A bid to render the All Progressives Congress (APC) politically handicapped ahead of the governorship election is the reason behind the verbal attacks declared by the governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson against international oil companies (IOCs) working in the state, APC has alleged.
The APC, which has been at loggerheads with the Dickson led restoration government, said the governor was working tooth and nail to ensure that all oil and gas surveillance contracts being handled by APC members in the state were revoked to make the party financially crippled before the forthcoming gubernatorial polls.
The opposition party through its state publicity secretary, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo said Dickson had launched a dishonest campaign on the oil companies with APC as his target.
The state governor, it could be recalled, had accused the IOCs of causing environmental degradation and sponsoring the APC surveillance contractors to perpetrate insecurity in the state especially during the 2019 general elections.
APC dismissed the allegation as a move meant to pressure the oil companies into disengaging its members engaged as pipeline contractors.
The party also accused the governor of trying to impoverish the people and destabilise the party, warning the oil companies against descending into the political arena in the state by succumbing to the pressure from Dickson to sack the pipeline surveillance contractors.
"The highpoint of this political project was the inauguration in late March of what Dickson called “Rise for Bayelsa Campaign.
"At the launch of the new campaign, he struggled to make all the right noises in line with the historical demands of the peoples of the Niger Delta for environmental justice and human security. His gloves, however, fell off when he accused the IOCs of environmental terrorism.
"Governor Dickson claimed oil companies under the guise of crude oil pipeline surveillance contracts funded maiming, killings, and terror attacks on communities in Southern Ijaw and Nembe during the recent 2019 general elections. To his mind, the oil pipeline surveillance contracts awarded by the oil firms were key to the security threat in Bayelsa State.
"He specifically accused two chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who are oil pipeline surveillance contractors, of security breaches in the state.
"We neither hold brief for the international oil corporations nor do we speak in the name of the surveillance contactors. As a party, we have a responsibility to protect our members from political persecution.
"In point of fact, APC members are not the only people working as oil pipelines surveillance contractors in the state. Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are also doing the same job across the state.
For example, Gabriel Jonah, younger brother to the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, has been an oil pipeline surveillance contractor for years. Yet, Dickson has made it his duty to focus only on APC members.
"He is using his offices to exert undue pressure on the oil companies to take the surveillance jobs away from our members. Clearly, this is a political project, and it will not stand", the party stated.