As the rift between Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State continue unabated, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged both governors to “sheathe their swords”.
The disagreement between the two PDP Governors is believed to have been triggered by the dispute over ownership of the Soku oil wells, which were being held by Bayelsa state until the a court, in a ruling last week, declared Rivers state as the rightful owner of the wells.
However, the PDP, in a statement on Monday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, called on the two governors to stop the brick bats and allow the leadership of the party resolve the matter amicably.
The statement said: “The national leadership, having noted the issues, has activated the party’s internal reconciliation mechanism to settle the matter amicably.
“The PDP recognises that the tone of disagreements between the two respected governors was skin-deep and only borne out of their love and zeal for their respective states.
“The PDP leadership hereby urges both Governors Wike and Dickson, as eminent leaders and frontline stakeholders in our party, to sheathe their swords while the leadership harmoniously resolves the issue.
“We therefore assure all our leaders, critical stakeholders, members and supporters of our great party, particularly in Rivers and Bayelsa states, to remain calm and united, as the issue is already being resolved.
“The PDP restates that it remains one big indivisible family and will not allow anything to undermine its unity and focus especially at this trying time in the history of our nation”.
This statement comes few hours after Gov. Wike on Monday rained reciprocal attacks on Gov.Dickson. Barr.Wike during a media chat on Monday at the Rivers State Government Port-Harcourt insisted that the Soku Oil Wells belong to the Government and People of Rivers State as the Federal High Court affirmed and based on the admission by the National Boundary Commission that it erroneously shifted the boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa States from River Santa Barbara to River Saint Batholomew in the 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria.
Governor Wike described the allegations made against him by his Bayelsa counterpart as the baseless ranting of a frustrated politician who is yet to come to terms with his losses.
“In 2002, the NBC altered the boundary in the 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria. They made a mistake by shifting the boundary from River Santa Barbara to River St Batholomew. At the Supreme Court, the NBC wrote a letter a admitting their error.
“The Supreme Court made an order for the NBC to correct the error of the 11th Edition in the 12th Edition,” he said.
Governor Wike said seven years after the Supreme Court gave the order, the NBC was yet to effect the correction. He said that preliminary report on the 12th Edition, indicated that the NBC made no attempt to obey the order of the Supreme Court.
“We had to sue the NBC to enforce the order of the Supreme Court, where they were directed to ensure that the Boundary Between Rivers and Bayelsa State is River Santa Barbara.
“Judgment has been given. The best the Bayelsa State Governor can do is to go on appeal.
“You cannot heap your frustration on us. We have nobody to carry guns, so the best place to go is the court.”
Governor Wike stated that he was elected by Rivers people to protect their interest. He said there is nothing personal in the fight for Soku Oil Wells.
“I am protecting what belongs to Rivers State Ijaw. I am protecting what what belongs to Rivers State.
“The Outgoing Bayelsa State Governor is the one trying to cause disharmony by attempting to collect what belongs to the Ijaw in Rivers State.
“Contrary to the allegation by the Outgoing Bayelsa State Governor, there is no local Government Area in Rivers State where we don’t have projects. Let him mention the projects he has in the eight local Government Areas of Bayelsa State. Dickson cannot in all ramifications compare himself to me in terms of development.”
Governor Wike said while Rivers State is a major construction site, the Bayelsa State Governor has failed his people by refusing to utilise their resources judiciously.
He said that for a small state like Bayelsa, it was wrong for the outgoing Governor to expend N70billion on an uncompleted airport, when Bayelsa State lacks good roads and Basic Infrastructure.
He regretted that the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor refused to respect the rules of Protocol, when he visited the Amanyanabo of Kalabari without informing the Rivers State Government.
“The person talking about invading Rivers State in January 2020 lacks respect for Protocol. If he was well schooled, would he use that phrase that he wants to invade Rivers State?
“You have no respect. A Traditional Ruler who is a First Class ruler, recognised by Government and you say you are coming to a state as a Governor to see Rivers Ijaw people without observing Basic Protocol. Protocol demands you call your colleague that you are coming to the State. Even then, the Traditional Ruler failed to communicate with the State Government. And I said, if you do this next time, I will withdraw the Recognition. I didn’t say I will dethrone him. I don’t make Chiefs. But I have the power to recognise or take back recognition, If you run foul of the law. I have no regrets about it. Anyone who runs foul of the law, I will withdraw the Recognition and heaven will not fall. I never said that I will dethrone the Amanyanabo of Kalabari. I said that I will withdraw the Recognition by the Rivers State Government if he continues to disrespect the office of the Governor and not play according to the rules. How can Dickson invade Rivers State when he cannot defend Bayelsa State ?”
Governor Wike said there is no oil wars between Rivers State and Imo or Akwa Ibom States as claimed by the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor. He said that he went to Court against Imo State to challenge the attempt to take what belongs to Rivers State. He added that he went to court against Akwa Ibom State because of illegal deductions of funds from Rivers State by the agencies of the Federal Government. He said he still enjoys a good working relationship with the Governors of Imo and Akwa Ibom States.
He said that through the poor leadership of the Bayelsa State Governor, the PDP Governors Forum and the PDP South-South Governors Forum, failed.
Governor Wike berated Dickson for claiming that he was interfering in Bayelsa State Politics. He said that before Dickson became Governor, it was Secondus and King Turner that brought him (Dickson) to receive his (Governor Wike’s ) Support.
He said that the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor was never committed to the PDP all through the elections.
He said: “We are the only State in the South-South that President Muhammadu Buhari never got 25percent. Buhari got 45 percent in Bayelsa State. So who colluded with who? It is now that Dickson has realised that they played him? All those nocturnal promises were not kept. I challenge Dickson to ask his Candidate, Senator Douye Diri the contributions I made. Is it because I didn’t pass it through him?
“Dickson planned for PDP to fail elections and he is now crying Federal Might. He assumed the role of God. Nobody could tell him anything. During his second term election, people resisted the Army. But this time, they left him alone.
“You cannot accord Former President Goodluck Jonathan respect. Simply because Rivers State honoured Jonathan, Dickson became angry.”
He added: “Dickson concluded plans to join the APC. Timipre Silva and Heineken Lokpobiri blocked him. He knew I have strength, he would have consulted me.
“Dickson colluded with these people, so that EFCC will not arrest him when he leaves Government. If you like, carry any level of propaganda, I will protect the interest of Rivers State. ”
Governor Wike said he is a good representative of Rivers State as he uses their mandate effectively to develop the State. He said in four and half years, he has achieved more for Rivers State than Dickson did for Bayelsa State in about 8 years.
“I have represented Rivers people very well. I have made Rivers people proud. Rivers State is multi-ethnic and I have ensured all ethnic groups get the dividends of democracy.
“Part of the Representation of Rivers State is to protect what belongs to Rivers State. Rivers people know that I have represented them very well”, he said.