Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa state, on Monday said President Muhammadu Buhari was stoned in 2011 when he visited the state as the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Incidentally, Timipre Sylva, Dickson’s rival and candidate of the APC in the state governorship election, was the governor of Bayelsa at the time.
Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, capital of the state, Dickson said he ensured that Buhari was secure during his visit to Bayelsa as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“President Buhari, when he came to campaign as CPC candidate, was stoned,” he said. “But I granted state stadium to president Buhari, and made adequate security for his safety when he came to campaign again, because I knew that these people could harm him or people in his entourage and I didn’t want that to happen.”
Dickson also accused one of Buhari’s ministers, apparently Heineken Lokpobiri, of “terrorising” people of the state ahead of Saturday rerun election. The election, which held across the state on December 8, was rescheduled to January 9 in Southern Ijaw local government area and over 100 polling units in other local government areas, as a result of violence.
But Dickson placed the disturbances at the doorstep of his opponents, saying he remains a man of peace. He alleged that there were plans to rig Saturday election in favour of Sylva and called on the people to defend their votes. Dickson accused Sylva of using his influence to change the head of security agencies in the state in order to perfect his plot.
“I’m the proponent of political tolerance in this state,” he said. “I don’t need anybody to kill and maim for me, I’m a man of peace and everybody knows. What we have seen is a subversion of our national security agencies. “The minister sent thugs to attack the collation centre, put off the community generator, storm the collation centre, took away the original ward result sheets, and also prevented the collation officers from completing their collations”.
“In my own community, we had APC people who wanted to open an office, I told the commissioner of police to protect them, they must hang that flag – it’s their right. Nobody was assaulted. “Unlike Ekeremor, where a man who is not even candidate looks down on his community so much, thinks they’re his slaves and says ‘you will not vote’. Not even for his party, ‘you will not vote at all’.
“I got copied a letter written by the CDC chairman of Ekeremor community, the minister’s community, where it is directed to the president. Drawing the president’s attention to what the minister is doing, terrorizing the community with soldiers and police and SSS and so on. So that nobody would go there to vote. Himself, his younger ones are all carrying arms”.
As the CSO, I’m alive to my responsibilities in this state.
“This idea of changing people anytime they don’t do the wishes of a person or party – you’re destroying institutions. This is the third time they have changed the commissioner of police in Bayelsa, since this race started. “They brought in Paul Okafor, brought in Nasir Oki, nominated by Timipre Sylva, now I hear Timipre Sylva says the man they brought here as commissioner of police didn’t do his bidding by killing enough people, didn’t do his bidding by arresting innocent party supporters and those who are not supporting him. “I hear that by today or tomorrow, the new commissioner of police, nominated by him and his party would arrive here”.
“They are celebrating victory of evil over good, victory of criminality over legality. This election has been won, they are only desperate and day dreaming, they are trying to get from the backdoor, what they couldn’t get from the front door”.
“All the votes from Southern Ijaw are for me. I have raised some of these issues even with the president. Critical issues of national securities. I believe Mr. President assurances. Mr. President was very gracious, I am grateful to him for granting me audience. I have his assurances that things would happen differently.”