From Vincent Egunyanga.
The last has certainly not been heard about the clash between two
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of
Rivers State and Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. Their relationship
has never been cordial since Governor Wike with the support of the
former first lady Dame Patience Jonathan picked the PDP ticket for the
governorship of Rivers State in 2015 governorship elections. The
Ijaws of Rivers State believed that that position should have been
reserved for them or from any other candidate from the Riverine area
of the state, after the tenure of Dr Peter Odili and Chibuike Amaechi
both from the uplands parts of the state who put together ruled the
state for 16 years.
Both of them had however managed to conceal their differences from the
public space until the defeat of the PDP in the last governorship
election in Bayelsa state and the High Court ruling ceding the Soku
oil wells to Rivers State.
It will be recalled that during the last crisis of the PDP between
2016 till 2017 over the imposition of former National Chairman of the
party Senator Ali Modu Sheriff both Wike and Dickson were not on the
same camp. It was believed that both governor Wike and former governor
of Ekiti state Ayo Fayose on their own without carrying other PDP
governors along imposed Senator Ali MODU Sheriff on the party an
action that did not go down well with some PDP governors at that time
including Seriake Dickson.
Then came the National Convention of the party in Port Harcourt Rivers
state in 2017. While many party faithful including governors,
National Assembly members , National Working Committee members etc
were in Port Harcourt for the National Convention, Seriake Dickson
sponsored another convention in Abuja with the likes of Professor
Jerry Gana, Sule Lamido etc attending the Abuja convention and
encouraging Ali Modu Sheriff group to go court. THE REST IS NOW
The current crisis now has to do GOVERNOR Dickson’s recent visit to
Ijaw community in Rivers State. The Bayelsa governor did not deem
it fit to pay a courtesy visit to his Rivers State counterparts
during the visit to the Amayanabo of Kalabari kingdom. Governor Wike
got angry and warned Dickson to stay away from Rivers State. In
response Dickson described the warning as childish. Governor Seriake
Dickson described the utterances by the Governor Wike against the
revered Ijaw monarch and Amayanabo of kalabari, King Theophilus
Princewill and the Ijaw people in Rivers State as childish, unguarded
and unbecoming of leader.
Dickson during a media chat at the government house in Yenagoa on,
accused Wike of disrespect to Ijaw people in his domain and attempted
to create confusion in Bayelsa State.
He said that the Rivers State governor played a pivotal role in the
PDP lost in Bayelsa State during the November 16, 2019 governorship
election, warning Wike to leave the state alone because Bayelsa is not
an annexed part of Rivers State.
Dickson said: “You will recalled that the governor of our neighbouring
state, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, is used to making
careless and very childish remarks from time to time, recently, he
went on his usual habit, this is the first time i formally react to
Wike childishness, I have ignored him with pains and redress, all his
previous attempt to belittle Bayelsa State, and to intimidate our
state and its leadership.
“His unfriendliness towards Bayelsa State is glaring, it’s not just
me, it’s about our state and our people, he has done that a couple of
time, but I decided to stomach it for several reasons, number one; I’m
older than him even as governor, two; you all know the historical tie
between Rivers and Bayelsa States, all of us here, people of my
generation, most of our certificates, schools we attended, everything
bears Rivers State, until 1996, we were part of Rivers State, proud
Rivers State, until today, some of us school there, live there, and
with my involvement in the course of Niger Delta and Ijaw nation, I
always shy away from open confrontation with a brother governor,
particularly of the state that is so closely tied with our state.
“Yes, Wike can attack Bayelsa State because he doesn’t have
indigenous Ikwerre people in Bayelsa State, but the governor of
Bayelsa has indigenous Ijaw people in Rivers State, who are major
stakeholders in Rivers State, so, as a result of this, in the past
four or five years, since he started his childish and unguarded
drunken behaviors, I’ve be very careful in responding, but I have to
formally do so now, and Governor Wike knows I’m not shying away, but I
have to hold myself, because the governor of Bayelsa represents much
more than governorship of a state.
“Out of respect for our people in Rivers State, I always shy away from
Wike’s unguarded utterances, but this time around, no, so I want to
use this opportunity to condemn the way and manner he threatened and
showing disrespect to Ijaw leaders in Rivers State, and I want to
particularly respond to what he said about my visit to our revered
leader and father, the Amayanabo of Kalabari, that is a 90 years old
man, and you all know that during the national assembly election and
his own election, a lot of Ijaw sons and daughters were killed in
Kalabari, Rivers State, so that was why I showed sympathy and
solidarity to our Ijaw people in Rivers State.
“I tried to reach him as the Governor of Rivers State, but he has cut
all the channels of communication from Bayelsa State, though the
governor of Bayelsa State don’t need Wike’s permission to visit Ijaw
people in Rivers State, Bayelsa is not an annexed part of Rivers
State, so this nonsense of Wike must stop, Wike should stop treating
and seeing Bayelsa as annexed part of Rivers State, Wike should stop
interfering in the politics of Bayelsa State, you all know what he did
during the PDP primaries in our state, and the role he played in
supporting the APC to win Bayelsa State.
“And I want to caution leaders of Bayelsa State, they should be
carefull with the way they sell out this state to characters like
Wike, we don’t have enough money as Wike and Rivers State have, he
should leave Bayelsa alone, this is a state created out of the most
under-developed part of Rivers State, every road here, we build it
ourselves, we didn’t inherit a government that has an airport or
seaport from the centre, we did it on our own, Wike should leave
Bayelsa State alone.
