The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Tuesday accused the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of blackmailing traditional rulers ahead of the November 16 governorship poll.
APC said the governor and his party were desperately ambushing palaces of kings and traditional stools and coming out with reports that such revered institutions adopted their candidate for the forthcoming election.
The Chairman of APC Contact, Reconciliation and Integration Committee, Chief Dikivie Ikiogha, in a statement in Yenagoa said the people of the state were taken aback when Dickson in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Fidelis Soriwei, claimed that the PDP candidate was endorsed by the Epie-Atissa monarch, King Malla Sasime and his Council of Chiefs.
Ikiogha, who is also a member of the Epie and Atissa councils of Chiefs and member of Epie-Atissa Joint Council of Chiefs, said it amounted to desecration of traditional values for the governor to twist a normal traditional protocol in a courtesy visit to score cheap political points.
He said Dickson and the PDP suddenly realized their failures in the state and the imminent harsh judgement reserved for them at the poll and resorted to outright lies and propaganda.
Ikiogha said with the high level of disconnect between the people and Dickson’s government, no traditional institution apart from the council of
Chiefs in Toru-Orua, Dickson’s community in Sagbama, would identify with the PDP’s candidate, Senator Douye Diri.
He said following the reports of the adoption, he contacted his King, who denied endorsing Diri saying he only performed his traditional duties of giving his blessings to any visiting party candidate.
Ikiogha said the council of Chiefs were angry at the report of purported endorsement and appealed to members of the public to disregard it.
He further pointed out that even if the the council would go to the extreme of
endorsing any candidate, the Epie-Atissa, would adopt the candidate of the APC, Chief David Lyon because he is a son of the king and a loved resident of the area.
He said: “I am a member of the Epie Council of Chiefs and a member of Epie-Atissa Joint Council of Chiefs. I am a political leader in Epie-Atissa and being a member of the council of chief, I was supposed to be there when the governor visited the council of Chiefs. But I was unavoidably absent.