A rights group known as the Bayelsa Integrity Group (BIG) has risen in defence of the political family of former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan against what it described as unwarranted media attacks funded by some selfish and misguided politicians from Bayelsa State.
The group noted that a particular interest group in Bayelsa State is in the habit of sponsoring recycled false allegations against the former President and his political allies in the bid to force their narrow and highly discredited political will on the good people of Bayelsa State.
BIG however warned that those behind the “shameful and treacherous act will live to regret their actions as their efforts will not only fail but will come round to haunt them.”
The group in a statement by Mr. Ebi Dressman, BIG spokesperson, condemned what they described as “sponsored false stories in some national dallies with the intention of damaging the hard-earned reputation of former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and those close to him who they have accused of anti-party activities.”
Mr. Dressman, noted “that such mischievous publications have become routine”, alleging that “the source of these publications are well known political leaders in the State”.
The statement further said: “We have repeatedly stated that Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has no business working against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a political family that brought him to the limelight.
His interest after leaving office has been to help nurture and consolidate democracy not only in Nigeria but in Africa. This, he has been doing through the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.
We are aware that the stakes are high as the Governorship election approaches, and desperate politicians will resort to different gimmicks.
“Those who have committed themselves to sustained media calumny against the person of the former President, his friends and family members are well known.
According to Dressman, the group is aware that “these cowards come to him both at night and day in pretence of walking their hypocritical reconciliation and consultation talk, only to turn round and sponsor negative publications to impugn his reputation”.
“Our advice to them is to desist forthwith from such callousness because their duplicitous conduct will eventually hurt them, their ego and ambitions more than any other person.
To them and other politicians in Bayelsa, we urge them, as they pursue their ambitions and promote their political interest, to conduct themselves with maturity, dignity and mutual respect in the interest of the good people of Bayelsa. If they are not politically naïve, they would have known that such divisive and smear campaign against highly respected memebers of the party could make PDP to lose votes in the State to the advantage of opposition parties.”
Speaking further on Jonathan’s statesmanly disposition, Dressman said: “As a statesman, Dr. Jonathan’s first interest in the coming poll is peace. In a bid to ensure that peace reigns during the election and that Bayelsa does not become a field of blood during the November poll, he has been dutifully engaging different stakeholders including those who routinely circulate negative stories against him, using hack writers.
“It is obvious that the former President has been very vocal against issues of political violence not just in Bayelsa but across Africa. It is therefore, uncharitable to allege that he will condone violence of whatever kind against fellow citizens or seek to work against the interest of his party. If he could not encourage violence to further his own political ambition when it mattered most, where then is the logic in the fallacy that Jonathan and his family members are either working for the opposition in the next governorship election or fermenting trouble by lending support to political violence in the state.
“It is on record that Dr. Jonathan is a liberal democrat, who subscribes to the philosophy of politics without bitterness, hence to expect him to treat those outside a particular political family as political foes, is a dizzying height of political puerility and narrow-mindedness to which the former President will never descend.
It also said: “Dr. Jonathan as a former President, is a mentor to many politicians, not just in Bayelsa but across Africa. He cannot therefore, in a bid to meet the expectations of political narcissists in Bayelsa State, sever relations with friends and associates or discourage them from pursuing their aspirations and legitimate political rights.
“The former President remains committed to the electoral fortunes of the PDP not just in Bayelsa but across the country. He encourages all interested parties in the PDP to come together and work towards the victory of PDP in the November poll.
“Dr. Jonathan will continue to encourage the PDP leadership in Bayelsa State and those at the national level to ensure that the party primaries are transparent, free and fair to all in order to avoid internal implosion which could mar the chances of the party in the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
The group also opined that “Dr. Jonathan was committed to the victory of the PDP across Nigeria and in his home state”. The group however called on “the PDP leadership in Bayelsa State and those at the national level to ensure that the party primaries are transparent, free and fair to all in order to avoid internal implosion which could mar the chances of the party in the forthcoming gubernatorial election”.