By Samuel Tombra, Yenagoa
It was a thing of joy as two political foes, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and his immediate predecessor, Chief Timipre Sylva looked at each other eyeball-to-eyeball for the first time after the controversial 2015/2016 governorship elections in the state.
The meeting of the two arch political enemies was made possible by the Friday’s visit of the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and his team who were in the state to seek solutions to the crisis in the Niger Delta region.
There was apprehension in the camps of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when feelers filtered in that Sylva was in the entourage of Osinbajo.
People were worried about the likely outcome of a meeting between Dickson and Sylva who had remained unyielding and unfriendly political foes after the elections.
The worries were believed not to be out of place considering the hate, jabs and tantrums that characterized electioneering and political actions during the poll and lingered months after the exercise.
People recalled how Dickson, the candidate of the PDP, described Sylva, the standard bearer of the APC, as a guy man, eliciting a swift reaction from Sylva, who called the governor a bushman.
But eventually when a “guy man” and a “bushman” met for the fist time, their behaviour towards each other betrayed their supporters’ expectations.
It was a dramatic moment when it got to the turn of Sylva to receive handshakes from Dickson who exchanged pleasantries with members of Osinbajo’s team at the heliport of the Government House.
With a broad smile, Dickson on getting to Sylva exclaimed: “Countryman! Countryman!!” He then warmly shook hands with him as Sylva returned the gesture with an infectious smile.
Dickson, who was in high spirits then turned to someone standing beside Sylva and said: “Your friend (Sylva) is running away from me”. But Sylva immediately replied: ” I am not running away from you”. Everybody laughed.
Some Ijaw leaders were happy at the development and thanked Osinbajo during a town hall meeting at the Banquet Hall, Yenagoa, for bringing peace to Bayelsa by uniting the two gladiators.
The President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide, before presenting his demands to Osinbajo first counted the peace between Sylva and Dickson as one of the blessings of the visit.
He said it was remarkable that the visit brought the state chairmen of APC and PDP and Ijaw people from various political divides together.
He said: “I want to on behalf of the Ijaw nation thank your Excellency the acting President for bringing peace to Bayelsa. This is the first political leader that will bring together two leaders of the Ijaw land together.
“Ijaw people cut across various political divides sit together. We thank you because our state really needs to be healed politically. Thank you for bringing peace”.
Even the Masters of Ceremony (MC), Ebi Abi, observed that it was the first of its kind for the state chairmen of APC and PDP to sit together.
Also Dickson in his speech created more excitement among the crowd. He said he was very glad when he saw Sylva in the entourage of acting President.
He said: “Join me to welcome my immediate past predecessor. I was very glad when I saw him at the heliport while waiting to receive the acting President”.
Addressing Sylva he said: “My dear brother, since the end of our campaign, this is the first time I am seeing you. It is good to see that you are looking very well and handsome. That is the spirit of the new Bayelsa”.