A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, has said he would lead the battle to stop the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, from meddling in the politics of Bayelsa State.
Mr. Etete, who was allegedly involved in the million dollars shady Malabu Oil Deal scandal, stated this at an event to mark his 70th birthday at the weekend in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
Mr. Etete said rather than being preoccupied with her husband’s re-election matters, Mrs. Jonathan was busy planning to abort the re-election of the state governor, Seriake Dickson, in the 2016 governorship election.
The First Lady, an indigene Rivers State, has allegedly been strategising to stop Mr. Dickson’s re-election. She is reportedly rooting for the Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Waripamowei Dudafa, as the governor’s replacement.
However, in what appears a move to stave off Mrs. Jonathan’s offensive, the governor recently sacked two of her allies from his government. Those sacked were, Marie Ebikake, former commissioner for local government and Remi Kuku, special adviser on Federal Government projects.
Mr. Dickson also banned the activities of a pro-Jonathan group, Transformation Association of Nigeria, TAN, accusing its members, including a former deputy governor of Bayelsa State, Werinipre Seibarugu and Remi Kuku, of “promoting politics of subversion and needless division” in the state.
Some youth groups had also warned Mrs. Jonathan, who had last October resigned as permanent secretary in the Bayelsa State Civil Service, not to accompany her husband to the state for the presidential campaign rally on February 5.
“I am using this opportunity to warn the First Lady not to make the mistake of trying to dislodge Governor Dickson to impose a thief and a criminal as Governor of Bayelsa State,” Mr. Etete said at the event also attended by Mr. Dickson.
“It is a known fact that Dickson has performed beyond the expectation of most Bayelsans, and that out of nothing but sheer jealousy the First Lady and her cheerleaders want him out to pave way for their selfish interests.”
The former minister in the administration of the late Sani Abacha, said Mrs. Jonathan was merely being jealous of Mr. Dickson’s performance as governor since 2012.
Stating that despite staying away from the state in the last 15 years, Mr. Etete said he had full grasp of the politics of the state. He insisted that at no time did it become a norm that the First Lady should dictate who governs the oil-rich Bayelsa State.
He lambasted Mrs. Jonathan for failing to appreciate Mr. Dickson’s efforts to assist her husband (Mr. Jonathan) succeed as president.
He said, “We have Governor Dickson working his heart out to galvanize support for President Jonathan’s second term in office. On the other hand, the First Lady is aligning with all the opposition elements in the state to create crisis for the young governor.
“Her aim is to return to power the same thieves and criminals who failed the state in the past, and turn back the hands of the clock for this great state,” Mr. Etete said, adding “we won’t allow such to happen”.
Also speaking at the event, a former Minister of Information, Edwin Clark, a close-ally of President Goodluck Jonathan, said “By God’s grace, I’ll celebrate my 90th birthday here in Bayelsa in 2017, during Dickson’s second term in office”.
Mr. Dickson, who expressed gratitude to Ijaw leaders for their support since he assumed office, said everyone who truly loved Nigeria should support the president’s re-election bid.
Apparently referring to Mrs. Jonathan activities in Bayelsa State, the governor said it was an irony that some people would claim to be rooting for the president’s re-election bid and at the same time causing confusion in his (president) home state.
“You can’t claim to be for Mr. President and yet be sabotaging his home state,” he said.