Recently Governor, Dickson issued an order directing opposiition APC in Bayelsa State to quit its Secretariat. Osa Okhomina writes on the politics of the quit notice
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has a way of taunting and ruffling the feathers in the camp of the opposition groups in the State.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and governor Seriake Dickson never left anyone in doubt, through open mockery, the heavy blow of defeat dealt the opposition parties including the All Progressive Congress (APC) during the 2016 Governorship election in the state.
To his pleasure and to the disconfort of members of the APC, governor Seriake Dickson is at it again. He has issued a quit order to the Bayelsa APC on the building used as State Secretariat of the party.
While the fold of the APC was being torn apart by the controversy surrounding the supension and expulsion of the State Chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe and two others, the Governor Dickson-led Bayelsa Government rubbed it in and issued a Quit notice.
The Bayelsa Government directed the notification of the quit notice to the Inspector General of the Nigerian Police and the APC.
In the Notice issued, through the Solicitor General of Bayelsa State and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Preye Agedah Esq, the Bayelsa Government stated that “We write on behalf of the Government of Bayelsa State with regard to the property located at Chief Melford Okilo Expressway, Kpansia, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. This has become imperative because a mishandling of developments in respect of the said property may lead to a breach of public peace if not properly addressed.”
“As you are well aware, the Government of Bayelsa State has always had a peaceful relationship with the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa State Chapter and indeed all other political parties. This is due mainly to the political maturity displayed by the Government of Bayelsa State and its respect for the rule of law as pivotal to any democratic experience.”
“In the year 2010, the Bayelsa State Government acquired a property belonging to Chief Ipigansi Izagara along Chief Melford Okilo Expressway, Kpansia – Epie Yenagoa as a Government Guest House. The assessment, valuation and discussions towards the acquisition of the property was handled by the Executive Secretary of the Capital City Development Authority, the then Commissioner for Finance, Dr Opuala Charles and the former Governor of Bayelsa State Chief Timipre Sylva.”
“The property was duly paid for and the Government took possession of the property as owner and the key were handed over to the State Government by Chief Ipigansi Izagara.”
“Thereafter, the property was rehabilitated by Gefesco Enterprises Nigeria Limited for a total sum of Forty Three Million Naira (N43,000,000.000) of which the final payment of Twenty Three Million Naira (#23,000,000.000) was made by the current administration after an initial payment of Twenty Million Naira (N20,000,000.00) by its predecessor. “
“The Government had subsequently used the property as Presidential Campaign office and after the said use, the keys to the property were handed over to Chief Ikiogha who was then the Chief of Staff, Government House. It is to be noted that the said Chief Ikiogha defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC) without handing over the keys to the property”
“However, to the utter consternation of the Government of Bayelsa State, the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bayelsa State Chapter on the 17th day of July, 2015 forcefully broke into and gained entry into the premises of the already acquired and renovated Government property and took illegal possession of it as their party secretariat and campaign office”
“Upon this despicable conduct, the Government (with due deference to the rule of law) refrained from taking any steps that will occasion a breakdown of law and order but rather proceeded to court and obtained an interim order for them to vacate the premises which order they refused to obey.”
“The court order is attached hereto and referred to as Sir, while the capacity of the Bayelsa State Government to also retaliate by forcefully ejecting the APC from its Guest House is not in any doubt whatsoever, no such step has been taken as doing so will unnecessarily heat up the polity. This restraint is borne out of a high degree of political tolerance and utmost respect or the rule of law”
“Be that as it may, recent developments within the Bayelsa State APC requires that urgent steps be taken to ensure that the said property is protected from avoidable damage and the resulting waste of Government resources. At the moment, the APC Bayelsa State Chapter is in deep crisis with opposing groups forcefully and intermittently taking possession of the property from each other. “
“The property that Government did not only pay for with the common patrimony of the people but also renovated at great expense is now in danger of being vandalized by opposing APC thugs to the detriment of the interest of the Government and people of Bayelsa State.”
“Consequent upon the above, we request that you use your good office to call the APC, Bayelsa State Chapter to order and prevail on them to relocate their secretariat as the Government of Bayelsa State determined to take possession of the property.
Please be assured of our highest esteem and regards.”
The leadership of APC however, described the quit notice as “shameful, misplaced and breach of law.
According to the party, though the party is not surprised at the claims made by the PDP-led Bayelsa Government due to the confirmed shameful relationship it had with some dissident elements in the party, the party wants to put it on record that the genuine owners of the secretariat are in court with the State Government over issue of ownership and until such is concluded, the rent-age agreement entered into with the company subsides and legal.
The APC, in a statement issued via email and signed by the State Publicity Secetary, Hon. Panebi Fortune, maintained “It is also good to note that the timing of the letter by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration on the less important issue of APC secretariat is convenient and a pointer to the hands behind the recent protest and rebelion by a few in the Party.”
“Why is it so convinient that when some dissidents within the party in Bayelsa were suspended and expelled was when the Dickson administration woke and remember ownership of secetariat?”
“Instead of the Dickson administration to focus on how to account for huge billions of naira accrued to the state during his ongoing tenure as Governor and level of project completion, he is bothered about a secretariat he did not build.Is the Dickson administration laying claim that all secetariat rented by opposition parties are owned by the State?”
“Instead of accounting for how over N30billion Paris Fund monies were expended without clearing Salary debt owed hard working Civil Servants at the state and local Government levels, he is bothered about the issues of tenancy of the APC.Instead of building affordable housing units to the living in the state, the administration is busy chasing shadows”
“We urge Dickson and his team of busy bodies to focus on the completion of ongoing projects claimed to have been embarked upon by the people. He should complete the Shopping Mall projects opposite the Flyover. This is the rainy season, the administration should be more busy and alleviate the challenges facing the people.”
The APC administration urged the people of the State and the Inspector General of Police to treat the claim of the Governor Seriake Dickson with seriousness, “ because we know that when such claims are made, it is another mischievous way to lay solid ground for violence and attack by sponsored persosn.”
“In the past, even during the last election, when they raise issue and cry out, they always perpetuate violence against innocent Bayelsans and intimidate opposition.”
“While we commend the Nigerian Police for their proactive reaction to political issues in the state, we urge them to seriously investigate the matter raised by the governor Dickson administration and also increase security surveillance over the said property and the law abiding members of the Party and the State.”
While many are waiting for the outcome of the quit notice order of the Bayelsa Goverment, the response of the APC is also vital for the state polity.
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