The Bayelsa State-based Grassroots Initiatives has totally condemned what it described as a show of shame, the action of the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, and her Women for a Change political ‘thugs’ when President Goodluck Jonathan campaign train visited the state last week.
The group alleged that the action of Mrs. Jonathan’s Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) at the rally was aimed solely to humiliate the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, “but that they failed in their efforts.”
The Chairman of the Initiatives, Chief Peretimi Akari, in a media parley in Lagos recently, said: “Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s effort to ridicule Dickson at the February 6 historic home coming for President Jonathan seems to have backfired.”
He stressed that his group had vowed to continue to expose “all enemies of progress in Bayelsa State,” adding that: “The day the state literarily shut down, expectedly, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) made its final campaign at President Jonathan’s home state, witnessed a show of shame by a handful of Mrs. Jonathan’s TAN and her Women for Change political thugs.”
Akari, who expressed sadness over the situation, explained that: “They failed woefully in their ploy to humiliate Dickson at the rally on a day that he proved his mobilising abilities against all odds, as he got almost everybody in the state to line the routes with a mammoth crowd that converged at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa.”
He, however, posited that what happened at the rally was revolting, “as Bayelsans were shocked to see the country’s first lady descending so low as she took her hatred on Dickson to an embarrassing level, while Jonathan barred his mind on the need for Bayelsans to continue working with Dickson for a continued developmental stride that the governor has maintained since assumption of office three years ago.
“The worrisome aspect is that in her bid to continue with the rift that has polarised the once formidable PDP in the state, Mrs. Jonathan reportedly undermined the governor’s security by allegedly using the state Commissioner of Police, who has since his assumption of duty, never hid his preference to Mrs. Jonathan’s directive, instead of the chief security officer of the state, just as a handful of Mrs. Jonathan’s TAN members and her political thugs failed woefully in their ploy to humiliate Dickson at the rally.”
The leader of the Grassroots Initiatives told journalists that: “The governor’s offence is bringing sanity to governance as he started by cutting costs from government house; put a stop to the inflation of salaries and getting the civil servants to sit up.
“That definitely did not go down well with the beneficiaries; especially, when he stopped the N250million that his predecessor was dolling out monthly to some groups. Before now civil servants in the state hardly ever go to work except few days to month end when they come to collect their salaries.
“The question we are asking is ‘why would Mrs. Jonathan be fighting a performing governor, who has touched almost all the communities in the state with his statewide infrastructural development stride?
“Dickson’s efforts at providing a warm reception meant nothing to her because she has her own choice as the next governor of the state. But what they are failing to understand is that the crowd here is not for Jonathan alone, but mainly for the governor who has remained a grassroots person.”
The group alleged that the irony of it all is that: “The TAN leadership, which are mainly ex-governor Sylvia Timipre’s men, mostly members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), at the rally, strategically positioned themselves to shout down President Jonathan’s plea that all members of the party in the state should work with Dickson.
“The embarrassing situation prompted close observers of the state politics to wonder why Mrs. Jonathan has continued to over-stretch her luck, instead of working with the governor to save the situation from damaging the party’s fortune on March 28.
“More so, as the governor, a grassroots politician has nothing to worry about until later in the year when the primaries are expected to return him for a second term. That forced the president to come down hard on persons and establishments, who he accused of working against the administration of Dickson, saying that persons opposing Dickson are his enemies.”
To buttress his point, he quoted President Jonathan saying: “We are together, we work together to bring dividends of democracy to this state, so don’t allow anybody to deceive you. I am telling you as your brother. I am telling you as your uncle. You must work with the state government to make sure that we develop this state. You have to work with us.”
Akari recalled that the genesis of the problem was when the first lady had wanted to hoist Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic and Social Events, Hon. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, as deputy governor to Dickson, but the governor, was not comfortable with Dudafa’s antecedent. So Dickson rather offered him a commissionership slot, which he turned down.
“And instead of the President’s wife, who was championing his case to see reasons with Dickson, Dudafa was taken to Abuja and elevated as a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Domestic and Social Events. Your guess of that position is as mine,” he alleged.
He further stressed that, the general agreement among party faithful at the campaign ground that day was why Dickson performance as a governor was not being encouraged?