- thateholders fume over running mate
- Party risks members’ exodus
BY UBON EKANEM – Covert Moves by Governor Seriake Dickson to promote and oil his Senatorial ambition for a smooth transition to the ninth National Assembly are threatening to tear apart the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State.
Competent sources said the governor’s unrelenting resolve to transmute into a lawmaker, representing the Bayelsa West senatorial district, has seen him working hard to upset the existing political arrangements in the South South State.
Obviously, pushing to pave the way for his spollorial ambition, Governor Dickson is accused of insisting that the running mate for the Party’s governorship candidate should be zoned to his Bayelsa West senatorial district.
According to insiders who are keenly following the development, the plan is to ensure the incumbent PDP Senator is picked to run with the governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri as his deputy.
“With such an arrangement perfectly executed to have Senator Lawrence Erwujakpo out of the way, the road will be clear for Governor Dickson to enjoy a smooth ride and fulfill his ambition of becoming a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, one of our competent sources said.
Forefront gathered that ahead of the November 16 governorship poll in the State, the governor’s insistence to have his way is already causing huge disquiets within the ruling party.
Angered by the development, some PDP’s stakeholders, including those whose preferred candidates lost their deposits during the Party primaries, are up in ‘political arms’ against what they described as the governor’s selfish plans to cowed everyone and rail-road the party as a one man affair.
Sources confirmed that even within Governor Dickson’s hitherto cohesive Restoration political family, nerves are already frayed and the discontentment may further escalate given the seeming ‘Senator Erwujakpor or no one else’ stand of the governor.
Though Governor Dickson’s grip on the party’s machinery in the state is not in doubt, emerging reports indicate that stakeholders and aggrieved political forces are massing against plans being perfected to throw up Senator Erwujakpor, who hails from Dickson’s Sagbama Local Government Area, as the gubernatorial running mate to Senator Diri.
Vocal among these aggrieved stakeholders is Bayelsa East Forum for Justice (BEFJ) that insist justice and fairness demand a competent and loyal party man with requisite political clout and popularity from the East be chosen for the Deputy Governor position following the candidate’s emergence from the Bayelsa Central to vie for the State number one seat.
The BEFJ said in Yenegoa on Monday that with the Governor, who is about completing his eight years tenure coming from Bayelsa West, it is a sad commentary and obvious attempt to deprive the people of East Senatorial district their due just to satisfy an individual’s personal ambition.
The group warned that the move is capable of causing crisis that could inadvertently hand over the state to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) if the perceived injustice is not addressed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
Also speaking up against festering political intrigues within the PDP, a group called, Youths for Douye Diri (YDD), urged the governor to jettison the idea of making Ehrudjakpor the running mate to Senator Diri.
The YDD’s Secretary-General, Comrade Beinbebo Akpiri, described as a sad political development for the PDP going by emerging reports that the governor has settled for Senator Ehrudjakpor to run with Diri
Warning against any attempt to impose Ehrudjakpor on the party, Akpiri said the pairing is clearly defective given the current political realities in the State.
Towing the same hard line is the Concerned Bayelsa PDP Stakeholders (CBPS) which strongly berated the governor’s scheming to have a particular candidate selected as the guber running mate from his senatorial district for selfish reasons.
A statement issued in Yenegoa by the CBPS said Governor Dickson’s decision is an ‘outrageous political mistake’ that would work against the PDP in the November 16 governorship poll.
The statement signed by Chief Ere Opukiri and Omonibo ThankGod on behalf of the stakeholders, berated the governor’s action and urged him to retrace his steps in the overall interest of PDP and their supporters in Bayelsa state.
However, dismissing the agitations as unnecessary, the State PDP Chairman and Secretary, Moses Cleopas and Chief Godspower Keku, said since the party’s candidate emerged from the Central Senatorial District, Diri was at liberty to pick any suitable individual from either the East or West Senatorial districts.
In a jointly signed statement that subtly endorsed the governor’s position, the two party Chieftains explained that whatever happens in the current dispensation will have PDP moving to accommodate all the Senatorial district in the power sharing arrangements.
They said the leadership will ensure the speakership and other offices in the party and government are zoned and distributed to the remaining zones for equity and fairness in line with the existing tradition in the state since 1999.