The governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State slated for September 3, 2019 is going to be one of the most keenly contested in the history of the state.
Sixteen aspirants have already picked the party's interest and nomination forms and are preparing for the historic fray.
Along the line, there are grim political intrigues leading into the expected fierce contention. Already, the party has been fragmented into different camps, each with vested interest ahead of the primaries.
The restoration camp led by Governor Seriake Dickson, who is the leader of the party in the state, is boasting to be in charge of direction the pendulum will swing at last.
Dickson's outbursts within the past few days in different meetings concerning the PDP ticket, according to political thinkers, are signs that the battle ahead promises to be interesting.
For instance, the governor had shocked newsmen in Government House during a media chat when he asked members of the pen fraternity to get their writing materials ready as he was going to tell them the aspirant he preferred.
After waiting enthusiastically to know who the lucky one would be, journalists were left mouth agape when the governor announced that "the name of my preferred aspirant was everybody".
A day later, while he was handing flags to the eight PDP chairmanship candidates for the local government elections in Yenagoa, the governor made another public statement suggestive of him having an interest in a particular aspirant which he would reveal soon.
In fact, he announced that it would be difficult for any of the 16 aspirants to secure the party’s ticket or for anyone to even become governor without his endorsement.
This is the full text of what the governor said, as was recorded by TNN.
"They are promoting the politics of division in this state, the politics of destroying their own party without conscience. Those are the people who are not happy that the eight of you are going to become chairmen of local government areas. Now we have defeated them again. They were not happy that they did not select the chairmen and all the councillors and that this (local government) election should not hold. Who says a thing and it comes to pass when God has not said it?
"Today, with the hand of God and all of you working together, we have defeated them again and the elections will go on. This is just the beginning. As I congratulate you, let me send a note of caution to all our PDP genuine members in this state that some movements are not to your interest and I hope you know that. Most of them just want to hijack party ticket and hijack our state for themselves and their pockets, not for the interest of the people. Will you allow that? You, the eight local government chairmen that they don't want, the vice chairmen and all the 105 councillors, by the rules of our party, are delegates in the forthcoming governorship primaries. That is their fear. When almost 120 of you go to the primaries, are they the people you will support?
"Let me explain something to you briefly: Anybody who is not a restoration governor, after winning election will dissolve all of you. Do you know that? Is that what you want to happen? So, if you love yourselves, do you want those who do not want you to become chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors to become governor and sack you? You know what to do, not in anybody's interest but in your own interest.
"They are spreading rumours that the five, five man delegates from the wards will not vote. Let me tell you, they will all vote. Those who are boasting that they will take our party primaries to another state, let me tell you, that cannot work at all. They are not in control; they are just making mouth. Oforumapepe(that is what the governor is called)is in charge. Let me tell all delegates and the local government chairmen, they know what to do, l don't want to repeat myself. If they don't do what is in their interest, na them sabi. Me and the leadership of the party have tried our best, we have fought the fight for you. It is now for you to work for yourselves but for the other delegates here, let me tell you, l will come out more but l will still keep sometime to watch. When l come out, all of you will hear and you will see the direction.
"Let me tell you two things, there is no candidate in PDP, forget about the noice, wey them dey make. None of them can lead our party to victory if I don't lead with all of you. The next election, just like the last election, will be a clash between the federal might and the state might. The state might, na here him dey, nobi so? In the last election, you saw how l was on every candidate's ballot. Those who contested elections know. From the house of assembly, House of Representatives and the senate, meetings upon meetings, campaigning and pleading with people. Majority of those who went through that process know what we went through for them.
I know there are one or two persons who, because of election, think they can do things on their own, but that's an election talk. So, don't do anything different from what me and the team that will lead the fight will direct you. If you do that, you will be empty. For all the delegates, we know what is going on. People came to tell us, "l want to be governor". Yes, governor na better thing na, and we look at them and said, make una go on. We can't stop anybody but we are watching and we are listening and we are praying. It is only one person that will be flagbearer. All those genuine restoration members of the PDP, not butterfly politicians o, wey evening they are this, morning they are that, midnight they don change. Na those people you want?
"Now, for delegates, after this August when una don become this beautiful bride wey una be, after this month when una don collect those N10,000, N15,000 N20,000 wey them dey send put for una account, or anything wey them dey take entice una, by the 3rd of September, beautiful bride don finish o. Una know so? Who will be paying and maintaining the party after that? Na we. You know say na una with all of us, na we be the original landlords of PDP, no be so? All those people when we no know before when we dey fight, wey see say our house don fine finish, as them come, we no drive them. But na tenants them be. Any amount wey tenant take pay rent, him no dey own house. So, keep collecting your rent. Na rent them dey pay. We have been fighting to keep the PDP all these years. If we had lost the 2015 election, would there be PDP?
"Let them keep paying their rent but at the right time, and we are getting close, the restoration team will meet and you will hear something. Don't listen to too many side stories. For those of you who are delegates, think of what your future will be after the primaries. Because all these people wey dey call una every midnight, morning, afternoon, if you call them, e go enter voicemail o. Some of them go run away to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kaduna, you no go see them again until another four years, election time.
"I want to congratulate you and reassure you that we are on course. The other side know no say challenge no dey. They know say once a candidate emerges from the PDP that has my support and our support and we lead the campaigns, they do not have a chance. They are praying and hoping that we make mistakes. Will you make mistakes? Will you disappoint your party?