The governorship election coming up in Bayelsa state in December this year is daily gathering momentum as prominent politicians in the state have signified their intentions to vie for the number one position of the state and battle ready to oust the incumbent, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson who himself is willing to rule the state for another four years.
The Bayelsa governorship election to political observers would be different from other elections coming up in the country this year, for the facts that the big players in the politics of the state and the country would ready to show strength and wit. Other factor which is making the battle for the government house in the state interesting and controversial is the influence of the former President Goodluck Jonathan who would want to show that despite the fact that he lost the Presidential election to the incumbent, President Muhamadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he would not want to be disgraced in his home state.
In a way, the governorship election in the state would be a fight to finish as all the contenders and interests group would want to make sure that the pendulum swing their ways. As the situation in the state is now, the battle would still be fought between the two strong political parties in the country, the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Right now with what is happening in the state, the incumbent, Governor Dickson, is still the only visible aspirant in the PDP. Although there were speculations that other people are interested, no one is sure of those who would still emerge in the party to wrestle the ticket from Dickson. What political observers believed could cause a challenge from other people against governor Dickson, was the purported rift said to be going on between Dickson and the former President Jonathan, who is believed would raise an opposition against him. Although there were indications that the perceived imbroglio between the former President and Dickson was denied, sources say that both camps are now trying to mend the broken fence and now determined to work together in view of the forces presently against them, especially with former governor Sylva and his former allies Aliabe now in the APC to fight the PDP.
As the battle for who fight Dickson rages on in the PDP, what is happening in the APC is now becoming more controversial as more people are now showing interests to contest the governorship election in Bayelsa State. Right now, nine people were said to have shown interests in the ticket of the party an indication that the battle for who flies the flag of the party would not be easy. Again what is bothering political watchers in the state, was the interests shown by the leaders of the party across the country. The special interests are no longer limited to the state as some of the leaders of the party it was said have taken camps and working for their various aspirants to emerge.
Just on Monday it was revealed that the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Ndutimi Alaibe, and nine other aspirants have eventually joined the Bayelsa State governorship race.
Friends of Timi Alaibe under the leadership of Senator John Brambaifa, who stormed the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Monday to obtain the expression of interest and nomination forms on Alaibe’s behalf, indicated that they were convinced that the former NNDC boss would emerge as the candidate of the party.
Brambaifa said that they took up the challenge to champion Alaibe’s candidacy based on his achievements over the years. ’’This prompted us to pick the governorship forms for him, adding that his group has taken pains to search for a particular candidate who has what it takes to rescue the state and had found the qualities they needed in Alaibe.
“So we have decided to buy the form for him and present him to our people as the most favourable candidate because he will be the best to take the mantle of leadership in Bayelsa.”
Also with the intrigues and power play which has now characterized the coming governorship election primaries in Bayelsa state, there were indications that the All Progressives Congress may be having a divided house over who will represent the party in the election proper.
Hallmark was reliably informed that while some leaders in the party are in support of the former Governor of the State Chief Timipre Sylva to run again, others were said to have kicked against it and would want a neutral person to emerge as the candidate of the party and this was said informed the decision of the group which took the nomination and intension forms for the former NNDC boss
It was said that the APC is now making waves in the state, even the outing of the leaders of the party last week was said to have rattled the ruling Peoples Democratic Party which is now aware that the next governorship election in the state would not be as it was in the past when the party always coast home with victory.
With the new in roads which the APC has gained in the state, which is the strong base of the Immediate past President of the country, Dr GoodLuck Jonathan, political observers believed that the APC is already infiltrating the PDP which is already divided as well, as some members of the party were said to have opposed to the second term of Governor Dickson.
What is however making the battle in the state interesting was the recent interest said to been shown by the former Lagos State governor and national leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu who sources say had met Chief Sylva in Abuja to endorsed is coming back to rule the state.
