June 13, 2021

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After Kalu’s Conviction, Dickson Panics

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The recent conviction of a former governor of Abia State and current Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Orji Kalu by a federal high court sitting in Abuja is said to have become a source of nightmare to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.
The fear of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), we learnt, has become the beginning of wisdom, as it was gathered that the anti-graft agency is already laying ambush to swoop on the restoration government any moment from February 14.
We gathered that the governor of the oil rich state has started running from pillar to post, especially in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, lobbying the who-is-who in Nigeria, particularly, the top echelons of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are reportedly getting sensitive financial documents prepared to nail the governor upon his exit from government house.
Following the victory of Chief David Lyon of the APC at the November 16 governorship election in the state, it has become done on the Toru-Orua born politician that he is going to hand over power to the opposition party come February 14, 2020, a situation that is strange to Bayelsa political history.
Already, the incoming government of the APC has not reneged on its vow to make the Dickson led PDP government account for every kobo for the past eight years.
During the governorship electioneering campaigns, a former governor of the state and now Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva had accused Dickson of squandering over N1.6 trillion allegedly received so far as federal allocation in the course of his reign in Creek Haven.
Sylva particularly took a swipe at the governor, urging him to tell Bayelsans how he allegedly spent N90 billion on the on-going construction of the Bayelsa State International Cargo Airport.
During a mega rally held at the Oxbow Lake pavilion in Yenagoa to cap the gubernatorial campaigns, Sylva, who is the leader of the APC in the state, accused Dickson of using the construction of the airport as a conduit pipe to drain the state’s treasury into his private pocket.
To prove the authenticity of his claims, the former governor publicly reeled out figures of the monies allegedly borrowed by the outgoing restoration government and names of the financial institutions where the funds were variously collected in the name of the airport.
Sylva said “on the airport, Dickson is owing Sterling Bank N40 billion, and Eco Bank, N15 billion, UBA, N1.2 billion, FCMB, N1.9 billion. He is owing a total of N58 billion because interest on loan is N16.1 billion, while other charges is N8.3 billion.”
He challenged the outgoing governor to come out openly to fault the financial figures he (Sylva) had quoted to have been borrowed in respect of the construction of the airport.
Speaking further, Sylva said “the loans were not taken in the name of Bayelsa State government, they were taken in the name of Bayelsa Airlines Limited, a company that was registered in June, 2012 when they came in.
“I can show you the certified true copies of the registration of the company and all the directors. I don’t know if you have heard of the Bayelsa Airlines Limited before. We are not just accusing him, we have facts and figures. Let him come with facts and figures.
“We know how to get the information from the banks. I am telling you without fear or favour, this is how much he has exposed Bayelsa. Bayelsa is owing over one hundred and fifty-something billion as l am talking to you.”
At the same occasion of the APC mega rally in Yenagoa, the national chairman of the APC, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole had mocked Dickson, stating that the governor was already shivering because he knows that “the Lion is coming.”
Oshiomhole had said “we need to be fair to governor Dickson. Why won’t he be panicked when he knows that the Lion is coming to dust all his eight years papers and documents?”
It could be recalled that there had been no love lost between Dickson and his predecessor, Sylva, with a vow by the latter to ensure that Dickson is made to face thorough probe of his eight years stewardship as soon as he leaves office just as he (Sylva) was subjected to EFCC arrest and trial by the restoration government.
We learnt that following the recent conviction of Senator Kalu, Dickson temporarily relocated to Abuja in search of safe landing when he finally bows out of office.
Part of the move, according to reports, is to talk to some powerful authorities and possibly press some buttons to avert arrest.

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC in the state, who pleaded anonymity, said “no amount of games in Abuja will save Dickson from being arrested because he is not above the law.
“He did it to his predecessor, he too must face the law. If the law sets him free at last, good luck to him. After all, he has been boasting and insulting everybody, including our party and its leaders.”
Also, the state publicity secretary of the APC, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo has faulted governor Dickson for his continuous verbal attacks on the leaderships of the APC both in the state and at the national levels.
Buokoribo said rather than seeking redress in court on the failure of the PDP at the November 16 governorship election, Dickson was busy inundating the state and country at large with wild allegations and inciting comments.
“The governor has screamed blue murder at all relevant institutions of the state from the electoral body to security agencies and the All Progressives Congress,” he added.

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