‘PDP belongs to Ijaw, Ijaw belongs to PDP’
THE Chairman of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Serena Dokubo-Spiff has described his party as the only one among the lot in the country that identifies with the yearning of his people. In this exclusive interview with Sam Oluwalana, the lawyer-turned politician also spoke about his party’s chances in the forthcoming December 5 Governorship election and other salient issues as they affect the state.
As the ruling party in the state, what has been the people’s reaction towards your party and its policies?
Bayelsa State a is one hundred percent PDP state and I mean, one hundred percent PDP state, and it is the party of the Ijaw nation. That position has not changed, not even by the fact that we lost power at the center. It is true that there have been some rumours, it is true that a number of our members are thinking differently from our original concept.
Many said that they are defectors, but I call them distracted brethren of ours. They are distracted because what they are doing is not based on any definite ideological concept. Well, they will still return to our party and many are already returning. And so we have no anxieties and no fears as far as the December 5th election is free and fair. PDP will emerge victorious yet again.
So what do you think are the chances of your party winning the forthcoming elections?
Very brilliant chances, if you do a step to step analysis of the electoral fortunes of the respective parties, you will find out that we do not have any problem at all. Our party has been helped by APC though, ironically because they have chosen a candidate who is not a capable candidate, who is beatable. He has been there before and yet he did not do anything practically for the state. People are aware of it, if you conduct a methodical X- ray of what you might call the Sylva years, you will find out that those were the years of wastage. When he was the Governor of Bayelsa state, Education was thrown out; security was at the lowest ebb. He established a kind of militant security outfit that only brought mayhem to the people of the state. The security outfit was called ‘Operation Fam Tangbe’ meaning ‘kill and discard’. The Sylva years was the height of insecurity, people were unsafe, both in the waterways and on land. When Governor Dickson mounted the seat of power, he took immediate steps to reduce insecurity to the barest minimum. Dickson has equipped the security in the state to such a way that the security system is working so fantastic at the moment.
You are from the legal profession, and now you are here as the PDP Chairman, what has your experience been like?
Well, I have been in the legal profession for the past 37 years, and now as a state party Chairman, I am very proud of our achievements in the practice of law. I have done a lot of documentation in my work as a lawyer, but I have had to slow down in the professional service, as I am called upon to contribute my quota to the growth of the party. I am happy to work with Governor Seriake Dickson who is an intelligent leader and I have been able to lead the party to success.
What are the challenges you have experienced since you became the Chairman of the party in the state?
Well, challenges will always be there, especially when you are coming from a professional field of law, where you have been interacting and interfacing with serous men of the law professionals. You enter into the life of politics, and the life of a politician is somehow different because politicians will fight and exchange bitter words, but at the end of the day they still have ways of amending. The lawyer will want to be legalistic in every aspect of his endeavors and with legal eye and eagle eye, he should be able to handle things right.
Even the lawyers who find themselves in politics have a way of doing things. Discipline of the law which is engraved in me has guided me to carry the party all these while, and I believe by the grace of God, it will continue to guide me to a greater height.
What are the achievements of Gov Dickson in the state that are palpable?
There is no gainsaying that Gov. Dickson has done remarkably well in terms infrastructural development. The first thing he did was to declare a state of emergency in the Educational sector and has sent so many students for training abroad for superior education. His achievements in the educational sector are so overwhelming. As you know that before the inception of his government, our West African School Certificate Examination results were so poor, but immediately the state of emergency was declared in that sector, our results rose to one of the best in the country. The West African Examination Council recently issued a statement to the effect that Bayelsa is now number four position in the entire nation. Our Governor has managed the resources of the state brilliantly, and has applied sincerity of purpose in his governance. As soon as he got into office, he promulgated a law that put him to obligation to present a financial account of the state to the people every month.
That is the ‘transparency briefing’ he is doing every month, and there is a clause to the effect that if he fails to do such briefing for three consecutive times, he should be removed as the Governor. It is only a transparent person that can make such a law, and we know that as a result of the crunch in the oil revenue, the country is in a financial mess. Our monthly allocation of over 16 billion Nara is now less than six billion Nara, and he pays debts of the previous administrations.
As at the time when Governor Dickson got into office, he inherited a debt of about 400 billion Nara from the previous administration. Dickson is such a disciplined and frugal person who knows how to manage finances to the extent that the debt of the state has been reduced to less than 200 billion Naira.
As we speak, In spite of this financial adversity, the largest dredger in the country is still in Sagbama, pumping sand to complete the road from Sagbama to Ekeremor so that people can assess the area through road.
What advice do you have for those who recently defected from your party?
I agree with that, there are so many bad politicians who are so greedy that they want power at all cost, and to them to get the power, they must run down Dickson. I am calling all our brothers who have joined APC to come back and rejoin the family; it may be late for them. It is better to rule in heaven than serve in hell, there can only be one leader at a time.
Why should the people Bayelsa State vote for Governor Dickson?
The people of Bayelsa state should vote for the PDP and Governor Dickson for a number of reasons. The very obvious one is his remarkable achievements. Other reasons to vote for Dickson is for the interest of the Ijaw nation, like I have said that the PDP as an Ijaw party and we the people of PDP are inseparable. Since after the independence, the people of the Ijaw nation have yearned for some level of self-determination to be recognized in the political scheme of things in the country. It is only the PDP that hearkened to the cry of Ijaw nation and made our son, Goodluck Jonathan the President of the country. It is not in the nature of Ijaw man to be ungrateful, and so we will not turn our back against the party that gave us recognition, we are always there for PDP and will continue to embrace the party. We will also support President Buhari to build Nigeria, but we will not join APC as a party to achieve it.
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