Daniel Iworiso-Markson is the immediate past Commissioner for Information and Orientation in Bayelsa State. A loyalist of the immediate past governor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, in this interview with PAULINE OYIBE, Markson narrates how lack of internal democracy forced him out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and other issues
Your sudden resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came as a huge surprise to many. What happened?
It was a painful but inevitable decision that I had to leave the PDP. It took me quite a lot to arrive at that courageous decision. I knew that it was not going to go down well with most people including Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, my former boss and the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State. But then, I had made up my mind and there was no going back.
I was one of the loyal members of the party that was treated so unfairly, especially in the build-up to the primaries of the party. I contested for the ticket of the House of Representatives and I knew that if a level playing ground was created, I would have won.
But from the moment I joined the race, I became a strong target for character and personality assassination. I was serially blackmailed, humiliated and frustrated. Right there at the venue of the primary election, there was a directive that a particular aspirant should be voted for.
My delegates were threatened to be dealt with if they voted for me. Prior to that time, some of my staunch supporters were called to the Government House to withdraw their support for me. It was a grand and calculated action by some forces of darkness.
What could have led to all of the orchestrated actions against you?
Personal hatred borne out of pure malice, treachery of the worst kind exhumed from the pit of hell. One of the lies that was consistently told against me was that I am a Lagos boy and do not have any electoral value. This lie was sustained throughout the period. Those who were behind it claimed that if I get the ticket the PDP will lose the main election.
Some of the people behind the lies were people I had helped to deliver their own election. I worked for their victory and emergence in previous elections. As if that was not enough, after the primaries, I was never contacted by the leadership of the party in the state and even the committee that was set-up for reconciliation. So, it became very clear to me that I was now an orphan in the party. I had to leave. T
hose who kicked against my defection did so because they have not suffered the kind of humiliation I suffered. I was treated with disdain and they extended it to my supporters.
Most of my supporters who are appointees of the government were excoriated for daring to support me without waiting to get clear directives from the governor. The witch-hunt on my supporters and gross disregard for my person not minding my contributions and years of loyalty to the party even at great cost to my personal safety and life made it unbearable to continue with the party. Anyway, I am at peace with myself where I am now.
Why did you choose the SDP?
Their ideology as a party which is in tandem with my New Deal Agenda for the people of Ogbia is the factor. I believe that the SDP platform is the right vehicle. I consulted with my political family and supporters who all endorsed the SDP as the right vehicle.
As the candidate of the party, I am optimistic that by the grace of God, I will emerge as the winner of the election. It is an opportunity for me to test my strength in the political arena. Let me also see if truly I lack electoral value. But I must say that my aspiration is people driven.
It is the people of Ogbia that want real development that are behind it. After the PDP primary they knew everything that happened and kept insisting that I move to another party and realize my ambition. It was part of their counsel that guided me. I am happy with the kind of support that we have received so far and we will break new grounds as the day goes by.
You were close to the governor, did you inform him you were leaving the PDP?
I tried to out of respect and honour as the leader of the party. I made several efforts and attempts to reach out to him but it was unsuccessful. I knew that it would be bad for him to hear it from the media. Sadly, since I couldn’t, I left. I must say here that I do not have anything against the governor.
We have been together in government since 2012. We both worked under Senator Dickson as governor. We were in fact one of his closest aides.
When the party decided that it was him who wanted to fly our flag in 2019, we all supported him until the last day. Some of the people who are claiming to love him today were nowhere. They abandoned him and pursued their own agenda. They were seriously negotiating how to crossover to the APC because they never believed that the Supreme court would favour us.
This is what even the governor knows. But today, they are the ones that are calling the shots and making things difficult for him.
What do you mean making things difficult for him?
They have succeeded in creating some kind of political dichotomy. What they call Restoration Boys on the one hand and on the other hand Prosperity Boys. Restoration Boys being those who are close to the former governor and themselves Prosperity Boys, serving the governor now. It is this attitude they have advanced that is now a big threat to the PDP.
They want to by all means alienate most of the people who still pay allegiance to the former governor.
So, it’s laughable that in a party people could create such division and they are being allowed to do so. I feel so sad because we worked so well and kept faith for this governor to emerge. And when he did we kept supporting him to succeed because we see his administration as an extension or continuation of the previous government.