Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, and his would-be successor, David Lyon, are heading for a showdown over briefing notes expected to be handed over to the incoming government. Dickson had promised to present a ‘methodical’ and ‘comprehensive’ document to whoever takes over from him on February 14.
He said: “I will do handover notes, sector by sector. Financial reports will be presented. Bayelsa has no money for anybody to steal and for all those that their eyes are shining outside and I know all of them. They think that they will come and manipulate, but they will be shocked. The state has no money for anybody to ‘chop’ and become a billionaire.
“The handing over will be methodical. Bayelsa people are entitled to know the details of the handing over. The shoes I am leaving are very big shoes. They don’t know until someone else sits there. So, for the first time we will have a very proper handing over.” But Lyon’s 59-member transition team has alleged that the 41-man Bayelsa government transition committee chaired by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara, are insisting that there’s “no financial documents to hand over.”
The matter led to a heated exchange of words between loyalists of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which won the November 16 governorship election and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the former allegedly misconstrued the Bayelsa government’s response to an earlier one in which Lyon requested details of the transition process.
A letter signed by Lyon and sent to the Dickson-led administration sighted by THISDAY said: “This is to formally bring to the notice of your esteemed office that I, in my capacity as governor-elect of Bayelsa State, have constituted a 59-member transition committee for the purpose of ensuring a smooth and hitch-free transition and handover. The committee is headed by Rt. Hon. Winipre Seibarugu and OJ Oworibo as secretary.”
The government in a letter by the SSG responded: “We have received and evaluated your letters dated December 6 and 16, 2019, respectively on the above subject matter. Please rest assured that Bayelsa State government transition committee is working assiduously with all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) across the state to ensure a comprehensive documentation of the legacies, assets and liabilities, amongst others of the restoration government over the last eight years.
“In the light of the above, it is our considered opinion that it will be more productive to have a meeting with your committee when the documentation is completed, reviewed and approved by the government for onward transmission to your committee. It is our honest view that this will be in January 2020.” The exchanged of memos raised a storm in the state as APC loyalists accused the current administration of allegedly saying that there was nothing in the state’s finances to hand over.
In a reaction to the tension raised by the face-off, Special Adviser to Governor Dickson on Public Affairs, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said it was absurd and ignorant for anybody to demand to be handed over to even when an incumbent government is still in place. “It is only in Bayelsa that ill-informed persons demand handover documents from a government that is yet to complete its tenure. Our state is gradually turning into the headquarters of hate and hatred,” he said.