As the 2019 general elections have come and gone and the winners basking in the euphoria of their victory, political permutations on who will emerge the next governor of Bayelsa State have already begun.
Diverse factors will shape the process of arriving at Seriake Dickson's successor on the part of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. One of such factors is the role the former president Goodluck Jonathan would play in determining the governorship candidate of the PDP.
Sources close to the former president, who is a native of Otuoke community in Ogbia Local Government, said the ex-president was unhappy with the state leadership of the PDP over the manner the primary elections for the just concluded general elections were handled.
According to the source, some unpopular candidates were allegedly imposed on the party and the electorate responded accordingly, during the polls.
It could be recalled that the PDP lost the Bayelsa East Senatorial District to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC. It also lost Nembe/Brass and Southern Ijaw Federal constituencies to the APC.
The opposition party also won four out of the 21 state house of assembly seats declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Indeed, the 2019 general elections have been adjudged the worst political outing in the history of the PDP in the state. Before now, PDP had 100 per cent control of all the National Assembly seats in the state.
During the last state assembly election held in the state on March 9, former president Jonathan who cast his vote at his Otuoke home town, looked moody and refused to speak to the press despite curious efforts by newsmen to have him speak. He only waved at the waiting army and journalists and strolled into his compound. The former president's refusal to speak to the press, according to political observers, was not unconnected with his dissatisfaction with the abysmal performance of his party in his senatorial district where the PDP lost to the opposition.
Furiously disappointed with the outcome of the general elections, Jonathan is said to be leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the best candidate emerges to fly the party's flag to prevent any chance of losing the state to the opposition as a result of imposition of an unpopular candidate on the electorate. One way the ex-president intends to do this, it was gathered, is to engage the governor and leaders of the party in serious consultative meetings to enable the party field a generally accepted candidate.
It was not clear if Dickson was favourably disposed to allowing Jonathan to contribute to teh emergence of a candidate for the primary election which is expected to hold around August this year.
Dickson is said to be having a mind of his own on this. Sources say he already has some people he was preparing for the office and would do everything possible to ensure that one of them picked the PDP ticket.
Some of the aspirants that are suspected to be working behind the scene on the project are Reuben Okoya, Ambassador Godknows Igali, Pastor Keniebi Okoko, Timi Alaibe, Prof Franklin Osaisai, Joseph Akedesuo et cetera.
It remains unknown, who among them that Jonathan or Dickson would support.
The Jonathan/Dickson Factor
The real battle for the soul of Bayelsa under the PDP will be between Dickson and Jonathan. Political observers are of the view that the decision of the two political gladiators ahead of the gubernatorial race may make or mar the ruling party in the state.
Already, the former president is said not to be pleased with the leadership of the PDP in the state due to some 'wrong' choices of candidates it chose to field, which affected the party negatively during the 2019 elections.
In picking a candidate to fly the flag of the party come December 2019, Jonathan will be a figure to reckon with. He is a national leader of the PDP. He knows how to play national politics. He has influence on the national leadership of the party.
Dickson, on his part, remains a force that cannot be pushed aside when the time comes to pick his successor. In the home front, Dickson, no doubt, is in charge. He calls the shots as far as the PDP is concerned in the state level. He has the wherewithal to also influence the national leadership of the party to favour his preferred candidate.