCC custody.
Also more shocking was the show of solidarity with the action of the EFCC by some few politicians and multitude of Bayelsans. The Jonathan loyalists agreed that “this is a case of war against Jonathan’ godson.”
According to a member of the pro-Jonathan group, told leadership, that the current trivial of Mr. Goerge Turner and the sudden flurry of campaign of calumny was to take him out of contention by the Governor Dickson led Administration.
They claimed that Governor Dickson had zoned the Governorship seat in 2019 to Bayelsa Central senatorial district which include Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa and Kolukuma/Opokuma areas of the State. The potentials that comes to mind include the Member of the Federal House of Representative representing Kolokuma/Opokuma/Yenagoa constituency, Hon. Douye Diri, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Kombowei Benson, Prof. Steve Azaiki among thers.
A group known as the Coalition of Niger Delta Youth Leaders (CNDYL) however while raising the alarm over the alleged plot by some politicians from the region to poison Mr. George Turner, the 33 years old godson of the Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), claimed the sponsors behind his trival are afraid of his rising popularity.
According to the group, though the detained George Turner had under prosecution by the EFCC leaded not guilty and was granted bail by a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt. Rivers State, the new plot alleged to be sponsored by those intimidated by his rising profile in Bayelsa involved poisoning and rearrested by the EFCC when bail conditions are met.
According to the angered youths under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Youth Leaders in a statement signed by its President, Comrades Okhare Godgift and Secretary, Kelvin Abiye, the deadly plot against George Turner is being sponsored by those who thought his ordeal and persecution would defame, demarket and silence him, “but they were ashamed and surprised at the wide spread solidarity and empathy for the 33 year old Ogbia born-Lawyer.”
“We are deeply worried that the South-South Zone of EFCC, is allegedly fast becoming a vindictive and willing tool to do the sinister biddings of some vengeful persons intimidated by the rising political profile of Mr. Turnah (MON), under the guise of fighting corruption.”
“As a result, words have filtered to us from credible sources that in order to satisfy their overlords and paymasters, following the grant and perfection of bail. Another plot they are hatching, which is dead on arrival, is the intimidation, brow beating, suffocation and (illegal) arrest of Turnah’s intimate family members and legal Associates so as to deny him their warmth and Services.”
The coalition, therefore, condemned the EFCC’s plans to re-arrest Turnah immediately as he is leaving the Port Harcourt Maximum Security Prison.
“We further condemn the planned ambush for the re-arrest of Turnah on the 30th of this month as he appears before the Court for the continuation of his trial. Accordingly, we call on the good people of Nigeria, democrats and fellow Rights’ Activists to rise and demand that never again should any Nigerian be persecuted or assassinated based on his rising political profile, beliefs and associations, under the guise of fighting corruption.
A group known as the Campaign for Development and Democracy, a non-governmental organization based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state and led by a University lecturer and Former Chief Press Secretary during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Dr. E.K Welson, said that they have started mobilizing the masses for credible and people oriented candidates.

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