As the 2019 general elections draw nearer, what political analysts refer to as dirty politicking is on in the Bayelsa West Senatorial district ahead of the polls. Bayelsa west is made up of Sagbama and Ekeremor local government areas.
It was authoritatively gathered that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor is now facing ethnic discrimination, going into the election.
Ewhrudjakpor is a native of Ofoni community in Tarakiri Kingdom in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state. The people of Ofoni speak two dialects -Urhobo and Ijaw. Though they are Ijaws, they speak Urhobo fluently due to their matrilineal link with the Urhobos in years past.
As a result, the issue of 'core Ijaw' and 'none core Ijaw' has resurfaced. So, some Ijaw speaking areas in the Bayelsa West senatorial district are already whipping sentiments, describing Ewhrudjakpor as a none core Ijaw man and should not be voted to represent them in the senate.
A man from Sagbama main town who craved anonymity told TNN in Yenagoa that "Ewhrudjakpor will not get our support because he will not protect our interest. He has Urhobo blood flowing in his veins. Whosoever that is fronting him for any reason whatsoever is doing so at his own peril. The PDP and the state governor have made a very big mistake to have picked a non core Ijaw to represent us in the senate".
Meanwhile, a PDP faithful from Ekeremor Local Government Area, Oyindeinfa Erefagha has said that Ewhrudjakpor, as a freeborn of Sagbama Local Government and Bayelsa State, enjoys every statutory right as any other Bayelsan.
Erefagha further stated that no campaign of calumny would be enough to stop the PDP candidate from emerging winner of the Bayelsa West senatorial seat in the forth coming election.
"It is the handiwork of the opposition who are dangerously intimidated by the rising popularity of Mr. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor", he stressed. Erefagha stated that nobody had the constitutional right to discriminate against his fellow Bayelsan, noting that those behind the character assassination of the PDP candidate were enemies of the state.
Until his emergence as candidate of the PDP, Ewhrudjakpor serves as the commissioner for works and infrastructure from 2012 when the governor Dickson led restoration government came into office. He headed the ministry throughout the first term of the government and was reappointed to serve in the same capacity when the governor won a second term mandate.
The Ofoni born PDP candidate has before now been speculated as a fore-runner to the governor who is alleged to be nursing a senatorial ambition, after the expiration of his second term.
Apart from having an eye on the Nigerian senate as being speculated in some quarters, Dickson sees the Bayelsa West election as a personal battle, because he hails from that district.
The PDP candidate will face Capt. Matthew Karimo of the All progressives Congress ,APC. Karimo, a former commissioner for works under the late DSP Alamieyeseigha, hails from Adagbabiri in Sagbama Local Government Area.