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Sunday, 29 November 2015

No guyman’ will be Bayelsa governor again –Dickson

As the clock ticks towards the December 5 Governorship election in Bayelsa State, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has reassured Bayelsans that the Federal Might being brandished by members of the All Progressive Congress ( APC) would not be on display as the election just like the one in Kogi would be one man, one vote.

Dickson in an interview with journalists while exuding confidence that he would trounce Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progrssives Party (APC) because Bayelsans have decided to stay with the PDP, cautioned against violence which has claimed one life in Ekeremor Local Government Area.

According to him he abhors violence and he also wants Sylva and his party to condemn acts of violence which is capable of disrupting the election.

While insisting that Bayelsans would reward him for being truthful to his electoral promises by re-electing him on December 5, he assured them that they should file out to vote without fear as adequate security would be provided for a free, fair and credible election.

How have you impacted Bayelsa’s development and politics in your tenure so far?

We have changed the face of politics in this state where we have emphasized the importance of the people as the centre of all development. Take the issue of accountability. For example every month we announce what comes in terms of revenue and how we spend them; it is empowerment of the people. We are empowering them mentally and democratically to take charge of their future. I believe that this will be a standard moving forward as far as governorship and other elections in this state are concerned. I heard that my good friend has intensified his campaign. That is how it should be, not threatening our people with federal might, hoping that INEC will write results for him, that SSS are his errand boys and JTF will handcuff people for him. He is flying around with helicopters but I am going around as a simple Governor on boats and trekking with the people because for me the people of this state must be liberated from these greedy persons that do not care about the development of the state. For them everything begins and ends with their selfish, pecuniary interest. I am taking our case of peace, security and development to the communities and telling the people your future is in your hands not in any Abuja or Lagos governor. You will be the ones to decide. I am very happy about the warm reception and the endorsements I have received. I am just coming from Agudama Ekpetiema and the women came out to tie wrapper on me, the men give me presents. So many of these people( our opponents) are disconnected from their voters. I am busy with the persons who will vote and as we move towards the election, Bayelsans will know that this federal might and security they are using to intimidate people will not work. Look at the election in Kogi, it was free and fair, one man one vote so Bayelsa should learn, there will be no federal might in Bayelsa. We are sensitizing the people that no one wearing uniform or any other colour will intimidate them. They will vote with their PVCs and protect their votes. There is no magic that can be performed for APC to win.

In the course of your campaign you have preached peace and security yet there was a clash between APC and PDP supporters in Ekeremor that led to the death of one Andrew John.

Let me use this opportunity to condemn any act of confrontation particularly violent confrontation especially when it leads to loss of life or injuries irrespective of the party of the person affected. As the Governor it is my responsibility to protect everyone and their property. A situation where a minister goes to his community and openly threatens everybody that if they do not keep an eye on their child on election day the child will be killed, that is criminal. We should condemn those type of utterances. As for the incident at Ekeremor I have already issued a statement. Based on the preliminary report at my disposal, the gentleman who died was the one who attacked the PDP supporters who sought to erect a sign banner. From the report I have, he was rushed to the hospital for treatment and remained there for two days and then sought to leave the hospital against medical advice and went home believing he was well. Then he developed complications and died. The police are currently investigating so we await the full facts. In Gbarian Ekeptiama, PDP supporters were attacked and as we speak two are hospitalised. In other parts of the state such attacks are taking place but I condemn all of these. Let me use this opportunity to call on everyone particularly my supporters and party members, I do not want to hear any quarrel about posters and billboards and banners, because they do not win elections. I take the pains to go round to communities because I want to educate people not through banners and billboards. Do not worry if these people come and provoke you, do not argue, the elections will come and go in the next few days and all those banners and billboards will become useless. Focus on winning the elections, galvanizing supporters and telling the people to reject the government of killing and Famutangbe.

Bayelsans must not hobnob with these discredited people. This man could not do the intervention I did that enables him to drive to Nembe, he could not dualize the Azikoro road which I did. Under him for five years the road to Amassoma was impassable, he could not dream of electrifying communities and all he knew was promote insecurity and cultism. Unfortunately, because of greed, even people that were on exile during his government are supporting him. Many of them will end up in the belly of a tiger because this is a man who does not forget and does not forgive and has no compassion. I can call names but I do not want to do so, they know themselves. Why did they not join APC from the beginning? I do not know how many of them will be in NDDC, I do not know how many Directors and Board members we will have as he has promised them . They do not mind handing over the future of their own children. I condemn violence and I want to call on my good friend Chief Timipre Slyva and his party to also condemn it. They should make the kind of statement I am making, and condemn violence of every sort.

How confident are you that you will win this election and have you done enough in your current term to deserve the mandate of the people

I have performed better than my good friend if we have built the number of schools we have built within this period in spite of the short fall in allocation. If we have done the sort of things my Government has done within this period. If I do not feel confident that I have done enough then I do not know the governor that should run for a second term because frankly, if a governor were to do the sort of things I have done he will win. That is my view. I have interacted with our people and communities and they all say I deserve more than a second term. And so I am very confident.

Even a blind man will tell you that you cannot compare our performance and that the difference between me and Sylva is like that between day and night. In what area can you compare? In terms of acquiring liabilities and debts for our state? Or are you going to measure the performance by the number of killings in the state? In every area, talking about peace and security and development, we know that there is no comparison.

