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Bayelsa polls

Published by The Nation on Tue, 12 Nov 2019


The people of Bayelsa State will go the polls on Saturday, to elect a new governor and his deputy, after what the opposition parties consider eight years of misrule by incumbent Governor Seriake Dickson. While Dickson and his handlers will dismiss the claim as untrue, it is instructive that the outgoing governor is relying on the number of political appointments he has made, as the raison dtre, why the candidate he foisted on his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), should win the vote on Saturday.This newspaper last Sunday, quoted the governor to have said: Those who are writing about the defections from our party; let me make it clear that in our government, we have over 3000 appointees. The resignation or defection of 10 appointees out of the appointees is too small a number to cause a negative effect on our party and its chances in the election. He went on: come to think of it, each of you, the G32, you have between 10-14 appointments under you, and if you multiply 32 by 14, you have the sheer number of grassroots appointments.Dicksons permutation that the so-called grassroots appointment is good reason why his preferred candidate should win the governorship election in a richly endowed but developmentally backwater Bayelsa State is most unfortunate. That assertion perhaps explains why his opponents regard his regime as eight years of wasted opportunities, for the oil bearing state. After eight years in power, the governor ought to be campaigning on his achievements, which he wants the successor to continue.Using social development indices, Dickson should be telling voters what he has done in education; reeling out statistics on the quantum leap in the number of Bayelsans who have passed out in flying colours in the WAEC and NECO exams, in the years he is governor. He should be showing off the number of child and maternal health care centres, and how such efforts have impacted on infant mortality and pre and post natal health care.While Bayelsa has water everywhere, getting drinkable water is a huge task. So, what has Governor Dickson done to ameliorate that huge challenge and if has, he should be campaigning on getting a successor to continue the trajectory. Again, what has Dickson done to reclaim the wetlands, which makes building roads and houses in the state excruciatingly difficult' If he has been governing well, and ensuring security of lives and property, such reclaimed lands would be prime properties for building condominium for the many oil companies operating onshore and offshore Bayelsa.So, how come Governor Dickson is relying on his political appointees to fight the election, instead of his achievements in power' Does it mean that he spent the nearly eight years doing nothingSo, how come Governor Dickson is relying on his political appointees to fight the election, instead of his achievements in power' Does it mean that he spent the nearly eight years doing nothing' Of note, Dickson who rode on the back of the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan to power appears to have outgrown his godfather. While it is not bad to grow up, one must recognise and respect the fingers that fed one, while growing up.According to the report, Dickson not only chose the gubernatorial candidate for his party, in the person of Senator Duoye Diri, he also selfishly chose the deputy, Senator Lawrence Erwujakpor, whom he wants to replace in the senate, if the candidates succeed at the polls. The self-serving moves have reportedly pitched him against former President Goodluck Jonathan and other PDP chieftains in the party. Interestingly, to get to the top position eight years ago, Dickson had to crawl on the back of Jonathan who had become president after the death of President Umaru Musa YarAdua.This column recalls that after gaining power against more entrenched PDP chieftains like Timi Alaibe because of Jonathans support, Dickson made a law against rumour mongering, claiming that they were fuelling unrest in the state. This column had poked fun at the governor then, reminding him that his sudden rise to power, back then, started as a rumour, while he was at the National Assembly. Indeed, as the rumour was gaining ground, Jonathans men were denying it, until it became too late for the then incumbent governor.Presently, the soft spoken and poetic Chief Timipre Sylva, now a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), is the leader of the party in the state, and he is working assiduously to deliver Chief David Lyon to the Bricks house in Yenagoa. Interestingly, Chief Lyon has received blessings from the matriarch of the Jonathan family, Mama Beatrice Jonathan, and several of Jonathans men who have defected to the APC. Former President Jonathan also recently paid a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari and it was speculated that he went there to show solidarity with the APC candidate, perhaps to scorn his erstwhile godson.While President Jonathan has denied any such plans to dump his party, his body language say otherwise. The former first lady, Patience Jonathan, who has openly disagreed with Governor Dickson, is believed to be routing for the APC candidate. The strong man of River State politics, Barrister Nyeson Wike, is also uninterested in the PDP candidate, even though strangely his predecessor is allegedly said to be surreptitiously supporting the PDP candidate. With the odds staked against Senator Duoye Diri of the PDP, Chief David Lyon of the APC appears set to clinch the prize.Congratulations CIArb NigeriaFrom the 7th to 8thof November the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK), Nigeria Branch, conducted its 2019 Annual Conference in Lagos. There were seven sessions oscillating around the theme: Positioning Africa: The changing Landscape in Alternative Dispute Resolution. With distinguished speakers from Nigeria, United Kingdom, Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda, it was an intellectual feast on Arbitration as the wining Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism. At the event, Mr Olatunde Busari, SAN, C.Arb, ceremoniously took over from the immediate past branch chair, Mrs Adedoyin Rhodes-Vivour, SAN, C.Arb. The Chief Judge Federal High, Hon. Justice J.T. Tsoho, Hon. Justice O.A. Obaseki-Osaghae, Hon. Justice J.E. Oyefeso, and Hon. Justice Roli Harriman were among the top guests. Mrs Adeyinka Aroyewun MCIArb, of the Lagos Multi-Door Court House chaired one of the sessions. The conference co-chairs were Dr. Adewale Olawoyin, SAN FCIArb, and Mrs Obosa Akpata, C.Arb.At the occasion, yours sincerely was admitted as a member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria Branch. It was also an evening for wining, dinning and networking. I say hearty congratulations to the institute and all the inductees.
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