By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio – Yenogoa
The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congres (APC) has accused the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of using the name of traditional rulers ahead of the November 16 governorship poll.
APC said the governor and his party were desperately ambushing palaces of kings and traditional stools and coming out with reports that such revered institutions adopted their candidate for the forthcoming election.
The Chairman of APC Contact, Reconciliation and Integration Committee, Chief Dikivie Ikiogha, in a statement in Yenagoa said the people of the state were taken aback when Dickson in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Fidelis Soriwei, claimed that the PDP candidate was endorsed by the Epie-Atissa monarch, King Malla Sasime and his Council of Chiefs.
Ikiogha, who is also a member of the Epie and Atissa councils of Chiefs and member of Epie-Atissa Joint Council of Chiefs, said it amounted to desecration of traditional values for the governor to twist a normal traditional protocol in a courtesy visit to score cheap political points.
He said Dickson and the PDP suddenly realized their failures in the state and the imminent harsh judgement reserved for them at the poll and resorted to outright lies and propaganda.
Ikiogha said with the high level of disconnect between the people and Dickson’s government, no traditional institution apart from the council of Chiefs in Toru-Orua, Dickson’s community in Sagbama, would identify with the PDP’s candidate, Senator Douye Diri.
He said following the reports of the adoption, he contacted his King, who denied endorsing Diri saying he only performed his traditional duties of giving his blessings to any visiting party candidate.
He said: “I am a member of the Epie Council of Chiefs and a member of Epie-Atissa Joint Council of Chiefs. I am a political leader in Epie-Atissa and being a member of the council of chiefs, I was supposed to be there when the governor visited the council of Chiefs. But I was unavoidably absent.
“Nevertheless, it has never been in history that a courtesy call by a governor to a council of chiefs would amount to adoption. So, the Epie-Atissa never adopted the PDP candidate at all. When I got the information, I called the king because I know that this one would never happen.
“I know that the APC candidate, David Lyon is a son to King Sasime. I wanted to know from the king and he said there was nothing like that. I asked the secretary of the council and he said there was nothing like that. They only received the governor and his team as the tradition demands.
“Anybody contesting election in the state visits the palace to introduce themselves and tell them they are contesting the election and the usual traditional matter is to bless the person. That was what was done.
“But I have noticed that any traditional council Dikcosn visits, they come out with the story that the people have adopted their candidate. Dickson has not done well to attract adoption from any group of people”.
…As Diri gets blessing of Atissa monarch
The gubernatorial ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party received yet another major boost as the King of Atissa Council of Traditional Chiefs in Yenagoa Local Government Area endorsed the party’s candidate.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the Spokesman of the Council, His Royal Highness Ovie Omeleh, the Ebenekein of Yenakah, as having announced the Atissa endorsement of the PDP Candidate, Senator Douye Diri and his running mate, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor when Governor Henry Seriake Dickson visited the influential palace to present them to the kingdom.
The endorsement came barely 48 hours after a foremost traditional ruler in the state, the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom, King Malla Sasime, and the Council òf Chiefs endorsed the candidate of the party and his running mate, Senator Lawrence Ewhrujakpo for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
HRH Ovie Omeleh said that the tempo of development in all sectors especially with the construction of new roads and dualization of already existing roads in the State capital could only be sustained by the PDP which has a legacy of development in the state since the commencement of democratic governance in 1999.
Speaking also, HRH Dikevie Okulovie, Adukali 1 of Atissa Kingdom commended Governor Dickson for ensuring that his party fields a credible and worthy candidate to take over the reins of leadership from him on February 14, 2020.
He described the presentation of the PDP gubernatorial candidate at the Obeni Ibe’s palace as thoughtful as it represented the spiritual, administrative and political head of the Atissa candidate.
HRH Okulovie commended the governor for his landmark achievements and turn around of Yenagoa into a metropolis, assuring of total support for the Diri/ Ewhrujakpo candidacy, just as Atissa supported Governor Dickson in 2011 and 2015.
The Governor who presented the PDP Candidate and his running mate to the palace said that the PDP ticket had nothing to do with insecurity, lawlessness, violence and militancy as represented by some other party.
The Governor who called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to be impartial in the conduct of the election said that the Bayelsa voter was tired of acts of violence perpetrated by desperate political parties who lack the capacity to win the election.
He urged the people to be firm in their support for the PDP as Diri would consolidate on the exploits in education, roads, health and the mutually rewarding relationship with the traditional institution.
Speaking also, the Party’s candidate, Diri, thanked the palace and the chiefs for their continuing support having contributed massively to his victory in the past elections into the House òf Representatives and the Senate and promised to continue with the developmental agenda of the Dickson administration in the area of infrastructure, health, education and others.