By EMMANUEL AZIKEN
Just ten months ago, four of the five members of the House of Representatives and all three senators from Bayelsa State were pitched in battle against one of their colleagues from the state.
The man on the other side at that time was Rep. Serikae Dickson, a one time leftist, near socialist and political ideologue of the Soviet school. As state chairman of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, in Bayelsa State in 1999, the radical leaning Dickson had helped in the election of the only AD senator from the south-south geopolitical zone. That was Senator Emmanuel Diffa.
Even after his surreptitious surrender to the bourgeoisie class, Dickson apparently retained his fighting faculties. If Dickson would not fight, then his imposing physique would not let him be.
It was as such not surprising that Dickson turned out to be the front man in the vengeful and hazardous political war between Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and former Governor Timipire Sylva ahead of the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election last February.
Ahead of that battle many were loath to side with Jonathan. It was not surprising. In several political battles prior to the Bayelsa election, Dr. Jonathan had disappointed many.
Even where he had the power and the instrument of office to deal with his political ‘foes’, he, like the biblical children of Ephraim though being armed, turned back in the day of battle.
here were many instances of the president refusing to fight even on the behalf of those who helped him in his own political odyssey. As one of his aides has often said, President Jonathan would not exert his presidential powers for personal benefit.
But as the Bayelsa election drew near in the twilight of 2011, commonsense it seemed, dawned on the president. Leaving Governor Sylva in office it was believed, would bring incalculable political risk, especially if Jonathan were to leave office in 2015 with Sylva remaining as governor till 2016.
If Governor Gbenga Daniel could make Abeokuta inhabitable for President Olusegun Obasanjo after 2007, then Sylva would almost surely throw Jonathan into the ocean in 2015 it was assumed.
So, when the battle line was eventually drawn in the fourth quarter of 2011 there were many who did not believe that Dickson could win it.
Neither the intimidating physical prowess of Dickson nor the president’s command of the armed forces were deemed strong enough to overwhelm the structures of good and evil that Sylva was repeatedly alleged to have erected all over Bayelsa.
Ahead of the battle, Dickson’s four colleagues in the House of Representatives and all three senators from the state, including those who were friends of President Jonathan took position against Dickson in the election.
The Senators who remarkably were friends of Dr. Jonathan turned against Dickson reportedly because it was Sylva who gave them their return tickets while Jonathan was looking the other way. Dickson was the only one who fought for and won his ticket without Sylva’s support.
As Sylva’s associates claimed at that time, Dickson was the only one of the three senators and the five house members from the state who was against Sylva’s re-election.
But in the contest of wills and machinations that preceded the PDP primaries and election, Jonathan and Dickson clearly won and without shedding of blood.
It was as such remarkable last weekend that ahead of the House of Representatives Public Sessions with constituents that all five members of the House of Representatives, including Dickson’s replacement, Dr. Stella Dorgu (Keme2Keme) visited Governor Dickson pledging their loyalty. It was a reflection of the paradigm shift in the politics of the state.
The development inevitably draws attention to the powers of the president to do and undo in these shores. As has been repeatedly said, the Nigeria president is arguably the most powerful in the world.
Given the powers available to him, then one is almost at a loss why the president is shying away from deploying them to good use in combating the multi malfeasances in the land.
If the president could deal with the stresses from Sylva, he could well deal with the machinations of the oil marketers and the corrosive culture of corruption all over. He could only if he decides to fight.