“Wike is fighting with almost every state around him, he is fighting
with Imo state, Akwa Ibom State and Bayelsa State, what a hell is
wrong with him, if anything is wrong with the governor of Rivers
State, the people of Rivers State should examine him and know what is
wrong with him, let me assure the people of Kalabari in Rivers State
that Bayelsa has no hidden agenda to annex any part of their land.”
In the same vein Rivers state governor , Nyesom Wike said that
governor Serieke Dickson should be held responsible for the defeat of
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Bayelsa state governorship election.
Governor Wike who was reacting to allegation made by Dickson that he
(Wike) was responsible for PDP defeat in the state accused Dickson of
negotiating the defeat of APC in Bayelsa so as not to be probed when
he exit office in February.
He said that the actions of governor Dickson preparatory to the
election added to the defeat of the party.
Speaking at a press briefing in Port Harcourt, Wike accused governor
Dickson of intimidating some of the candidates that wanted to
contest for senate and house of representatives by asking them to
withdraw from the race.
He also accused the governor of sponsoring somebody from his
senatorial district for the deputy governorship position in the state
saying that all added to the defeat of the party’s candidate.
He said that he single handedly provided transport and logistics
support to all the PDP governors that visited Bayelsa before and
during the governorship election alleging that the governor did not
bother to take care of his visitors.
“I challenge Dickson to ask the PDP governorship candidate in Bayelsa,
Duoye Diri what contribution I made for governorship election. I
provided vehicles that took PDP governors to Bayelsa during the
election. You forced two senators to withdraw from the election”
“You took the deputy governor candidate from your senatorial district
what do you expect the people to do. Do you think they will be happy
with you. He worked for the downfall of the party. He negotiated the
defeat of the party in return that EFCC will not come after him when
he leaves office”
” I supported Timi Alaibe because he is my friend. He came to me and
told me that he want to run for an election I have to support him
because he is my friend,” he stated.
The governor berated his Bayelsa State counterpart for his comments
on the contentious Soku oil wells, which a Federal High Court recently
ruled in favour of Rivers.
According to Rivers governor, the comments credited to Dickson after
the court’s judgment was unfortunate and an act of frustration.
“It is unfortunate. As a governor, there is a level you should not descend to.
“I will protect the interest of Rivers State. It is unfortunate. I
read all his comments. I understand the level of frustration and you
should not lay your frustration on us”, he said
On the proposed plan by the Peoples Democratic Party to intervene in
the crisis between Wike and Dickson, Wike has this to say, Governor
Wike in a press statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Simeon
Nwakaudu said that there is no premise for the intervention by the
PDP leadership, since the Federal High Court has already determined
the issue in question.
He said: “I don’t know why they are interceding. They have no power to
resolve the issue of Oil Wells. Secondly, the matter has been
determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“Anybody who is not satisfied should go on Appeal. Are they
interceding on behalf of someone who betrayed the party?
“They know that Governor Dickson betrayed and sold out the party.
They know that during the 2019 election in Rivers State, what happened
in the state. That Dickson worked with my opponent.
“This was because of his alignment with the opposition . I can show
proof that Dickson had already made up his mind to go over to APC.
“I am not going to sit down with anybody to discuss anything as it
relates to Governor Dickson. I have no business with Governor
Governor Wike said that the right thing for Dickson to do is to resign
from the PDP, so that PDP leaders in Bayelsa State can rebuild the
“In fact, Governor Dickson ought to have resigned from the party by
now. So that the leaders of PDP in Bayelsa would rebuild the party.
“The National Leadership of the party should know that the only option
left for PDP to be strong in Bayelsa is for Dickson to leave the
party,” he said.
The Governor said that the party’s intervention is no longer
profitable in view of the incalculable damage done by the Outgoing
Bayelsa State Governor.
He said: “Where was the party when Dickson sold out? Why couldn’t they
come out to speak out? Governor Dickson, you have killed our party in
that State. What is anyone wading in for? I am not going to be party
to that and nobody will stop me .
“Nobody fights Rivers State and gets any benefits out of it . I have
said it severally. I am not here because of my interest. I am here
because of the interest of Rivers State.
“The party would have waded in when they saw fraud. That Dickson was
killing the party in Bayelsa State. He has achieved his aim by making
sure nobody comes after him as he leaves office in February, 2020.
“Do you know the effect of APC winning Bayelsa State? And they are
talking of wading in.
As if that is not enough, we are also expecting another clash of the
Titans as governor Wike and Ifeanyi Okowa are set to clash over the
Edo governorship polls.
Wike is funding a faction of the PDP under the leadership of the
Chairman of the party in the state Chief Dan Orbih. A Port Harcourt
businessman and is always in Rivers State. Governor Okowa on the other
hand is still supporting the current Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki
of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The permutation had been that if National Chairman of the APC Comrade
Adams Oshiomhole succeeded in denying Governor Obaseki ticket, he
could seek re election in PDP. But the way it is now, it is clear
Governor Obaseki has won the battle against Oshiomhole and is very
likely to pick the APC ticket for the governorship of Edo state.
Oshiomhole had hoped that in the event he succeeded in denying
governor Obaseki from getting the APC ticket, and he succeeded in
imposing his own candidate, he intended to use the Niger Delta
Development Commission (NDDC) money to fund the election. That was
the reason why he had planted his former Deputy Dr Pius Odubu as the
Chairman of the Board of the Commission.
If President Muhammadu Buhari goes ahead to constitute a new Board of
the NDDC as he had earlier promised, Oshiomhole will then have no
option than to bite the dust and work with Obaseki in the interest of
the party and his political future. That in itself will put the PDP in
serious dilemma .
VINCENT EGUNYANGA is the Editor In Chief of newsplatformngr.com