PAULINE ONYIBE reports on the recent rally by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa West Senatorial District at which the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Seriake Dickson, and others were honoured
The 2023 general election is almost around the corner and politicians are already making subtle moves to lure people to their respective camps and parties. Of course, Nigerian politics attaches more emphasis on political parties because one has to belong to a political party to stand for and election. This explains why the Nigerian political terrain is always tensed and people go to any mile to win elections. Also, godfatherism is always at play during, which explains why politicians engage in all forms of consultations and lobbying ahead of major elections.
This, perhaps, was what happened recently in Bayelsa State, when members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa West Senatorial District honoured three of their own, the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, Alfred Agbedi, Lawrence Ehwrudjakpo the current deputy governor of the state and Governor Douye Diri, who is incidentally from Bayelsa Central Senatorial District. People defiled the heavy rain on that day, Saturday, September 4, to gather at the Sagbama Park to honour the PDP chieftains. The programme that was supposed to start by 10.am eventually started at almost 3.30pm.
Dickson, while receiving his award amidst drumbeat and dancing by his supporters, used the opportunity to reel out his achievements when he was governor as well to subtly abuse those criticizing him. He said: “Today is not campaign, it is not politics. Today, we are getting together in unity and in solidarity.
I want to thank our senatorial leaders for this honour. I can’t get tired of thanking them because they have always been supportive, always stood side by side and showing solidarity. “As I said, today is not politics, when it comes, we will play it.
I want to thank the governor of our state and his government and for what he is doing in our state. Although everybody is Oliver Twist, we want him to do more. I want to thank you for all the encouragement and support that you have continued to give to him. “They can say anything they want, they can pretend not to know, they can pretend not to hear, God gave me the singular honour and privilege of serving for uninterrupted eight years. In that process, God also positioned me to defend the heartland of the Ijaw nation. This Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation never fell to the hands of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under my watch.
“In 2015 when we lost at the federal level, people ran away in droves thinking we were finished but God stood by us and I took our case to God and to our people in every community, and we won with your support. “In 2020, they thought it was over for Ofuruma Pepe, so they will take the state but I knew that whoever we endorsed will win the election. They conspired and thought that the story of PDP was over but again God disappointed them. When they thought they have rigged and won the election, I stayed in the government house and worked till the very last day in spite of everything they were doing.
I kept faith with God who has never ever allowed anybody to disgrace me. In less than twelve hours, our mighty God who never loses any battle turned things around. “So, when I see PDP still holding sway in Bayelsa, I’m always happy. The party has been producing leaders for a long time, touching lives of people, never one day sent people to go and kill a political opponent, never sent somebody to go and disrupt a political rally, never used state power against somebody. I’m always happy that this government, which my government gave birth to, is now a government of prosperity led by our Miracle Governor. As a father and mother, when you see your child won’t you be happy?
So, we are filled with joy. “To PDP leaders in government and out of government let me tell you that this government that God gave us by His grace and mercy, you people should value it as well as the party. All the shenanigans and pettiness should stop. “As I went to Abuja, you have not been seeing me always not because I don’t want to come.
This is my state, this is our government but anywhere I am, I’m praying for the success of this government and for all of you. By experience, when you give birth to a government, you give a respectable distance, so that the new government can have space to function.
“I have taken that decision in principle that whoever would succeed me is not going to be seeing me in government house. I was there for eight years but the governor and I are in touch. When he needs my advice, he knows how to get to me and he does. So, stop speculating and don’t give room for people to sow seed of discord; don’t open yourself up for manipulations based on greed.
“There are no two governments. PDP is one and our government is one. The governor is the head of the government but he can’t do it alone, so he has people around him. I always tell people to pray, consult and don’t behave like the proverbial antelope. We have been in this terrain facing federal might and defeating it. Now is the time for governance and the governor is leading the team to deliver.
“The governor will continue to launch one life changing project after the other. A short distance from here to Ebedebiri, you will see a project that my government spent N10 billion to build, the largest starch processing plant and we did all of this in a recession when this state had no money. I had to reschedule salary payment not because we didn’t want to pay but the state had no money and it was collapsing. “For six years out of eight I managed a recession but you can see the roads and bridges, the schools and the universities. Go and see the tertiary institutions that we built and the programmes they are running.
The Miracle Governor is consolidating on them and he is going to do more with our support and prayers.” Also speaking, Governor Diri, who maintained that PDP is still the party to beat in Bayelsa State. He said: “It’s when we are strong that we will continue to win. Please don’t divide our party. Don’t divide our family that moved from the previous government of restoration to the government of prosperity. I’m bordered when people say appointments have not gotten to them. Wait, your turn will come. We have appointed people close to 2,000 and we are still appointing, so your own time will come. “Don’t divide the house because you don’t have appointment.
This is one family and we will remain one family. We will rather bring more people to our family and we have been doing it and they are coming. We receive them with two hands. At the end, those God has given us will stay with us and those who are used to coming and going, if they want to go, so be it, but we will keep our house one.” The state chairman of the PDP, Solomon Agwana, who spoke at the event; said: “Today, we are here to celebrate the bond of unity to build a better and prosperous Bayelsa. We are celebrating trust of establishment connecting our people in all spheres of life to the agenda of Bayelsa development.”
King Alfred Diette Spiff, who chaired the occasion, on his part, said: “We should encourage our elected members and support them all the way after all we have elected them. To the governor of the state, we urge you to make strong institutions and to have solid pillars to rest on and to have a platform for takeoff. It is important to be groomed to support the government at all times come rain come shine.
Such institutions should include the traditional rulers of the state. They are the grassroots and natural rulers; they are the ones closest to the population. And they should be given every assistance. “If you have strong institutions, they will deliver and it will support the government and make sure that all your programmes are executed with alacrity. To our governor I will like to say that it is your prerogative to govern, get down to work, with the highest assimilation. Don’t let any distraction deviate you from your purpose of building a prosperous Bayelsa State.”