Chief Koku Gariga is the Executive Chairman of Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State who was recently announced by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Dickson – of having been sacked from the Chairmanship of Sagbama LGA. The matter remains pending in court. In this interview with 247ureports.com reporter in Yenogua, Bayelsa, Chief Gargia shared his take on the ongoing tussle between him and the State Governor.
May we meet you Sir?
I am Chief Koku Gariga the Executive Chairman of Sagbama Local
Government Area of Bayelsa State.
What can you say about the recent development at Sagbama Council Sir?
This is the time for me to tell the world what the present Government
led by Henry Seriake Dickson is doing about the law of Federal
Republic Nigeria is very bad. The issue is that we’ve got our mandate
from Appeal Court to Supreme Court where justice was done in our
favour by declaring that we are the rightful people to be in the saddle as chairmen in the three Local Government Areas namely Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opukuma and Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The then government of Bayelsa State under the auspices of Governor
Timipre Sylva took us to Appeal Court and from Appeal Court, the case
was taking to the Supreme Court where the Governor and his cohorts
argued that I, Chief Koku Gariga, the Chairman of Sagbama Local
Government Area and two other chairmen be pulled out of office so that
he could bring to existence his negative manipulative innuendos on the
finances of the above named council’s meant for development.
Having won the mandate at the Supreme Court, the court gave an order
not just an ordinary order but an order which was weighty but we were
been denied of our mandate by the then and present government. What
Governor Dickson did was to bring a document from government house in
order to stop us from being sworn-in into office by the Chief Judge of
the state. On the contrary, the Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, had
some sympathy on us because we were about to be denied of the Justice
and decided to sworn-us into office in compliance to the court
injunction right in her chambers and since we got into office the
governor refused to give us our way.
We were there and were handicap, the government money that was in the
council which we were supposed to be use to run the affairs in the
council, the councilors loyal to the governor convened a very dark and
illegal meeting on the 14th of December, 2012 prior to the actual
date, supposedly to be held on the 18th to 20th of December 2012. They
did that because they learnt we were coming to take charge of what the
law has declared. Our salaries were seized. What we saw was just
allowance due us for that month. The government was forcing us to pay
salary to those whom the courts (Appeal and Supreme) have declared
illegal. How do you expect me to pay illegal salary to illegal people?
Who will account for such money if the Economic and Financial Crime
Commission (EFCC) decides to call on us, what answer we will give if
call upon? Isn’t the governor who is mounting undue pressure on us to
be involved in such illegalities?
I openly told the governor that if his government engaged in reckless
and illegal financial spending at the state level, my government will
never be involved in such act at the council level.
I knew too well that my victory and my coming back to chair the
council was as a result of God hearing the prayers of Sagbama people
contrary to the wishes of the people of Sagbama and God who in his
mercies brought me back as the executive chairman of the council. It
is normal that the chairmen of all three Local Government Areas must
be or are engrafted into the agenda of any existing government but
should not or never be in a case where the wishes of the people will
not be neglected or jeopardized and things been fine tuned to the
governors personal aggrandizement.
Let everyone know today that Governor Dickson’s Government is a
fraudulent government. A government that do not respect the Rule of
Law. Dickson and his accomplices are a perfect epitome of Fraud, quote
me anywhere as I speak to you, I have enough documents to prove what
am saying. We were not allowed even to pay salaries to the Sagbama
Local Government council workers.
When I came into power on December 2012, I was only given 91 million
naira which I used in paying salaries and allowances and since then
the council has being in a standstill. I had to run the council with
part of my money and allowances just to make sure the council’s
business continues. No council can be run without physical cash. If
Dickson is running Bayelsa State without money (Allocation), I don’t
think he can be there as a Governor, but he (Dickson) is depriving me
not to run the council because I am not his supporter. Because I did
not work for his campaign geared towards his governorship dream in the
state. He wants me to stall everything about Sagbama Local Government
Area. It wasn’t Dickson that brought me to power as Chairman but only
God. I want to assure the masses who brought me to power that I, Chief
Koku Gariga will continue to mount pressure on Governor Dickson until
he changes his bad attitude, and if he does not we will pull him out
of office by the grace of God. I want to re-assure the masses that we
will pull him (Dickson) out of office so that those who have the
interest of Bayelsa at heart who are ready to develop Bayelsa for the
benefit of all will man the office of the governor. Not for a lawyer
who does not know the laws, does not know his left and right, who does
not have regards for the people he is governing.
I blamed the lack of respect for law and order by Governor Dickson who
claimed to be a graduate that attended evening/midnight school as
Lawyer. Quote me (Chief Koku Gariga); part-time/midnight lawyer is not
a sound lawyer, because at night there is blackout. He has not won any
case at Magistrate Court, High Court, Appeal Court and even Supreme
Court. God was not a fool to separate the light and called it day from
the darkness and called it night. Dickson chose the dark to tell the
masses how dark and devilish he is.
Let me tell you that, Dickson didn’t go to school, even when he says
he did or I did not. That is why if Dickson had gone to school well or
had been a good bench warmer at school would have known the Law of the
land or better still would have obeyed the law to the letters.
Sir, part of the allegation leveled against you by Governor Dickson
was that you run the council like a sole administrator, how do you
react to this?
