WADOO!!NEWS: Bayelsa: Who is ditching Dickson?
With the Bayelsa State governorship election slated for November drawing near, political alignments and realignments have heightened in the predominantly riverine state as those opposed to the re-election of Governor Seriake Dickson are stocking their arsenal to scuttle his return bid.
Governor Dickson is, however, determined to break the second term jinx. No governor since the creation of the state has served two full terms as all former governors have had their second terms truncated for one reason or the other.
Surprisingly, the battle for the soul of the state is coming from within his own party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, a development that has been exacerbated by the party’s of the presidency. The result is the whittling of the overbearing influence of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s over the politics of the state.
If Jonathan had won the presidential polls, the state governorship election would have been a done deal for his protégé, Arc Reuben Okoya, a calm politician and close associate of the former President and not his former aide on Domestic Matters, Dr. Waripamowei Dudafa as had been severally reported.
Though the claim could not be substantiated, the source said “the PDP ticket would have been handed to Arc Okoya from Yenagoa local government area and not Dudafa as most Bayelsans had thought. The incumbent who also rode to office at the behest of the former President would have been given the Sylva type of treatment by shutting him out of the party primaries.”
While Okoya has maintained a studied silence in the wake of the exit of the former president from office, some associates and friends of Jonathan who rode on his back to prominence and who ordinarily should have remained to salvage the troubled PDP family and strengthen the home base have suddenly seen the need to defect to the opposition All Progressive Congress APC in the state to actualize their ambition.
The loss of the PDP at the centre and exit of Jonathan from the Presidency has no doubt altered the political equation of the state, a development that is expected to throw up many candidates to challenge the sitting governor as against the previous practice where Bayelsans in deference to the former President go with whoever he supports from within his own party.
Aside, the relatively unknown Moses Siasia, who perhaps is the first to publicly declare his intention to take over Dickson’s job, no other known candidate has formally come out to challenge the incumbent.
Siasia, a businessman and chairman of Nigerian Young Professionals Group has been talking of his ambition to replace his kinsman, Dickson, as governor.
But speculations are rife in town that consultations are ongoing among the various political divide in the state on how best to tackle the incumbent who from all indications is in control of the state PDP machinery.
The political actors in the state have in the last couple of days been locked into series of nocturnal meetings strategizing on the way forward. While the governor’s camp is working round the clock to return their principal, citing projects on ground as yardstick to gauge his performance, opponents within the party are especially embittered by allegation that the governor’s departure from the culture of patronage that had persisted before his advent.
Penultimate week those opposed to Governor Dickson from his own ruling PDP met at the home of a former number two citizen of the state to map out strategies on how to scuttle his return bid.
The meeting, held at the residence of a chieftain of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, reportedly deliberated on the forthcoming governorship election and the need for anti-Dickson forces to unite and present a formidable front against him.
A former Security Adviser to former Governor Jonathan in the period between 2005 and 2007 was said to have presided over the meeting which also had in attendance, former senators, former members of the state House of Assembly and former commissioners in Dickson administration among other past political office holders at the state and national level.
While some politicians within the fold claimed that the meeting was convened at the instance of concerned politicians within and outside the state, others claimed that the group which is moving en mass to the APC is to ensure that a formidable candidate is presented to wrestle power from the incumbent.
A reliable source at the meeting, said the meeting was attended by over 16 political groups and some loyalists of the former president. The meeting, it was also gathered, resolved to set up a Steering and Contact Committee.
Vanguard reliably learnt that the anti-Dickson forces resolve to move to the opposition party when it became clear that Dickson control the PDP structure and may clinch the party ticket as the leadership of the party may resort to giving him the right of first refusal should he declare his interest to contest the November poll.
This permutation, it was gathered, may have influenced the flurry of defection of PDP members to the opposition APC which by virtue of its controlling the central government is at the moment the beautiful bride in the country.
The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Timi Alaibe who to a large extent has stayed away from the politics of the state to purse his private business sources told Vanguard, is being wooed by the elders and political leaders from the state to contest the election. But the platform for Alaibe has not been decided.
Alaibe is believed to have the political savvy to tackle the incumbent due to his popularity among the people. But his financial capacity at the present time is another matter.
The former banker cum politician, Ambassador Emmanuel Otiotio, also a former PDP governorship aspirant, according to political analysts, remains one of a few with a blueprint on how to tackle the developmental needs of the oil and gas rich but underdeveloped state.
Those speculated to be interested in the APC governorship ticket include former Governor Timipre Sylva, who was denied a second term ticket by the national leadership of his former party, the PDP at the instance of former President Jonathan.
Though Sylva has not formally declared his intention, he has repeatedly sounded it loud and clear that he is constitutionally qualified to contest the forthcoming polls having done just a tenure.
A former Chief of Staff in the Dickson Government House, Chief Diekivie Ikiogha who penultimate Saturday joined the APC is also believed to be interested in the coveted office.
A godson to former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, Dr. Waripamowei Dudafa is believed to be pushing his aspiration on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA.
With the recurring “godfather” syndrome almost eliminated with the defeat of the PDP at the centre and the corresponding surge in the popularity of the APC, the PDP will be banking on its structures and past glory to clinch the polls.
The topsy-turvy political atmosphere has made it that Dickson is fighting what is perhaps the greatest political battle of his life.