The Epic Drama In Bayelsa And Matters Arising (2)

By Kenneth Jude


While Douye Diri, the new governor of Bayelsa State and indeed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reserve the right to glory in their fortuitous victory and ascension to the top office in the land, the party must brace up for the task ahead and ensure they fortify their ranks that was so badly fragmented ahead and after the November 16 poll.

It is no news that the untamed desire of the immediate-past governor of the state to foist Douye Diri on the party generated bad blood and disharmony in the party, hence causing some party faithful to stand aloof or show tacit interest in an election that the PDP lost comprehensively before the Supreme Court came to their rescue the other day.

Among prominent members of the party that were alienated by Hon. Seriake Dickson was former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who was alleged to have pitched tent with David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which, observers say, contributed in part to the party’s victory at the November 16 governorship election in the State.

RELATED: The Epic Drama in Bayelsa and Matters Arising (1)

Jonathan, himself a former governor of the state, is said to have backed the candidacy of a former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Managing Director, Timi Alaibe, who lost the primaries to Dickson’s preferred candidate, Douye Diri.

But reports from Bayelsa indicate that Timi Alaibe who had, immediately after the primaries, filed a case against the emergence of Douye Diri as PDP’s candidate at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa to the effect that he be declared as the validly nominated governorship candidate of the PDP, has reportedly resurrected the case in the aftermath of the nullification of David Lyon’s victory as governor.

The case which is generating ripples in the party was at a time moved to Owerri, the Imo State capital, due to security concerns raised by Timi Alaibe. On October 19 last year, Justice Jane Inyang who was hearing the matter announced the transfer of the case to Abuja, citing an order of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court as reason for the transfer. The case however came up for hearing only on the 8th of November, 2019 and was adjourned till November 15 same year.

Following a petition against Justice Inyang by Timi Alaibe, alleging lack of confidence in her ability to ensure a fair trial of the matter, the case was adjourned indefinitely to enable the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, who directed Justice Inyang to respond to the petition, conclude investigations into the petition. The matter has yet to be heard since then. But Alaibe’s supporters are in upbeat mood as they contend that their principal has a good case. And the nullification of David Lyon’s election may have strengthened their belief that their man may have the last laugh.

But there are clear indications that Seriake Dickson who is arguably the greatest beneficiary of the political turnaround in Bayelsa State is ready and willing to make peace and seek true reconciliation with all aggrieved members of the PDP. Sign that the former governor was genuinely interested in reconciling with top buffs of the party he had a brush with was when he, moment after the swearing-in of Diri, led the new governor along with the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, to see Jonathan in his hometown of Otuoke. Information had it that the meeting was also used to appeal to Jonathan to impress upon Timi Alaibe to drop his litigation against Diri.

Apart from making efforts to have Alaibe jettison his ongoing litigation against the person of Governor Douye Diri, Dickson is said to have also made up his mind to make peace with Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. Both men have been at loggerheads with each other since the PDP presidential primaries where Wike’s backed candidate, Aminu Tambuwal, lost to Dickson’s man, Atiku Abubakar. Their fractured relationship took another dangerous dimension when both men were locked in a fierce war over which state rightfully owns the Soku Oil Wells.

In the heat of their tiff, Wike accused Dickson of working with the opposition during the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State. Said Wike: “They know that Governor Dickson betrayed and sold out the party. They know that during the 2019 election in Rivers State, Dickson worked with my opponent. Throughout that period, the National Chairman himself knows that people were calling from all over the country to know the situation. Dickson never called one day. This is because of his alignment with the opposition. I can show proof that Dickson had already made up his mind to go over to APC,” he claimed.

But Dickson responded by accusing Wike of executing “a clandestine ethnic supremacist agenda” to undermine the interest of Ijaw people in the politics of Rivers State. He said part of Wike’s political plot was to fan the embers of hatred between the ijaw people in Rivers and their kith and kin in Bayelsa State with the view of using the disputed Soku oil wells between the two states as a mere subterfuge to achieve his interest,” claimed Dickson.

But now that fate has smiled on Dickson coupled with his seeming readiness to make peace with aggrieved members of the PDP, including Governor Nyesom Wike, it remains to be seen how he goes about it, but this, analysts say, is a task that must be done if the party is to regain its foothold in the state having suffered a humiliating bruising at the last polls.

Aware of the need to rebuild the party, Douye Diri had shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in his favour, extended olive branch to members of the PDP who for one reason or the other left the party, even as he equally called on all Bayelsans irrespective of party affiliation to join him in building the state.

“The members of PDP, who out of one thing or the other got angry and left us to APC, I’m waving the olive branch, please, come back,” Diri said.

“We have to build Bayelsa State together. I’m also calling on my brothers in APC, they are Bayelsans, we cannot continue to be in disunity.

“Being in APC does not remove you as my brother of Bayelsa State. Whether you are Nembe, Okpia, Sabama, or Southern Ijaw, that is the region that God has brought us together and so, I am extending my olive branch even to those of my brothers and sisters in APC.”

The need for Douye Diri and his benefactor, Seriake Dickson, to reconcile with all aggrieved members of the PDP cannot be overemphasised given how the party was roundly pummeled at the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State. If not for the Supreme Court’s judgment which nullified the election of David Lyon due to the sins of his running mate, Degi-Eremienyo, PDP’s stranglehold on the state would have become history.

So, part of what should be of priority to Douye Diri is how to mend the broken walls of the party. He must sit down with leaders of the party and find out why a party that has ruled the state since 1999 suffered such monumental electoral blow on November 16, 2019 with a view of addressing such issues headlong and return the PDP to its prime position as the party to beat in Bayelsa State.

The reconciliation moves must be seen to be genuine, failing which the party may be the ultimate loser going forward. The PDP must not treat the good fortune that smiled on them with levity. Having been upstaged in November but reinstated by a stroke of judicial generosity on February 13, 2020, the party egg heads must unite, bury whatever hatchet existed before the polls in order to forestall a repeat of the bad fate that befell them at the last polls.

One only hopes that Seriake Dickson learns some vital lessons from all that have transpired in the state in recent times. The PDP would have maintained its dominance with ease had he not muddled things up while making spirited efforts to install his successor. It is a lesson to him that no man is an island, and that one must not deploy brute tactics, fight imaginary enemies to achieve his goal.

Diri has inherited a party in tatters, hence the onus lies on him to rebuild, reconstruct and reinvent the party so that in unity they can face the future with the certainty that they remain the leading party in the oil-rich state of Bayelsa.

Related Articles

Back to top button