Without being told, you would immediately know that the government is
blackmailing me. The government is lying blatantly, immediately I came
into power, the first thing I did was to swear-in my Vice Chairman, I
have documents to prove the date and the time that Chief Judge gave
the approval for the swearing-in of the Vice Chairman. During the
swearing in ceremony of my Vice Chairman, whose name is Perekosufa
Kings who hail from Angiama community. After my vice chairman
swearing-in ceremony the next thing I saw was the governor’s Younger
brother, Mr. Ebipadei Samuel whom the governor sent to come and
disturb me, saying I was supposed to ask the party whom to select as
the Vice Chairman. I told them no. I now cited the case where Dickson
(Governor) rejected the nomination of Hon. Waripamowei Dudafa who is
presently the Special Adviser to the President on Domestic and Social
Event by the First Lady of Federal Republic of Nigeria to be his
Deputy Governor which he refused vehemently, so he can’t impose a Vice
Chairman on me as it was not his right to do so but the right was mine
to select my Vice Chairman and not the governor to impose any
candidate of his choice. Talking about my Vice Chairman, Perekosufa
Kings, he started the race with me, it will be wrong if sentiments
were followed. At same time Perekosufa had been sworn in as the vice
chairman of the council and you expect me to remove him and bring in
whosoever Dickson deem fit. This is inhuman. Later some faction of the
councilors called me to bring in a new vice and I told them no, it was
Many of the councilors were even present during my Vice Chairman’s
swearing-in. Almost two-third of the councilors were in attendance on
that occasion. I also have that video clip of the swearing in as
evidence. The governor started engineering all these people to ferment
trouble in the council because of the singular reason that I did not
supported him in his governorship elections, when he asked me to do
so. He’s playing around himself. I am his senior in age, politics and
other wise and so sees what he does not and can’t see even when he
climbs the tallest tree despite he’s the governor today.
When you hunt somebody today, some other persons will hunt you as well
tomorrow. Today Governor Dickson can’t even sleep. He’s always at
Abuja begging here and there to be in office. What Dickson did was to
call all the councilors to government house, he called the
commissioner of police telling us the chairmen in question will only
be in office for three months and we told him no, it is meant for
three years but not three months and the governor said he is the
Governor and whatever he says is final irrespective of what the law
stipulates. Dickson told us that if we do not accept staying in office
for only three months, then we should forget everything about that
office and should accept anything we see from him. Asking if we know
he is the governor of the state and whatever he says was final. For
fear of my life I said yes sir, because I was called to government
house to a much hidden room. I immediately remembered an adage my
father used to tell us as family that; when you get to a place and you
do not have anyone on your side you quickly accept whatever they say,
else you will never find yourself alive. That was the wise thing I did
before I was allowed to leave. I immediate filed in a suit to the
court to interpret what the Supreme Court has given us. That
aggravated Dickson anger and he sent his younger brother who is the
S.A Domestic Affairs, using the commissioner of police and other
security agencies to be chasing us here and there. Using all the
machinery and tugs at his disposal in government house to chase us
away from office, arresting us and like that. We did not see project
funds for one day. We were sworn in on the 18th of December 2012, and
we were sacked on the 15th January 2013. A clear case of an unlawful
sacking when we’ve not signed anything only but salary.
Even the councilors who did such evil act were having case with the
court after the court has given an injunction restraining them from
sitting. There was a court order and the man who does not know law,
Dickson asked the councilors to subvert justice and do his wish. And
they went ahead announcing that we have been purportedly impeached
from office. I know that sooner rather than later governor Dickson
will be impeached out of office by God.
Dickson has nothing to offer Bayelsans, quote me anywhere. He is just
breaking roads that are not his. Most of which are federal roads and
HE has not completed a single project to be commissioned for one year
in office. He has only built a toll gate where he will be collecting
people’s money nothing else.
Sir the State Chairman of People’s Democratic (PDP) accused the three
local council chairmen of not working with their councilors, how true
I called the state PDP chairman as Dickson’s remote control and the
man does whatever Dickson says. The man does not know his left and
right and that is not the way to run party affairs in any state of the
I have been an Organizing Secretary of a very big party then APP. Let
me tell you people that Dickson have turned Bayelsa State chapter of
PDP and government house to a kitchen and bedroom affair. Even the
party members and chieftains are confused and are fighting themselves.
The Chairman of the party here in Bayelsa State Mr. Samuel Inokoba
does not know anything, we know him too well, he was once a
governorship aspirant and was pushed out and he was crying like baby.
He should go back to the barracks where he will be commanding people
here and there.
What has he done since this happened?
I wouldn’t say anything but what I know is that Dickson will be out of
office while I will come in and occupy my position as chairman in the
council. Nobody takes away what God has given to me and that no man
can fight God. I told the party that I will not pay the requested N2.5
million to Mr. Samuel Inokoba being the party chairman at the state
level every month from the council purse which I never agreed that led
to the impeachment.
At this point I would want the public to know that Mr. Samuel Inokoba
who was instrumental to the sack of the three council chairmen is
demanding the same money from us. So it is the responsibility of the
party to call us back and harmonize us.
Is it legal for the Governor to have done this?
Dickson is only doing an illegal job by announcing our sack. See the
book of Exodus 10:1-2 that says: “Then the Lord said to Moses “Go to
Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials
so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them”
“You may tell your children and grand children how I dealt harshly
with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that
you may know that I am the LORD.”
What is your last word?
God have hardened Dickson’s heart not to let us the children of God be
in our office so, God will pull Dickson out of office soon and the
whole Bayelsa will know that God is great. Dickson door is open for
him to go out and our door is open for us to come in to office. Last
week, Dickson has been at Abuja, spending Bayelsa money begging from
one office to the other for him not to be removed from office.
But let me tell you people that since Dickson feels his ears are deaf
to listen to others and let them be. He ‘Dickson’ will not be listened
to, by anyone.
This interview was conducted by our online Reporter