The story that is gaining currency in some quarters in Bayelsa State as the nation approach the peak of political activities ahead of the 2019 general election is that the governor of the state, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson is perfecting plans to defect to another political party where he would have no problems installing a successor.
Those who are floating this idea say former President Goodluck Jonathan, who is still the National Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is not in the same ‘political boat’ with Dickson and would certainly anoint the next governor of the state who would obviously not be Dickson’s choice of a successor.
Interestingly, pundits who have been reading the body language of the Bayelsa governor are of the view that the governor is desperate to install a successor among members of his kitchen cabinet, none of who is in any way closely associated with Jonathan in the unfolding political equation in the state.
Since Dickson became governor through the instrumentality of Jonathan, there has always been stories weaved around the relationship between the duo, with Dickson often seen as the aggressor, fighting to whittle down the influence of Jonathan in the state for his political gains.
However, what has been stupefying to observers is how Jonathan who is seen as not being fairly treated by the governor has always come out thrashing such assumptions.
When Jonathan, then as president led other PDP national officers to Bayelsa in 2011 to officially present the party’s flag to Dickson as the governorship candidate of the party, he had ‘drawn’ the ear of Dickson to why Timipre Sylva, then the incumbent governor was denied a return ticket.
Jonathan had told the audience about the Tower Hotel project started by the Deipreye Alamieyeseigha’s administration and accused Sylva of abandoning the project. He also described the project as a Monument of Disgrace.
He then told Dickson that any day he incurred the wrath of Bayelsans by not living up to expectations and they stone him like they did to Sylva, he would join them to stone him.
Not a few people understood the president’s charge to Dickson as referring to the primacy of completing the Tower Hotel apparently abandoned by Sylva.
But the disheveled state of that hotel project even till this day does not suggest that the Dickson government is interested to complete the project, even with the special interest Jonathan had to see the project done.
Many people had thought that like Sylva, the poor attention given to the project by Dickson would spark off a row between him and Jonathan, but till this day, Jonathan has never said anything again about the hotel project, even as it is obvious now that the project has also been finally abandoned by Dickson.
In the build up to the Bayelsa governorship election in 2015, even a psychic would have been certain that Dickson would not return as governor, because of the level of animosity said to be existing between him and the then First family .
However, when the chips were down, Jonathan proved all book makers wrong and openly endorsed Dickson and urged all Bayelsans to support his candidacy.
In fact the former president praised Dickson for bringing unprecedented development to Bayelsa and making the state stand to be reckoned with in the comity of other states across the federation.
Again, when Dickson was appointed chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee of the PDP, it was widely held that the Bayelsa governor was tacitly backing the Sen Ali Modu Sheriff faction in the leadership tussle of the party,
in the event that if the Sheriff faction wins in court, Jonathan who was obviously leaning towards the Ahmed Makarfi faction would have lost grip of the party in Bayelsa to Dickson.
Yet when Dickson led his committee to the country home of the former president at Otuoke to present the template for peace as formulated by his committee, Jonathan praised him for the work he was doing for PDP, and expressed confidence that his efforts would bring about lasting peace in the party.
Another scenario was during the Boro Day celebration earlier in the year when Dickson expressed the regret that the six years administration of Jonathan as president was a wasted opportunity for the Ijaws.
Dickson had recalled that the persons who served in the Presidency for six years failed to work with him in the quest to bring development to the state.
Instead, he said they were preoccupied with “devilish plot” of unseating him and installing another governor in his stead. “They suffered from the Bayelsa-Ijaw disease of pulling-him-down syndrome,” Dickson said.
He added: “It is true that we are celebrating Boroh, but ask yourself whether you are doing your bit. Boroh came, saw and did his bit and has gone.
I and my team have come and we have taken up the battle from where Boroh stopped and we are doing our duties.
“Each of us must examine ourselves and to be frank we have not done very serious examination in this state and in the Ijaw nation.
We cannot blame God. God has been very merciful and kind to us particularly of late.”
The foregoing jabs by the governor were expected to attract sharp reaction from Jonathan, but none came. Instead it was Jonathan’s and Dickson’s associates that took over the matter and dramatized it exponentially.
Even the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike got embroiled in the matter when he invited Jonathan to commission projects in Port Harcourt and made references to the vituperations of Dickson against Jonathan on the Boro Day. Yet Jonathan maintained his cool!
Recently, when the Bayelsa State government commissioned the new Governor’s Office, and the Ijaw National Academy, a co educational, all boarding secondary school at Kiama and invited former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka as special guests of honour,
it was seen as a slight against Jonathan for denying him the honour of having his name engraved on the plaque as the person who commissioned the new edifice described by the government as iconic.
It was widely held that such elaborate programs that were televised live for about three days on three private TV stations was supposed to have Jonathan in attendance as one of the eminent personalities. But he was conspicuously absent!
And so observers kept watching the relationship with fervent curiosity. Last week, the duo got observers more confused when Dickson paid condolence visit to Jonathan over the death of the paramount ruler of Otuoke Community, HRH King Lord Justin Ogiasa.
Speaking at the occasion, Dickson said he was part of the Ogiasa family and by extension, the Otuoke Community of Ogbia Local Government.
”We are here in full force as we have always done to commiserate with you, my elder brother, leader and the Ogiasa family in this hour of bereavement. We pray God to grant the Late Ogiasa eternal Repose,’’ Dickson told Jonathan.
The governor, who dispelled rumour of any rift with the former president said, in and out of office, Jonathan would continue to remain his leader, having come a long way with the former president.
He, therefore, called on those who want to cause imaginary differences between him and Jonathan to sink their plans.
He said “both of us have come a long way. My personal political story cannot be complete without talking about my elder brother, Jonathan.
He also knows that I made little contribution that is recorded in the political chapter of his life.”
Governor Dickson said both he and Jonathan are not running for any office and wondered why political jobbers are bent on destroying their good relationship.
Responding, Jonathan thanked Dickson for the visit and denied the existence of any rift between them.
While describing politics as a useless game, the former president said, some people are using politics to create crisis.
“There is no way I can sit anywhere and plan evil against Bayelsa or the governor. When I was dreaming of becoming a governor, Dickson was amongst the very few in the meetings we were holding, although he was not in the PDP he opted to help.
He said he didn’t want to be in the PDP, but I virtually forced him to join PDP. When I became governor, I appointed Dickson Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General and that was how he became a PDP and later became a member of House of Representatives and so on. There is no way I will break my relationship with the governor,” Jonathan maintained.
Nonetheless, observers say the final litmus test of this avowal would be when it is time to choose the next governor of the state. “My brother, fight is coming oo.
Don’t mind this faces they are making, they will come out with their claws at the right time. Go and mark my words,” a politician told The Daily Times in Yenagoa.
It is true that we are celebrating Boroh, but ask yourself whether you are doing your bit. Boroh came, saw and did his bit and has gone. I and my team have come and we have taken up the battle from where Boroh stopped and we are doing our duties. Each of us must examine ourselves and to be frank we have not done very serious examination in this state and in the Ijaw nation. We cannot blame God. God has been very merciful and kind to us particularly of late.
Chris Eze, Yenagoa