Whatever his critics may say, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan is still credited with political influence in some ambitious quarters despite his failed re-election dream. Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson, who is eyeing a second term, demonstrated Jonathan’s importance in the eyes of those determined to remain in power in the former president’s state.
It is interesting that Dickson considered it strategic to publicly signal the start of his re-election campaign by unveiling a statue of Jonathan. A picture of the statue was published on September 6. There was Jonathan frozen in his signature “resource-control” fashion, wearing beads and a plastic smile, waving his right hand, and holding an open umbrella painted in his party’s colours over his head.
Following the celebration of the standing sculpture, Jonathan, who was not at the event, played host to Dickson at his country home, Otuoke, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The visit resulted in Jonathan’s formal endorsement of Dickson for the position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard-bearer in the December 5 governorship poll in the state.
Jonathan said on the occasion: ”I am not expecting the governor to score 100 per cent There are three key parameters I will like to score Governor Dickson, which are payment of salaries, physical infrastructure and low indebtedness of the state in terms of bank loans and in the capital markets. If you compare what has happened in other parts of the country, you will praise the governor.”
Jonathan’s encouraging words for Dickson’s campaign must be discouraging to the people, considering, among other negatives, news of water scarcity in Otuoke, a community whose claim to fame is that a former president hails from there. Against the background of Jonathan’s positive rating of the Dickson administration based on alleged infrastructural development, it is relevant to draw attention to a recent report on the water problem in the ex-president’s hometown.
A member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in the area, Emmanuel Agede, was quoted as saying: “You will not believe it that here in Otuoke, we use water from an unused soak-away pit dug near our lodge, for washing clothes and bathing. For cooking and drinking, we buy sachet water; life is very difficult here; we spend the bulk of our monthly allowances on water for survival.”
This is a big blemish on both Jonathan and Dickson. No water can wash them clean on this point.