Governor Seriake Dickson was sworn-in for a second term Sunday, with him using the occasion to lash out at the ruling All Progressives Congress for using its vantage position as a licence to kill during the Bayelsa election.
The swearing-in, which took place on Sunday in Sampson Siasia Sports Complex, Yenagoa, had in attendance other Peoples Democratic Party governors such as Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti.
The embattled acting National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, and the Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio also attended the event.
Mr. Dickson, in his inaugural address, blamed the APC for the violence and the killings that took place during the last governorship election in the state.
“Our experience in Bayelsa State in the recent past has shown a tendency to misconstrue membership of the political party at the centre as cover and licence to kill, maim and destroy while security officials look on helplessly,” Mr. Dickson said of the governorship election in which he defeated the APC candidate, Timipre Sylva.
Mr. Dickson on several occasions in the past had accused the APC of carrying out violence and killings during the election.
In his speech at the swearing-in, the governor said, “We totally condemn the violence visited on our people under the guise of politics and elections.
“Today, we acknowledge the sacrifice of our brothers and sisters who were victims of this mindless bloodletting.
“We honour the memory of those who paid the supreme price and empathize with those who still bear the physical and psychological scars.
“But let no one be in doubt of government’s resolve to use all available legal and legitimate means to bring the perpetrators to book.”
Mr. Dickson added, “Nobody, regardless of political persuasion should be allowed to subvert national institutions or undermine the security and stability of the state or the nation.”
The governor, who attributed his success in the election to the courage and resilience shown by the Bayelsa people, said Nigeria shouldn’t be allowed to slide into anarchy because of partisanship.
“The consequences will be too grave,” he said.
Mr. Dickson said his victory at the polls, apart from spurring a rebirth within his party, the PDP, has helped to sustain the plurality in Nigeria’s democracy and removed fears that Nigeria could become a one party state.
The governor said, “Let a thousand flowers bloom in our garden of democracy!”
Mr. Dickson however said the government and the people of Bayelsa state were committed to the Nigerian project, notwithstanding what occurred during the 2015 elections.
He said the state government would continue to work with the federal government and the security agencies to secure Nigeria.
Mr. Dickson in the spirit of reconciliation asked the opposition in Bayelsa state to join him in moving the state forward.
“To the opposition, let me say I respect your right to hold different views,” the governor said.
“Your participation in the process made this contest more vibrant and our victory more worthwhile and legitimate.
“Yesterday we were opponents; today, we must be partners for the security, development and prosperity of Bayelsa State.
“I now invite you all to join me in this enterprise of consolidating the gains of restoration. Let us work together to move our state forward.”