Ahead of the forthcoming by-election for the vacant seat in Bayelsa West senatorial district, members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) seem unprepared to confront the immediate past governor of the state, Chief Seriake Dickson, who may fly the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the election. The senatorial seats in Bayelsa West and Central senatorial districts were declared vacant following the swearing-in of the former occupants, Senator Douye Diri and Lawrence Ehwrudjakpo as governor and deputy governor of the state respectively. Some well-known members of APC in the district have already pitched tent with the former governor, who is an aspirant on the PDP platform.
A chieftain of APC in the state, Chief Perekeme Kpodoh, had recently predicted that Dickson would win the forthcoming Bayelsa West senatorial district by-election in the state if he runs under the PDP due to his achievements in the district when he was governor. Kpodoh, a founding member of the APC in the state, said no politician of APC in the district could stand the popularity of Dickson, coupled with the internal wrangling in the party’s leadership in the district.
He based his optimism on Dickson’s performance as governor for eight years, adding that the senatorial district would accordingly reward him with the Senate seat. Also, some prominent Ijaw leaders, including Alhaji Asari Dokubo and chieftains of both Ijaw National Congress (INC) and Ijaw Youths Congress (IYC), have endorsed the immediate past governor, as their candidate for the forthcoming Bayelsa West senatorial by-election. This endorsement by the pan-Ijaw socio-political group cuts across party divides and is said to be informed by the need of the Ijaw nation to send their best to represent them at the national level.
Best man for the job?
Rising from a meeting in Yenagoa, the state capital, the group, under the aegis of Patriots of the Ijaw Struggle, said it was not only impressing it upon Dickson to contest the seat vacated by new Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrujakpo but also calling on all Bayelsans and those who have the interest of the Ijaw Nation at heart to support and massively vote for the candidacy of the former governor, as he was clearly the best man for the job. In a communiqué jointly signed by Chief Frank Omare and four other past presidents of the IYC, including Asari Dokubo, the leaders said they had “X-rayed the many aspirants who have indicated their interest to represent Bayelsa West senatorial district and have taken the pain to evaluate each and every one of them, their background, educational qualifications and political persuasions, as well as their belief in our undying Ijaw struggle” and arrived at the conclusion that Dickson is the most qualified to represent both the senatorial zone and the Ijaw nation at this point. The communiqué said what placed Dickson head and shoulders above other aspirants was not only because he had experience as a former member of the House of Representatives, but also his sterling performance as a two-term governor of the state. But, another chieftain of APC in the area and an aspirant for the forthcoming senatorial poll, Mr Christopher Abarowei, has expressed the confidence of his party to clinch the seat, especially if PDP fielded Dickson as its candidate. He said the party was fully prepared to win the senatorial district as it did during the last governorship election in the state, adding that the election will not be a tea party for Dickson or PDP. Abarowei urged the party chieftains to disregard any rumour that APC will not field a candidate for the election, adding that it was a political gimmick of the PDP. The leaders of APC in the state, however, distanced themselves from Kpodoh’s endorsement of Dickson, saying he was no longer a member of the party. The Secretary of APC in Bayelsa State, Hon Alabo Martins, said in a statement that no amount of sponsored attacks against the leader of the party in the state and Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, would affect the chances of the party in the election.