Dickson, others jostle to replace Diri, Erhujiakpor at Senate

Posted by News Express | 8 March 2020 | 908 times

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Undoubtedly, the dramatic February 13th decision of the Supreme Court to nullify the mandate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and pave way for the emergence of Senator Douye Diri as 5th Governor of Bayelsa State has changed the political dynamics of the state.

This is also galvanized by the declaration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it will soon meet to determine the date for the conduct of bye-elections to fill the vacancies in Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, dropped the hint on Friday in Abuja, at the Resident Electoral Commissioners’ (RECs) first regular meeting for the year 2020.

The two seats became vacant following the declaration of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Sen. Douye Diri and his deputy, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as winner of the state governorship election.

Already, the change in the polity is becoming evident in the numbers of interest in the coming bye-election announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for the two vacant seats declared due to the elevation of Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Erhujiakpor as Governor and Deputy.

While the show of interest is predominantly displayed by the ruling PDP with groups, surrogates and campaign lobbyists calling on their political figures to step out and vye for the vacant seats.

The APC seems like a party in disarray and are yet to recover from the shock and dashing of hope meted out by the Justices of the Supreme Court, with the nullification of Chief David Lyon mandate.

Some few APC Chieftains including a one-time State Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Party (CNPP), Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu noted that for the APC to have a head way in the senatorial bye-election, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva must be removed as the State leader of the Party and a pragmatic rearrangement made to boost the morale of party members in the state.

Frank-Oputu said “So, what am saying without any regret is that from today henceforth, every member APC in Bayelsa State should look forward to seeing Senator Heineken Lokpobiri as the leader, consult him, reach out to him, and do all things. We have two senatorial elections, by the corner and with this trend of events, Sylva will still come and say this is the person I want to use.

“And we will not allow that, because if that happens, the same legal tussle will continue again. We will not allow it, enough of this nonsense. Sylva should step aside and I will want if he can address a press conference that with what have happened, I have to take time and rest and face my ministry work and do things to improve the production of oil and gas, and the betterment of every Niger Deltan to ensure that the federal government takes care of those oil producing communities and their people”

“So, Sylva should step aside, and do the needful by calling Lokpobiri and saying my brother I am sorry, let us work together but meanwhile, go and take the leadership of the party in state, redirect their steps and do anything that you think can push the party’s image and bring back all the dead minds alive because everybody is in mourning”.

Despite the disenchantment of some anti-Sylva elements within the party, leadership gathered that the APC in Bayelsa is plotting and warming up to clinch the two seats at the Senate irrespective of the misfortune over the governorship victory.

A source within the party went further to reveal that some groups are warming up to step up campaign to lure the Governorship flagbearer,  David Lyon to fly the flag of the party in the Central Senatorial district. For them, the overwhelming support in the last election will win it for the party.

In the Bayelsa West senatorial district, the APC may field the one-time speaker and former Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Peremobowei Ebebi as the senatorial candidate of the Party. Ebebi, a predominantly popular politician in Ekeremor Local Government Area is expected to square up with the former Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson in the Bayelsa West contest.

But the fold of the PDP, though with silent protests against the planned zoning arrangements within the Party, have started drumming support for their anticipated choice of candidates for the Senatorial Bye Election.

Among those being called out are the immediate past Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, the State Chairman of the PDP, Cleopas Moses and few others.

The immediate past Chairman of Bayelsa State Vigilante Group, Hon. Ari Fekorigha has rated high the the immediate past Governor of the State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson for the success story witnessed in the state today.

Hon. Ari , who described former Governor Dickson as his boss and true leader, declared that the eight years of the restoration administration has left an unbeatable lasting legacies for the new administration of Senator Douye Diri to consolidate upon and the records of achievements has leap-jumped the state to 20 years ahead in terms of development.

He said “God kept the very best song for the last and that’s is what played out at the Supreme Court with the divine judgment delivered by Justices of highest court in the country”.

The former Vigilante boss however called on the former governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson to contest the Bayelsa West Senatorial seat, citing that Hon, Dickson has always put the interest of Ijaw nation first.

Describing the former governor as the one with the needed and requisite charisma of proven capacities to push and bring the needed attention of the federal government to the daunting development challenges of the senatorial district.

He also thanked Hon. Seriake Dickson for giving him the opportunity to serve as the state Vigilante boss under his administration, saying the former governor is not just a boss, but also a man to learn a lot under, insisting that Hon. Dickson gave a lot of Bayelsa youths opportunity to grow poliStically which him Ari is also one of them.

But many knew that the plan of the immediate past Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson was to become of Senator representing Bayelsa West with his insistence on the emergence of Senator Erhujiakpor as Deputy Governor of the State. His plan worked and he is planning to run without any hindrance in his way.

But Hon.Seriake Dickson denied being desperate about going to the red chamber. He said all he is doing and have done for the PDP was to ensure that the right candidates and right party rule the people of the state.

Dickson, at the weekend dismissed insinuations that he had a hand in the choice of Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor, as the running mate to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the November 16 governorship election, Douye Diri, because he wanted to be senator, adding that he was not desperate to be a member of the red chamber.

The choice of Ewhrudjakpor, his former Commissioner for Works and serving senator had generated misgivings as many opposed him insisted that Sagbama, where the governor hails from could not produce the running mate to Diri, when the incumbent is from the same axis.

