Adding to the growing unrest surrounding the buildup to the 2015 presidential race and the battle within the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] along with the persistent insecurity in Northern Nigeria ? is the unfolding dilemma in the home state of the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan ? which threatens to create a new troubling divide between the governor of Bayelsa State and the President.
Information available to 247ureports.com obtained through competent sources in Yenagoa indicate that the previously healthy relationship existing between the political godfather and the godson may have soured owing to ?veiled? misunderstanding over what insiders within the Dickson administration refer to as improper financial ?returns? from the godson to the godfather ? along with growing mutual distrust. A source close to the activities in Yenagoa disclosed that ?Jonathan believes Dickson is not living up expectations?.
Chief among the reasons causing the rift between the two parties concerns the money guzzling 5 star hotel project flagged off by the then governor of Bayelsa State ? Dr. Goodluck Ebelemi Jonathan. The project was conceived by the Alamesia administration but construction work begun after Goodluck Jonathan took over the reign as the governor of the State.
As a caveat, the 5star hotel project which the Alamesia administration envisioned as a major part of the boast to the tourism potential for the state was unable to see completion as a result of the untimely impeachment that unseated him. But with the coming of Jonathan, the project saw groundbreaking. Funds were released to enable for accelerated completed of the project.
But Jonathan?s selection by the then President Obasanjo as a vice presidential candidate under the PDP changed all plans for the hotel project. As gathered, the hotel project turned to a ?white elephant? project ? to enable fund the presidential campaign of 2007 for the Yar?Adua/Jonathan ticket. Monies earmarked for the hotel project was ?boldly? diverted to the PDP presidential campaign purse. Also, the total valued of the project was upgraded to allow for more funds to be earmarked for the project ? and for diversion to the presidential campaign. The white elephant project is estimated to guzzle overN5billion and counting.
With Jonathan?s accession to the seat of vice president ? the seat of governorship was mounted by Timipre Sylva. The hotel project was reviewed ? and found to have gulped over 450% of the total contract value ? while the work remained below 40% completion. Timipre Sylva, as gathered, managed to move the hotel project along ? but not to completion.
The then vice President was said to be peeved by the lackadaisical manner the Sylva administration was moving to complete the project. According to a source in Yenagoa, Jonathan was concerned about covering the amount of money laundered under the guise of erecting a 5star hotel. ?His hope was that if the 5star hotel is completed that nobody will question the amount wasted in building the hotel. But if the hotel remains uncompleted it will raise questions as to why such amount was expended on the project without completing it?, said the source who point to the 5star hotel as one of the main reasons Jonathan insisted ?Sylva must go?.
With the arrival of his godson, Hon. Dickson as the new governor of Bayelsa State, President Jonathan expected for the 5star hotel to be completed. But Dickson was not as willing and/or eager to engage the hotel project as Jonathan would want him to be. Instead, the Dickson administration abandoned the 5star hotel project ? and conceived a new plan to erect another 5star hotel [200bed] located less than 1km away from the Jonathan 5star hotel [Tower Hotel]. Governor Dickson earmarked N3.5billion for the new 5star hotel to be located near the Oxbow Lake ? of which ? a contractor has been hired by name Anyim Osigwe group. They will work with a foreign partner. The spokesman to the contractor, Chris Abigwe confirmed the amount earmarked for the project. He stated all the materials to be used for the hotel will be imported expect the sand, stone and cement.
In addition to the abandonment of Jonathan?s white elephant 5star hotel [Tower Hotel] ? and erection of a new 5star hotel, the Dickson administration turned to the new government house for renovations to include 19 presidential suites into the newly built government house. Governor Dickson earmarked N2.6billion for renovation.
Governor Dickson actions is reported to not seat well with the President, and his wife, Patience Jonathan ? particularly since Governor Dickson has opted to turn his back ?financially? to the stakeholders who assisted in the ousting of Timipre Sylva ? and who helped bring him [Dickson] to power. The 1st lady of the nation is said to be particularly peeved over Dickson?s reluctance to settle the stakeholders that help pave the way for him.
A source conversant with the happenings at the presidency spoke to 247ureports.com concerning efforts made by friends of Dickson to relay the President?s uneasiness with him [Dickson]. But it was gathered that Dickson has resolved to his fate ? that he has ?also? lost faith in the president ? as a reliable godfather. The source states that Dickson has since determined to shield himself against the president wrath ? to avoid what the source termed the ?Sylva Treatment?.
According to cursory investigation collaborated with sources in Yenagoa, the growing distrust appears a well-guarded secret which has in recent months fermented into a lack of confidence, distrust and suspicion of President Jonathan by Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson.
According to the source who is an elected official from Bayelsa, ?Gov. Dickson has of recent become very suspicious that President Jonathan may likely give him the Sylva Treatment by not allowing him to return for a second term?.
It is recalled Gov. Dickson election into governor?s office was held in February 2012 and as such is expected to vacate office in January 2016.
But Gov. Dickson is uncomfortable with the January 2016 date. This is because he is of the suspicion that if he does not contest elections at same time with President Jonathan in 2015, he will receive the same treatment that former Gov. Timipre Sylva received from President Jonathan.
To this effect, in a bid to avert the Sylva treatment, Gov. Henry Seriake Dickson devised a plan. The plan, according to our source, is to ?hire? a judge to give him a suitable judgment ? to shift the gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa from 2016 to 2015 ? same time with President Jonathan?s re-election campaign. Already, Dickson has set aside the sum of N3 billion for this project.
Our source indicates that President Jonathan and his wife have a prefer choice of who to hoist as governor of Bayelsa ? the Special Asviser on Domestic Affairs to the President, Hon. Waripamowei Dudafa.
In talking to the Bayelsa state government, they denied the allegation. Speaking through the Senior Special Assistant on Research and Social Media, the Bayelsa State governor stated that ?The story is not true. The Governor is concentrating on roads now. Several meetings have been held concerning the International Conference Centre and 4-star hotel. In fact, the restoration administration is anchored on investment promotion and of course, that includes tourism. To underscore this, an Institute of Tourism and Hospitality management is being put in place. The institutions that will promote tourism are being established. It is untrue that Governor Dickson has abandoned the Tower Hotel?.
Our correspondent reached out to spokesman to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati but he did not respond.