Tuesday 5 January 2016

Dickson and Sylva trade allegations ahead of Bayelsa governorship rerun polls

Sylva and Dickson
It is four days to the Bayelsa governorship rerun polls. And a picture of the direction the exercise may take has emerged with the main contenders, state Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Seriake Dickson and Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) trading accusations. These accusations were about not only the violence that marred the last exercise but also on plans still afoot to perpetrate mayhem on Saturday.

The governor said Sylva was employing security agents to protect and provide cover for criminal elements in the state. Dickson also alleged that Sylva has also been promoting violence in the state, as he had made it impossible for those who perpetrated the violence in the last election to be prosecuted but has rather been using the police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security apparatus to support his party in their activities.

The governor, who made the allegations at the World Banquet Hall in Yenagoa, the state capital, described himself as a man of peace, who would never spill the blood of anybody for his political ambition.

But the APC has reacted, alleging that Dickson imported gunmen into the state during the last election. APC says he was actually the perpetrator of the large- scale violence that greeted the governorship polls.

In a tersely worded statement by the Director of Media and Publicity, Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organisation, the APC accused Dickson of whipping up the same sentiments at all times.
‘‘Even before he uttered the first sentence, anybody that is familiar with Governor Dickson’s public speeches since last year can guess fairly accurately the things, if not the exact words he will use. He has no other issue to discuss other than that Chief Sylva and the APC perpetrated violence and used the security agencies, the Presidency and other top federal officials to influence the outcome of the election.
‘’In the same breath, he is claiming an unassailable lead, having according to him, won in six out of seven local council results so far declared and that he has the total support of the people of Southern Ijaw Local Council. At this point, one really wonders why he is still embattled and running from pillar to post, holding press briefings and radio broadcasts almost on a daily basis,’’ Egba said.
He continued: “Why did he go to beg the presidency to be allowed to win in Southern Ijaw in return for decamping to the APC? Bayelsa State has never had a more deceitful, dictatorial, wasteful and divisive governor as Henry Seriake Dickson, such that instead of campaigning on a pan-Bayelsa platform, Dickson has set about whipping up core-Ijaw and non-core-Ijaw ethnic sentiments within this small Bayelsa State.
“Why for instance has he caused to be stopped, salaries of civil servants his officials alleged to have voted for APC in the governorship election, if at all he believes in democracy? Why would he, a sitting governor, import into his own state, gunmen from neighbouring states to cause mayhem, all in the bid to win election whereas, he knows the terrible security situation the state is facing under him? Luckily, there is still an opportunity to get rid of Dickson this weekend, and put in place a more humane and uniting governor in the person of Chief Timipre Sylva.’’
Dickson also advised occupiers of public office that they are temporary holders of the positions and should always be mindful of the fact that they would only hold them for a while.
‘’Security agents who were involved in the governorship election, are protecting criminal elements. It is as if once you are a member of the APC, you can do anything with impunity. Don’t destroy public institutions for people’s political ambitions. You are only occupiers of those positions, and that includes even myself.”
On what he terms, ‘Federal Might,’ Dickson accused Sylva of causing the transfer of heads of certain security agencies who have not agreed to do his bidding.
‘‘He has ensured the transfer of two directors of the DSS in the state, he has transferred three commissioners of police, including the new one, Nasiru Oki, who I understand would be moved out of the state on Tuesday.
‘‘All these acts are affecting the integrity of the public institutions’’.
Dickson also said that he had discussed all these shortcomings with President Muhammadu Buhari, who contrary to certain claims, granted him audience in Abuja.

He said Buhari promised to look into the matter and ensure changes in the way the bye-election would be handled by occupiers of these positions.
‘‘I raised the issue with the president, who is the leader of that party and the leader of the nation, by the virtue of his position, because our country cannot be safe, unless all the states are safe. Our nation cannot be safe, unless all the local governments are safe.
‘‘The president promised to look into the matter and had promised to ensure that things are different from the other time.’’
On how he was able to beat his opponents in virtually all the local governments in the last election, Dickson explained that rather than seek the overt or covert support of the head of any public institution, he enlisted the help of the people of the state, through vigorous community to community campaigning, which he said paid off.
‘‘I have no business with any resident electoral commissioner. All I have been doing was to go from one community to another, to make sure that I defeat them in all the communities, regardless of who the REC is. Political leaders in Bayelsa State are still living in the past. They have not realised that this is the era of permanent voters’ cards and card readers. They would snatch EC8s and ballot boxes without PVCs, they would carry boxes, without returning officers. APC’s assertion of 78,000 votes in Southern Ijaw, was a daylight criminality.
“The accreditation on Saturday would vindicate us. After the accreditation on Saturday, we shall be celebrating, because the votes in Southern Ijaw are for PDP.’’
Credit: The Guardian

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