March 3, 2024

Diri dismisses claims of disloyalty by his deputy

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Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

Gov Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Monday dismissed claims that his deputy was disloyal to him and denied any rift with his predecessor, Sen Seriake Dickson.

Diri reaffirmed that he has implicit confidence in his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, as a worthy partner in the governance of the state.

A group in the Bayelsa chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Bayelsa Progressive Vanguard (BPV) had on Sunday decried the activities of the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo saying they are against the interest of his principal, Gov. Douye Diri.

The group in a statement signed by its Leader, Erepadei Ebiowei, said it had observed with dismay that most of the actions of Ewhrujakpor were unbecoming of a deputy governor.

He said Ewhrujakpor appeared to be running a parallel administration within the government despite the latitude he enjoyed from Diri. 

Ebiowei, in the statement, accused Ewhrujakpor of hobnobbing and meeting with aggrieved members within the ruling party and opposition party candidates of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the alleged newfound party of the immediate past governor of Bayelsa, Sen. Henry Seriake Dickson. 

Insisting that the leadership of the PDP at the state and national levels should probe Ewhrudjakpor, Ebiowei said if not checked, the deputy governor would constitute the greatest threat to the fortunes of the party in the coming elections.

He observed that the deputy governor had remained very loyal to his benefactor and former state Governor, Dickson, and had in several instances demonstrated such a brazen attitude openly to the knowledge of the governor.

For instance, he said the litigation against the PDP candidates in the forthcoming elections by those, who lost the primary elections, was openly bankrolled by the Deputy Governor and Senator Henry Dickson.

He said the lawyers of the litigants stayed in the deputy governor’s guest house and were conveyed to the court with his official vehicles.

“Does it mean the governor is tacitly behind him in this self-destructive mission? The group queried.

Ebiowei stated: “We are aware of the conspiratorial influence of Dickson on Ewhrudjakpor. But we will resist it if it means openly challenging the Governor because Bayelsa is not a conquered territory of the duo.

“We are constrained to issue this statement with a deep sense of responsibility to inform Governor Douye Diri to watch his back as we are no longer comfortable with the activities of his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrujakpor because we have seen that he had adjudged Diri’s tolerance and politics of inclusion to naivety and was exploiting the governor’s benevolence for some selfish interests.

“Ewhrujakpor is exploiting the kindness, tolerance and Diri’s inclusive style of politics by acting out his master’s playbook.  It is, therefore, time for the governor to be vigilant,”.

Ebiowei said, in the history of the state, no governor including Dickson had been as liberal to his deputy as Diri.

“What does Ewhrujakpor want? To rock their boat for Dickson who has boastfully said in the history of Bayelsa State governance he is the only person that has completed two terms and therefore vowed to keep that record? No, we will never fold our hands to allow this to happen to a governor who has opened his heart and mind to every sector of the state.

“It is enough that for eight years Ewhrudjakpo as Commissioner for Works and his master exclusively appropriated the resources of the state and as deputy governor, an appreciative Diri has given him such a latitude to operate against the way they treated the former Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Jonah (retd) yet Ewhrudjakpor appears subversive. Hence the question is, what does he really want?”

Ebiowei added: “We recalled how former Governor Seriake Dickson caged John Jonah, a fine gentleman and officer. Dickson restricted Jonah from having access to resources and practically turned him into a toothless bulldog. 

“Jonah was only restricted to non-executive functions as receiving inconsequential state visitors and attending unimportant gatherings to represent the governor. Perhaps that is what will tame Ewhrudjakpor. But the Diri we know is too decent to do that so the Deputy Governor must push him beyond his elastic limit.

“During the time of former Governor Timipre Sylva, his deputy Peremobowei Ebebi was given a bloody nose and later impeached by the state House of Assembly.  But Diri may be digging his second term grave because the deputy governor’s actions seem to be betraying. The same was applicable to late DSP Alamieseigha and his Deputy Goodluck Jonathan. Unfortunately, Senator Lawrence Ewhrujakpor is not learning from historical antecedents in Bayelsa and Nigeria in general.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that Ewhrujakpor’s choice as Deputy Governor to Diri in itself infuriated Bayelsans’ political sensibility because at the time Sagbama man was just finishing as a governor and that caused the Diri/Lawrence ticket a huge political setback but for divine intervention which threw forth Douye Diri as governor, because the other pair was even worse.

“Such greedy and selfish political calculations of former Governor Dickson acting like a Lion in the manger is still manifesting and it is only expedient that Bayelsans who love the current ambience in government rise up to challenge it”.

However, in a reaction to the allegations, Diri said he has absolute confidence in his deputy.

The governor described the claims as ill-timed, wicked and a mere concoction of mischief makers bent on creating discord between him and the deputy governor.

The governor’s reaction was contained in a statement signed by Dr Kola Oredipe, Director, New Media to Bayelsa Government.

Diri said the motive of the authors of the publication was sinister and that no amount of such concocted misinformation was capable of destabilising his government.

The governor, who urged the people to discountenance the false narrative in the publication, maintained that he enjoys a cordial working relationship with the Deputy Governor who at various times satisfactorily handled several critical governances and political assignments on behalf of his administration.

“That publication was the imagination of the writer. I have a good working relationship with the Deputy Governor and our leader, the former Governor, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson. Our relationship has continued to blossom. It is those who do not wish us well that are sponsoring wicked and misleading publications in the media.

“Our great party, the PDP in Bayelsa State, is not in any way under threat. PDP remains strong and firm in the state and ready for the election.

“The question of anyone working against the party does not exist. We have done everything together from our party primaries to date. What they are doing is to cause division and we will not give them room.” the statement read in part.

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