But Dickson, who spoke against the backdrop of insinuations that Ewhrudjakpor was picked as to give way to the governor’s senate bid, noted that the decision on running mate was purely Diri’s.

Fielding questions from journalists in Yenagoa, the state capital, the governor said he was not desperate to be a senator and that he had other options like taking up teaching, writing or returning to farming, when his tenure expires in February.

“The decision is subjective, which the candidate alone makes. Very often people misconstrue it. When I was to become governor, there was a name I was meant to have picked and I didn’t get to pick the name, again, for purely subjective reasons, not objective.

“I went for Admiral John Jonah, who was not even interested, who had just retired and who wasn’t even a party man. He wasn’t even in politics. By doing so, it angered a lot of politicians from that area. Some of them went to the other side on account of that.

“These are normal rumblings and grumblings, but the point is that first, the decision is that of a candidate, not that of governor Dickson. A candidate has to consider a lot of factors, chief of which is compatibility. You don’t contest for office of deputy governor.

“When politicians have an ambition and they are not able to realise it, they start praying that the anointing should fall on them for the candidate to pick them. If it doesn’t happen, it is subjective.

“Even in our PDP presidential campaign, after Alhaji Atiku Abubakar picked former Governor Peter Obi, on his own. You saw the whole trouble, first from the Southeast. It’s one of those things,” he explained.

The governor, however, said that his role as one of the leaders of the party in Bayelsa was to continue to mediate and reconcile those aggrieved by the decision to pick Ewhrudjakpor.

“We will support and persuade people and explain to them at this time. I am not in a position to say why candidates pick who they pick, because I am not on the ballot,” he maintained.

On his alleged senatorial ambition, the governor said: “With the work I have done in this state, I have so many options. I love to go to school, teach and write. I have my farms and I like to stay in the serenity of my farms. So, for me, there’s nothing really that’s a do-or-die affair.

“I will continue to be available to support younger politicians and to work for the party, supporting a government if they need my support. Let me use this opportunity to caution because there’s too much over-sensationalism of these issues,” he said.

A group known as the Ijaw Unity Watchdog in a statement signed by its National Leader, Comr. Pereotubo Sunny, called on the Immediate Past Governor of Bayelsa State to stop his plan to become the Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District.

According to the group, other qualified aspirants abound to Run for the PDP in the senatorial race,” The Immediate Past Governor has once failed Ijaw Nation and Entire Bayelsa State People. If Hon. Seriake Henry Dickson needs the peace and Unity of Ijaw Nation and Bayelsa State, he should leave that senate position to other capable young people to run the affair”.

“The Ijaw Youths say no to Dickson’s senate ambition. When he was governor Bayelsa State, he has bad omen so he should engage with the gods before running for the seat.”

At the Bayelsa Central Senatorial district of the State, the duo of the State Chairman of the PDP, Cleopas Moses and the immediate past Campaign Director of the Douye/Erhujiakpor Campaign Organisation, Dr. Nimbofa Ayawei may make the choice a contentious one to make for the party.

Moses and Ayawei are from the same Southern Ijaw Local Government area of the State. For Moses, his supporters are already laying claim to the Senatorial slot with argument that it was part of a gentleman agreement within the party echelon that the party chairman be compensated with the central senatorial slot.

It is however believed in some section of the PDP that the emergence of Cleopas Moses over Nimbofa Ayawei may lead to a huge defeat for the ruling PDP considering the caliber of the candidate that may be presented by the APC.

Dr. Ayawei, who is Chairman of the Bayelsa State Internal Revenue Board, was a frontline aspirant of the PDP in the last gubernatorial primaries which produced Senator Diri as the party’s candidate for the November 16 election in the state. He is believed to have received the backing of Governor Douye Diri above the State Party Chairman.

But another factor, both Moses and Ayawei ,may contend with is the emergence of the dissenting voices of the Yenagoa Local Government people and the readiness of oil magnate, Pastor Kenebi Okoko to join the senatorial race.

Kenebi Okoko, who ran a fulfilled race for the Governorship ticket of the PDP and lost. He lost to Governor Douye Diri but did not join the band wagon of aggrieved Governorship aspirants that moved against Governor Douye Diri and his predecessor, Hon. Seriake Dickson.

Okoko, though not a member of the key restoration caucus political group of Former Governor Seriake Dickson, he stayed behind and contributed his quota to the emergence of the PDP leadership as Governor. And more advantageous for him is that fact that he is known to be the political son of the Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Though the Bayelsa Central Senatorial is made up of the Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa and Kolokuma/Opokuma local Government areas, the focus on the Southern Ijaw Local Council to produce the Central Senatorial senator is agitating the minds of the Yenagoa people.

Their grouse, according to some few politicians from the area, is that the incumbent governor, Senator Douye Diri, who just vacated the senate seat and became governor is from Kolokuma/Opokuma. And the secretary to the State Government and Former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Kombowei Benson is from Southern Ijaw area.

In the present arrangement, the Yenagoa people may have lost out. As the date designated for the Senatorial Bye election draws near, the people are waiting to see that the two dominant political parties produce dependable candidates, that will champion the interest of the people at the National Assembly. (Leadership)




Source: News Express

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