Dickson replies Bayelsa Senator, urges him to ‘live above personal pains’ 

Posted by News Express | 24 July 2021 | 446 times

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•Former Bayelsa governor, Senator Seriake Dickson
Dickson replies Bayelsa Senator, urges him to ‘live above personal pains’ 
 
By IGONIKO ODUMA, Yenagoa
 
Senator Seriake Dickson representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly has expressed shock over the wrongful accusation by his Bayelsa East counterpart, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo that he is inciting Niger Delta people over the three per cent allocation to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
 
Dickson in a statement on Saturday said he interacted with National Assembly Press Corps and addressed national issues bordering on the PIB and the Electoral Act amendment bill, and wondered how Degi-Eremienyo would infer in his statement that he (Dickson) attacked the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
 
The statement said he narrated the sequence of events prior to the passage of the PIB and the effort of Senators from Southern Nigeria and the South-South region, in particular, to convince their counterparts from other parts of the country to support a minimum of five per cent, which President Muhammadu Buhari had recommended initially.
 
It stated: “For the records, Senator Dickson spoke on pressing national issues, including the bill to amend the Electoral Act and the PIB when he addressed the National Assembly Press Corp on Thursday. The Senator, who recalled that the former President Umaru Yar’Adua under whose administration the PIB was initiated, recommended 10 per cent for the communities, added that even President Mohammadu Buhari initially recommended five per cent to them.
 
“Senator Dickson used the opportunity of his interaction with the media to explain what senators from the region did in terms of interacting with their colleagues from other parts of the country. He narrated how the Southern Nigeria Senators Forum and the South-South Senators Forum led by Senator Bamidele Opeyemi and George Sekibo, respectively, made efforts to get the buy-in of their colleagues for five per cent which was how the executive proposal for 2.5 per cent was upgraded to five per cent in the joint committees’ report.
 
“These efforts were ably coordinated by the Deputy Senate President, Senator (Ovie) Omo-Agege and supported by all Senators from the region. Senator Dickson thanks all the Senators who supported these efforts and those who voted five per cent at the conference committee session of the National Assembly.
 
“In his characteristic manner of honour and truthfulness, he relayed how most senators even from the North pledged to support the minimum of five per cent as a result of these interactions.
 
“He explained further that on the morning of the vote, the Senate leadership permitted the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and the GMD of the NNPC to highlight the technical aspects of the bill, which in retrospect proved inimical to South South’s quest for five per cent as the presentation by the ministerial team clearly and strongly stated that anything other than 2.5 per cent was going to drive away investors from oil industry.”
 
The statement continued, “Senator Dickson narrated this sequence of events for the public to know that the Southern Nigeria and the South-South Senators had done a lot of work and were confident of the support of their colleagues, who had pledged support for the minimum of five per cent. This was the point Senator Dickson stressed.
 
“Senator Dickson further stated that the other Senators they discussed with were willing to consider five per cent, which was why Senator Sabo Nakuru, lead chairman of the committee supported by his co-chairman Senator Albert Bassey, agreed and presented a report recommending five per cent, an effort we all appreciate.”
 
The former governor of Bayelsa said the dramatic change of opinion however came after the categorical briefing and statements made by the ministerial team.
 
He said there was an intense period of disagreement and consultations on the floor during which the majority of the Senators, who had pledged five per cent, agreed to support three per cent, higher than the 2.5 per cent which was proposed by the executive and defended by the ministerial team led by Sylva.
 
Dickson also said that he declined comments when a reporter asked him why Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa from the South-South, would lead a team to propose 2.5 per cent against his own region and people, and advised the reporter to redirect the question to the minister.
 
The Bayelsa West Senator said his comments were never a personal attack on Sylva or anybody, but a statement of fact unknown to the public which he relayed for better information on, and appreciation of how South-South Senators worked hard to get at least five per cent for the oil-bearing communities.
 
He said it was, therefore, difficult for him to understand the basis upon which Degi-Eremienyo would come up with such a curious publication accusing him of inciting violence in the region.
 
Dickson advised the Bayelsa East Senator not to drag political developments in Bayelsa State into politicking at the federal level, urging him to “live above his personal pains concerning local politics and refrain from spreading hatred, propaganda and falsehood.”
 
He said he was not interested in petty politics and would resist attempts by anyone to intimidate and blackmail him with mischief and propaganda in national politics, stressing that while a governor he congratulated Sylva on his appointment and mobilized support and solidarity for him during his screening by the Senate.
 
According to him, the Niger Delta and oil-producing communities were already “outraged by the reduction of the host community funds and other sections in the PIB now passed and Degi and Sylva should make bold to address this.”
 
“The challenges of managing communities with the way the PIB has been mismanaged are obvious for all to see and have nothing to do with Dickson’s frank, honest advice, views and proposals which are available as he continues to work with other Nigerians in the pursuit of the National good as a patriot,” the statement added. (Saturday Independent)


Source: News Express

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