Bayelsa State Governor Henry Seriake Dickson on Tuesday cautioned the Nigerian people to stop labeling President Muhammadu Buhari as “baba go slow”
He said insulting the president undermines the respect due to his office on the global stage.
Governor Dickson, who said this during an interactive session in Lagos, said that it was the same way former president Goodluck Jonathan was branded “clueless” while in office.
He noted that such deliberate disregard for the persons and office of the president does not bode well for the image and perception of the president, the country and her people, especially outside the country.
“When you call your president clueless and baba go slow, are you asking his counterparts abroad to respect or disrespect him?” he asked, adding that this is one attitude of the Nigerian people that is unpatriotic.
Dickson also dismissed insinuations of a rift between him and the former president, saying Jonathan remained highly supportive of his administration and that if there was anyone who believed and understood the imperative of why he should be re elected, it was Jonathan.
Dickson is however yet to make official declaration of his ambition to contest for a second term of office in the governorship election that is coming up in the state in December this year.
But the governor has declared that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) remained the party to beat in Bayelsa, saying the coming “governorship election is not a big deal” compared to the House of Assembly poll that took place in the state last April.
On the relationship between him and the former first lady, the governor insisted that he enjoyed very cordial relationship with the former president and his wife, but enjoined Nigerians to await his memoirs, where he would clearly state details of the battle he fought when he was running for governorship in 2012.
According to him, the battle he faced then was far greater than the one currently facing his yet to be officially announced bid in form of the gale of defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) by former PDP chieftains, including former Managing Director of Niger-Delta Development Commission (NNDC), Mr Timi Alaibe and Senator Lokpobiri, among others.
“What I know about the former president is that the former president remains my elder brother and my leader, and we are working closely. If there is anyone who believes and who is supportive and understands the imperatives, the reasons why I should be re- elected, it is former President Jonathan.
“He believes I have done well and I am doing well for our state and for our people,” Dickson said.
He said the former president was equally aware that he was his number one supporter from the beginning to the end when he was in power, pointing out that all that was being said about the sour relation between him them was speculations and rumours he would not like to react to.
“Former president knows that I was his number one supporter from the beginning to the end. I don’t want to comment on speculations and rumours,” he said.
Speaking on the gale of defections that had hit the state chapter of PDP, Dickson, who described it as blackmail, propaganda, political betrayal and show of ingratitude, said the concern was that those involved were the ones who had benefited immensely form his government and the party.
According to him, a lot of them are currently handling huge contracts, which he said they didn’t beg to get but were given on account of their contributions to the party.
Besides, many of them, including Alaibe, he claimed still had their nominees as current commissioners in his cabinet and in other capacities in the state.
“They didn’t come begging for those jobs, we sought for them. Alaibe has his nominees in government even as we speak, all of them,” he said, adding that such act would, however, not dissuade him from doing good as it only showed the capacity of people for doing evil.
Dickson, who said the reason the defectors were rushing to the APC, contrary to other excuses that they were not mobilised for the contracts they had executed, was to position themselves for federal appointments as Bayelsa had hitherto not been in opposition, insisting that he had been good to all that defected through quality leadership as he did not see them as enemies.
“The reason they are positioning themselves for the federal appointments is because APC is at the centre now. I am not in a position to do it.”
He, however, said in spite of what had taken place, Bayelsans from various constituencies in the state had been endorsing his second term bid, even in places where he had not visited, including Alaibe’s homestead.