Talking about PDP losing traditional strongholds, there is nothing like losing traditional strongholds. The way the last general elections went, our party made mistakes in some areas, and in politics, when you have been in power for this long you make mistakes; there are consequences attached. Bayelsa is different. We have a performing governor and given free and fair elections between myself and Timipre Slyva, forget the parties. There is no basis for comparison. That is why I am not surprised that communities are endorsing me. With what I have achieved if a governor does it in 8 years you will clap for him. Our people know it, people outside know it. And I am out to do more in a second term so I will get the second term by the grace of God.

Have you heard allegations that the opposition party is distributing police and army uniforms to their supporters to pose as security agents to enable them rig the election? If so, what are you doing about it? Secondly in your last media chat you described yourself as the countryman Governor and your good friend of the APC as the ‘guy man’. What ideological connotations do these terms have?

To begin with the guy man. It is a guy man who in this environment of poor people who are suffering unleashes violence on the people to intimidate them while purportedly campaigning for their support. He is a guy man who has held political offices and was a governor for almost 5 years and does not have a house in the state capital to sleep in, not even a hut of his own, even in his own local government or community. Who is to develop your community for you? He is more travelled than I am, so he is right when he refers to me as I hear as a bush man. I say he is a guy man, he says I am a bush man but our people say I am a country man because a country man will use boat and canoe to see his country people which is the same transportation system they are used to. And I have slept in all local government areas including his own local government which he has not. I slept in southern Ijaw.Guy man should sleep there not hop in and out. Even as a governor he was hopping in and out of the country. That is a guy man but he is my good friend though we disagree fundamentally in terms of vision. In fact, he has no vision. You do not come to be a governor because of ego, because you want to blow siren or because you have friends in high places that can help you to get it. I was prepared for governorship. That is why when I came you can see how we have established a paradigm shift and if God helps and the people realise the need to protect their future, no guy man in Bayelsa can be governor again because this job is a serious job, one that requires a passion and commitment to do the people’s business, to lift them out of poverty and under development not harbouring resentment or bitterness as a governor.

When he was governor he surrounded himself with people who led him to abysmal failure instead of guiding him and then they abandoned him. When I came in as a governor, a number of them came around me and saw that ‘kaki no be leather.’

I must take responsibility for my administration. Bayelsans will not remember any commissioner but the person who is in charge of them. That is what he does not know and that is why he says they should hold other people responsible for the atrocities of Famutangbe. Up till now he does not get it that leadership is about responsibility.

On security, the security agencies are working on that and I want to use this opportunity to warn those who may be attempting that out of desperation that it will not work, it will land them in trouble. Security agencies are not fools and you young people do not believe when people tell you lies. I want to advise our young ones to go and vote whoever they want instead of being used because that will not work.

What form of assurance can you give to the electorate and the people of Bayelsa state regarding their safety as they file out December 5th to cast their vote?

I have confidence in the security forces. I always say that the security officers in Bayelsa are the best any governor will want to have. I have confidence in their expertise, their dedication to duty and professionalism. All I am asking as governor and candidate is for peace. I know that the citizens of this state have nothing to fear as far as their security is concerned, before during and after elections. And because this is an individual election, not a national one the security forces here will have a lot of support. For the Kogi election, the police alone deployed about sixteen thousand personnel. That is almost a lock down. Any criminal who decides to be used and those who choose to use criminals will not succeed. If the security forces do not stop felons, our people in every unit have been sensitised to stop them.

My assurance is Bayelsans should not have any fear, security forces are doing their best, I know the arrangement and we should give them their support especially to those security personnel that will be doing the right thing. But you are under no obligation to cooperate with any security official or personnel who plays partisan politics or who has been suborned to intimidate you, that one is a bad egg. I want to use this opportunity to call on APC and their leaders not to undermine the security of the state. They should not see security officers as an extension of APC merely because APC is in control of the federal government. They should allow them to do their jobs. Leave the security agents out of their politics so they can provide security for all of us.

What would be your response to the allegations by your rival: that you accused him of master minding the killings of Bayelsans through his security outfit, that you are not very accurate with the amount of debts his administration left behind,that you took more loans than his administration and more?

On loans, I had opportunity to set up an enquiry as he did to expose everything he did as a governor but I did not do that and I am not planning to do that. I respect the office of the Governor. I accord him the respect that is rightly due him because it takes the grace of God for you to be a Governor out of millions. I take him up on issues. Bayelsans know the amount of money that he took. If you were to know the pressure I was under by some of the people around him as to how I should handle and deal with him, he will be shocked. But I do not think we should go that way. Bayelsans know the Governor that I am and the loan I took. But taking a loan is not a problem.

He took a bond. The issue has to do with what was done with the money that was borrowed. For example, the airport that he could have done but did not do. When we were dualizing the Isaac Boro express road, some water pipes had to be removed and few of them were removed. But I have not heard any testimony that water was running continually before the dualisation.

He also said the road we are doing to Ekeremor is a political gimmick. Well, if to construct a road within this short period I am here and to the extent I have done it, something he could not do and his minister could not do, is a political gimmick then I want to have more political gimmicks like that because we believe in constructing roads. He does not have anything to campaign with.

Talking about why I am saying that his government did not do enough in security, that is what I was trying to say that when you are a leader you take responsibility. If you set up an organisation like Famutangbe and you put people in charge, as someone in ultimate authority, as chief executive officer you take responsibility for the decisions you take, for the appointments you make and the organisations you set up you. So he cannot run away from that. I want to use this opportunity to ask that he apologise to Bayelsa for the atrocities he committed during his tenure. He shouldn’t rationalise it.

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