President Goodluck Jonathan-backed newly elected governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson, stood down from the House of Representatives officially Wednesday, pledging to improve the often frosty relationship between governors and lawmakers, which he claimed to have been a victim.
As a federal lawmaker in the past four years, Mr. Dickson said he suffered “executive high-handedness and unnecessary victimizations,” alluding to his relationship with the former governor, Timipreye Sylva, who was later sidelined in the run-up to the elections, which Mr. Dickson won.
“I’m in a better position than most to talk about this because I was actually a victim for most of my period of executive high-handedness and unnecessary victimizations,” he told his former colleagues members of the House of Representatives after submitting his resignation.
“Our democracy generally is a work in progress, there are areas we need to work hard at and improve upon in terms of how members of the National Assembly relate better with their governors and members of the National Assembly have a stake in their political parties and in other activities,” he said.
Mr. Dickson’s dramatic rise to the number one seat in the president’s home state, after thrashing the incumbent Mr. Sylva underlines the tenuous power struggle in the Niger Delta state that is seen as one of the region’s least developed despite huge oil revenues.
While President Jonathan himself has blamed much of the ills and wastages on the immediate past administration of Mr. Sylva, he has also been targeted by criticisms that trace the state’s troubles to governments which the president took part, and later led.
On the floor of the House, between late 2009 and early 2010, Mr. Dickson, then the chairman of the House Justice committee, rallied a crucial support base of House members, which Mr. Jonathan needed to overcome a critical power struggle during the illness of former President Umaru Yar’adua.
Within the powerful governors’ fold, those who opposed Mr. Jonathan’s emergence as president, initially though, were in the majority, and Mr. Sylva was allegedly prominent among them.
Those events would later play a key role in the president’s apparent decision to block Mr. Sylva’s re-election in favour of the former House of Reps member.
On a personal note, Mr. Dickson said he was victimized by his state executive a confrontation that are all too common between states executives and their lawmakers.
Now in charge, he said he would turn that around.
“I suffered that and therefore when similar situation arise, it will be my duty to broker some kind of understanding between parliamentarians and their governors. Even governors, I think they are getting democratic understanding, all of us are learning and I think we are better students today,” he said.
He said he has declared an emergency in the state’s education sector already and would pursue developmental goals and a reduction in violence.