The Peoples Democratic Party has dismissed a report that the party planned to suspend former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, over suspected anti-party activities in the last Saturday governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Rather, a member of its National Working Committee (NWC) blamed Governor Seriake Dickson for the defeat of the party in the governorship election won by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. David Lyon. This is coming as Dickson accused the APC of turning the visit of some of its stalwarts to the former president to a propaganda message to legitimise the electoral robbery he accused it of perpetrating in the state.
The NWC of the party is, however, expected to meet today to review its outing in the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections held last Saturday.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, confirmed the meeting to in Abuja last night. However, responding to the insinuation to suspend Jonathan, he said: “We have not even met to discuss what happened in the last governorship election.
How can somebody or a newspaper be talking about suspending a former president?”
However, another member of NWC, dismissed the report of suspending Jonathan for allegedly being instrumental to PDP’s defeat, blaming Dickson for the loss of the state to APC.
The chieftain, who spoke anonymously, said the PDP would have escaped the defeat if the governor had listened to the advice of the former president and party leaders in the state to support the governorship aspiration of a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe, instead of his preferred candidate, Senator Douye Diri.
He said: ‘’It was Governor Seriake Dickson who defeated PDP and nobody else. You don’t play God. Since he became governor, he has done everything to belittle former President Goodluck Jonathan, the same person who did everything to make him a governor.
‘’In the last general election, he did not even allow Jonathan to produce a member of the state House of Assembly representing his state constituency; the same thing with House of Representatives and the Senate. And on the basis of that silly action by the governor, the people revolted and voted APC.
‘’And when the governorship primary was also approaching, the leadership of the party, both at the state and national level, prevailed on Governor Dickson to allow the former president’s choice, Chief Timi Alaibe, who was also the choice of the leaders. He refused. And he did everything to skew the primary in his candidate’s favour.’’
The source added that when Dickson was proving tough, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was encouraged to intervene; but the governor was said to have told Obasanjo that the party could win the election with or without the support of Jonathan. He added: ‘’A few weeks to the election, when it became very clear to him that Jonathan and his wife would not support the PDP’s candidate and considering the implications, Governor Dickson approached PDP governors to help beg Jonathan. They did; but then it was too late.
‘’Even though Jonathan did not openly campaign against our candidate, his body language sent a clear message to his huge followers in the state, who worked against our candidate. As a matter of fact, it was Governor Seriake Dickson who defeated our candidate and our party in the governorship election.”
The source explained that though the election was manipulated in some polling units, especially in the Southern Ijaw areas, the APC capitalised on the people’s sentiments to carry out its electoral fraud.
APC Playing Politics with Officials’ Visit to Jonathan, Says Dickson
However, Dickson yesterday accused the APC of turning the visit of some of its stalwarts to the former president to a propaganda message to legitimise the electoral robbery he accused it of perpetrating in the state. He also described as balderdash, the notion that it was the alleged disagreement between him and the former president that led to the APC’s purported victory, saying that Jonathan remained a leader of the entire country who shouldn’t be drawn into the local politics of the state.
Dickson explained that as a leader of the country, the former president was at liberty to receive any visitors, but warned on the dangers posed by the insinuations being weaved around the visit by the APC.
He alleged that the APC had recently begun to romance the ex-president to sell the narrative that the party did not win by rigging elections but by attempting to legitimise what he said was an illegitimate and indefensible electoral outcome. He stated that no politician had stood by Jonathan more than himself and that in the build-up to the elections, he had visited Jonathan about 16 times to meet with him on the way forward for the PDP.
He said: “My reaction is that President Jonathan remains a leader of our country. He is at liberty to receive members of any political party but in the context of all that is going on I know that the insinuations are not misplaced.
“APC came to Bayelsa to take his state and people by force. With the comments they are making about him, Oshiomhole coming to Bayelsa to praise Jonathan, what they were doing is laying the foundation to perpetrate fraud and violence.
“No politician has stood by Jonathan more than me. They simply used his name and image to legitimise illegitimacy. I can see the strategic content.
“They used Jonathan to expand the notion of disagreement and after the rigging to go to him like Pontius Pilate to wash off their hands and put it at his doorsteps to say he sanctioned it…But let’s accord him the right to meet with other dignitaries.”
He also tendered what he said were video evidence in support of the alleged killings and violence that characterised the conduct of last Saturday’s governorship election in Nembe Local Government Area and some other parts of the state.
Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, Dickson described the election as a charade and a carefully orchestrated plan to forcibly take over the state.
One of the videos captured heavy shooting in Koluama in Southern Ijaw, while the other videos captured thumb-printing of ballot papers by an alleged APC chieftain (name withheld) at Nembe where INEC recorded over 83,000 votes for APC and 837 for PDP.
He condemned what he termed the brazen connivance of security agents, particularly the Nigerian Army, with APC thugs to hijack electoral materials in most local government areas.
He said soldiers were deployed in Ogbia Local Government Area and other parts of the state to cart away electoral materials thereby undermining the process in favour of the APC. The governor called on the federal government to take drastic action in safeguarding the country’s democratic principles and protecting the fundamental rights of Nigerians in every election.
The governor who was speaking for the first time after the conduct of the election, accused the army of involvement in the killings of some members of the PDP, ballot snatching and hijacking of election materials by APC members and declaration of results by INEC even in the areas where election did not hold.