It was said that at their Abuja parley, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu called on Chief Timipre Sylva to contest the December 5, 2015 Governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Tinubu sources said charged Bayelsans to ensure that Sylva becomes the next governor of the state in view of placing the state on the right path. “I want him to contest the governorship election because of his proven leadership qualities and our belief that he can bring change to the state” he said.
Tinubu who met Sylva at his Abuja home not only endorsed him as the party’s consensus candidate for the December 5, 2015 governorship election but commended him for his contributions to the development of the party in Nigeria, particularly Bayelsa State. “It is time for Bayelsans to unite and support a person who can effectively enhance unity, provide opportunities for all and lead the people in a different direction.” He expressed total and unreserved support for Sylva’s aspiration to clinch the party’s ticket and governorship seat.
He mandated APC leaders and members in Bayelsa State to support his choice saying “If you want change, if you’re unhappy with the direction of Bayelsa State, then you must join the governorship race and change the state for the people”. Tinubu, who also described Sylva as an agent of change, is pushing for the former governor of Bayelsa State, to occupy the governorship position.
While Tinubu it was learnt is committed to Sylva’s candidature, hallmark was informed that the likes of the former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and other South-South leaders have shown interests in Aliabe whom they believes has never ruled the state before and as well has what it takes to finance the election. It was also said in some quarters that the former President Jonathan may have who is very close to Aliabe may have tactically back him against Dickson which the PDP leaders in the state have debunked
Meanwhile while Timi Alaibe was moving to the People Democratic Party (PDP) and join the fold of the APC he said his decision and that of others with him was based on the cry of the suffering people of the Bayelsa State for a change and the inability of the PDP administration to properly utilize its oil wealth for the provision of basic infrastructure for the people adding that the movement was meant to liberate the people from the “failed” administration in the state.
Also, the defected PDP Chairman, Col. Sam Inokoba, said the decision to dump the PDP was based on the lack of internal democracy which led to disrespect of the founding fathers of the party. Alaibe described the decision to decamp as a commonsense revolution, saying that “change has come to Bayelsa. This is commonsense revolution. When you say change, it is not change for the sake of it. People say change is constant. But it is not for the sake of it. We are changing from poverty to prosperity. We are changing from deceit, intimidation and manipulations. We are saying ‘No’ to wayo.”
At the ceremony where Aliabe and other joined APC they took over 1000 members and supporters of the PDP along with them and they all publicly gave their allegiance to the APC at a ceremony held at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenegoa
In his reactioin APC national chairman, John Oyegun, who led members of the party’s national working committee, said: “This is the first time a party is totally decapitated. The chairman of the PDP who represents the head of the party has left and the PDP is now headless. Anybody that is headless cannot survive saying that the APC is now set to take over the territory of former president Jonathan
Oyegun said with the kind of people now in APC in Bayelsa State, the battle would be fight to finish. According to him, “We now have former Deputy Governors, former National Assembly members, former commissioners, former this and former that. Who is left in the PDP? Nobody. I can now say that the of Bayelsa state has chosen the right party to fight oppression as those who have teamed up with us have found a new home. There is no fear of use and dump”.
Sylva, said who was said to being backed by Tinubu and others in the Governorship race said “The time for the unity and peace of Bayelsa had come. We need to foster peace in the party and the state because Bayelsa has seen enough division. There have been too many political killings under this administration. They have blood on their hands. The creeks of Bayelsa have become impassable. The government has completely failed”.
Those who are now making APC thick in Bayelsa state are, Senators John Brambraifa and Heineken Lokpobiri, former acting governors; Werinipre Sebarugu and Nestor Binabo; John Brambraifa, Andrew Oputa (Maj rtd), Christopher Milky, Alex Ekiotene, Christopher Enai, Stella Dorgu and Mathew Karimu.
It will be recalled that while presenting the nomination and intention forms to the group that wanted Aliabe in the governorship race, APC national organizing secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, said that Alaibe was the tenth aspirant that have shown interest to occupy the Creek Havens Government House in Yenagoa.