Sunday, 24 September 2017

Jonathan, Dickson battle for the soul of Bayelsa PDP

 They used to be allies, but now, they seem to have fallen apart. What happened to the relationship between former President Goodluck Jonathan and Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson? Associate Editor, Sam Egburonu, traces the genesis of their face-off?
 THERE is fear in Bayelsa State that the alleged power struggle between former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Seriake Dickson for the soul of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may threaten the party’s fortunes in the 2019 general elections.
Insiders loyal to the governor have alleged that the ‘face-off’ could be traced to the bid of the former president to determine who will occupy important political seats in the state, especially the governorship seat. They said Jonathan’s passionate interest in the forthcoming elections in his home state is the first phase of his planned return to active politicking at the national level.
The Nation investigation shows that the disagreement between the former President and the governor can be traced back to early January 2016 when Jonathan’s men were accused of mobilising to frustrate the election of the then PDP candidate, Governor Dickson, during the rescheduled governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Before 2016, Dickson was a noticeable political ally of Jonathan. A source close to the two political leaders said “their political alliance dated back to the days when Jonathan was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. When he became the governor of the state, Dickson was one of his henchmen. The relationship deepened when Jonathan became Vice President and later the President of the Republic of Nigeria.”
We learnt that all through Jonathan’s tenure as president, the relationship blossomed and Dickson, backed by Jonathan, rose through the legislature and emerged the governor of Bayelsa State on the platform of PDP, then under the leadership of Jonathan.
But the intrigues of 2015 General Election and its aftermath changed the texture of the political relationship of the two PDP leaders. For them and many of their close associates, it was indeed, a period of change, when sudden defection of politicians from one political party to the other left sour tastes in the mouth of old associates. Perhaps more than in any other state, in Bayelsa, Jonathan’s home state, the effect was more, as longtime allies became mortal political enemies, especially following the defeat then President Goodluck Jonathan, in the presidential election. The enmity manifested in the suspicion of political allies, a development that was further fueled through grave allegation of betrayal and counter allegation. In fact, we gathered that soon after the defection of some prominent PDP chieftains, like Senator Clever Ikisikpo (Bayelsa-East), who represented the former president; Chief Ikiogha Diekivie, a  former Chief of Staff, Government House and Jonathan’s close ally from Yenagoa; a  former Commissioner for Lands and alleged confidant of Jonathan; Furoebi Akene; a  surveyor and former commissioner under Jonathan and Bishop Deggi Eremienyo of FERMA, etc., from PDP to APC, Dickson’s associates alleged that Jonathan’s hand was behind the worrisome development. They also alleged that the former President’s wife, Patience, brokered a peace meeting between former Governor Timipre Sylva and a former militant leader, Ateke Tom, a meeting they said was meant to stop Dickson.

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