Governor Seriake Dickson on Friday ordered the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, to leave the state and cease campaigning for President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election, in what appears a battle between Mr. Dickson and loyalists of the president’s wife who are in charge of the organization in Bayelsa State.
The decision appears a fallout of deteriorating relations between the governor and Mrs. Jonathan.
Mrs. Jonathan had earlier resigned from her position as permanent secretary in the Bayelsa State civil service.
Last week, Governor Dickson fired three loyalists of the first lady from his cabinet, accusing them of disloyalty.
The governor however denies any rift between him and the First Lady.
In a press statement Friday signed by the governor’s spokesperson, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Mr. Dickson directed the leadership of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, to immediately leave Bayelsa State.
The group had for several months staged massive rallies in support of Mr. Jonathan long before the formal kick-off of electioneering in the country. At the time, the group claimed it was campaigning to convince Mr. Jonathan to seek re-election.
But in a fresh twist in relations between the governor and the wife of the president, whose loyalists are said to be in control of TAN in the state, Mr. Dickson accused the group of promoting subversive activities and inciting crisis and divisions within the PDP in the State.
Mr. Dickson, who gave the warning at a meeting with the Peoples Democratic Party’s flag bearers for February general elections at the party’s secretariat in Yenagoa, said he is responsible for directing campaigns for Mr. Jonathan in the state.
He described the PDP in the state as the only recognized political platform and structure saddled with the responsibility of leading the president’s campaign in the state with him as party leader.
Mr. Dickson said the activities of TAN have outlived their usefulness.
The governor also alleged that TAN and some members of its top hierarchy have become tools of subversion, creating needless rancour, acrimony and divisions, stressing that the government and the PDP in the State will no longer tolerate their actions.
He noted that the activities of TAN and the other groups, if not checked, could be counterproductive, especially with the presidential and other elections, only a few weeks away.
He said that he has the mandate of Bayelsa people to protect the stability, peace and security of the State.
The governor, who announced the planned visit of Mr. Jonathan to the state, said he would use the opportunity on February 5 to express appreciation to Nigerians for their unwavering support and solidarity to the Jonathan administration.
He also noted that the state is set and that the people are now fully mobilized to accord the President a rousing reception for the mega rally that would be organized in his honour.
The governor emphasized that Bayelsa State is a stronghold of the PDP and a strong support base for President Jonathan, whom he noted, does not need to campaign in his home state.
An unnamed official of TAN, who was contacted for comments, described the allegations as “wild and unfounded” adding that TAN had noted three unprovoked attacks on the organizations.
He said that the organization will deliberate and issue a statement in response to the comments by the governor.
“It is very primitive of someone who claims to be working for the President to try to attack an organization build to promote the candidacy of the same President, this development has exposed the workings of his mind,” the TAN official said.