Buhari, Dickson Meet Over Insecurity in Niger Delta, Governor Opposes Use of Force to Resolve Crisis
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, met with the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, over mounting concerns about destruction of oil facilities by militants around the Niger Delta.
Dickson, who spoke with State House Correspondents after meeting Buhari said he came to discuss security issues in the Niger Delta with the president.
The governor said that he was opposed to the use of force in the Niger Delta.
According to him, "I came in this afternoon to have discussions with Mr. President. That is because my posiieve that is the right position every political leader should take which is that after general elections political leaders and citizens must unite and address common issues and find solutions to the problems of our country.
"All over the world, once nations have crisis, once nations come under attack, leaders unite across political lines and come together.
"I came in to have discussion with Mr. President and I thank him for that opportunity and we cross fertilized ideas around issues of security. Of course as you know Bayelsa is central to the maintenance of law and order and stability in our country particularly in the Niger Delta region.
"Bayelsa is the epic center of the issues that has to do with the Niger Delta. We had fruitful discussions on the need for political leaders, governmental and political leaders to work together to support the work of the security agencies and foster better understanding of even people who have grievances and that we are committed to do together.
When asked for his advice on the threat by the military to use force if dialogue failed in tackling the Niger Delta militancy, he replied, "I have said that the issues in the Niger Delta, the terrain, the historic nature of the issues and challenges are such that military solution may not be the way forward.
"For us who are products of political system who are at this level, we have a duty to mobilise communal and local leadership, we have a duty to support the work of intelligence and security agencies are doing, we have a duty to ensure that issues are better appreciated and that we fill the communication gap. And where there are issues those issues need be addressed and is also our duty to network like I'm doing to ensure that problems that are identified as the route cause of some of these challenges are looked into.
"The military solution as I have always maintained is not the right option, we are hopeful that the ongoing discussions will yield the desired result. I have always been in support of negotiations, of dialogue as the sustainable way forward. Dialogue will bring out the issues and then we will all unite around these common issues to move our country forward," he said.
Continuing, he said his visit to the Presidential Villa also gave him the "opportunity to appreciate Mr. President for his non-interference in the political processes that played out in Bayelsa in the last general elections.
"Yesterday (on Tuesday) the Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja delivered judgement upholding my election and affirming my emergence as a true product of the democratic exercise of rights of our people in the December 5th and January 9th.
"Again, I want to use this opportunity to appreciate Mr. President for his non-interference contrary to the propaganda and the name dropping that some politicians back home and even in Abuja embarked upon. There is no name they didn't call, there is no claim that they didn't make but I'm telling Nigerians, I'm telling Bayelsans to disregard all that propaganda, the President never had anything to do by way of negatively influencing the last general elections in Bayelsa and also the outcome of the tribunal proceedings.
"That is important because if our nation must move forward, if our democracy must be strengthened, if our nation must move forward, if our democracy must be strengthened, if our nation must be stable, then institutions must be allowed to grow.
"I want to use this opportunity to call on my opponent, brother and friend and fellow citizen of Bayelsa and all others to join hands with us so that we can render service to our people and a stronger more stable and prosperous Bayelsa," he said.
On the crisis rocking the PDP, Dickson said the nation needed a political party in opposition that is strong and well organised, adding that the party was working very hard to ensure that some of the issues and disputes in the party were resolved.
He said that the party's convention would produce a virile, credible opposition party that would work for our democracy and the Nigerian nation.
"We need opposition that plays by the rule, that knows that there comes a time when people across divides must unite for the sake of our country. You expect to see those types of issues and disputes in any political party and we are working hard to address them," he added.