Saturday, 8 March 2014
Dictatorial Decision In Bayelsa As Gov. Dickson Sacks Elected LGA Chairmen, Swears In Handpicked Surrogates
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has sacked two elected local government chairmen and appointed acting chairmen in their stead. The governor’s action is being seen as another evidence of dictatorial rule by Mr. Dickson, barely one year in office. Both Governor Dickson and several of his closest aides are retired police or military officers, and their military-style mode of governance has troubled many critics in Bayelsa.
Akoso Napoleon and Ebikeme Okoringa were on Friday sworn in as the acting chairmen of Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma local government areas respectively.
Their swearing in was performed by Governor Dickson under the supervision of the Chief Judge, Kate Abiri. The changes came after the surprise impeachment of the former chairmen of the affected local government areas over alleged abuse of office.
The Peoples Democratic Party had issued a statement accusing the fired chairmen of making attempts to undermine the peace of their local councils with the collaboration of some desperate politicians and power seekers. Signed by the state chairman of the PDP, Sam Inokoba, a retired colonel, the statement claimed that “barely two months ago PDP in Bayelsa State waded into the matter concerning the three LGAs. We took the decision because of several disturbing reports on the refusal of the chairmen of the three local government areas to work with their respective councilors.” It continued: “As a responsible party, we at the time decried the action of the chairmen, particularly their refusal to work with the councilors. The party advised the chairmen to work harmoniously with their councilors and not see their reinstatement by the Supreme Court as a call to exact vengeance.
“Sadly, rather than allow reason [to] prevail, the said chairmen have chosen to embrace the path of self-destruction, apparently because they have long ceased to be members and dumped our great party and embraced little known Change Advocacy Party (CAP).
“Having found themselves in councils dominated by PDP-elected councilors, these chairmen have since discovered that they cannot be sole administrators from their shaky CAP platform. The point must be made clear that no sooner had the chairmen been reinstated than they appointed their vice chairmen without recourse to the councilors, who are constitutionally empowered to ratify such appointments.”
In his charge to the new acting chairmen, Mr. Dickson warned them against turning the council to their personal estate, saying, “Don’t operate as sole administrators; rather you should work harmoniously with your legislative arms.” He added: “As an administration hinged on transparency and accountability, you are expected to render monthly account of income and expenditure of the council funds.” The governor stated that, “We are working hard to preserve and protect the democratic system at the third tier of government to ensure smooth transition of local government administration.”
Mr. Dickson started life as a police constable while his deputy is a retired naval officer. The state’s PDP chairman is also a retired army officer.
SaharaReporters could not reach the sacked council chairmen for their reactions at the time of filing this report.