March 5, 2021

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Dickson In Dilemma Over Senate Ambition, Running Mate

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The governor of Bayelsa state and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Seriake Dickson is currently embroiled in a dilemma over his speculated ambition to go to the senate after his eight years as governor.
There have been widespread outcry within and outside the PDP over the choice of Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, believed to be his cousin, as running mate to the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri.
The emergence of Ewhrudjakpo as running mate, it was learnt, was allegedly influenced by the governor, to pave the way for the actualization of his senatorial bid.
The choice of Ewhrudjakpo, who is from the constituency with Dickson who is serving out his eight years of governorship sojourn in Creek Haven, did not go down well with many party members and a large chunk of Bayelsans.
The Ewhrudjakpo saga has since polarized the party as different groups have been calling on the governor and the leadership of the PDP to substitute the running mate with someone else preferably from Bayelsa east senatorial district.
Today, it has become an open secret that the Toru-orua born politician has his eyes fixed on the upper chamber of the National Assembly and those close to the governor said Dickson was not ready to shift grounds.
The issue is said to have assumed a dangerous dimension following the insistence of the governor to zone the slot to his western senatorial district in order to pave the way for the incumbent senator representing the zone, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to emerge as the running mate.
Despite earlier denials, Dickson is said to have perfected the process of mak ing Erwujakpor, who hails from his Sagbama local government area, a running mate to enable him realize his senatorial ambition in case PDP emerges victorious after the election.
While most party leaders were said to have warned the governor against the plot, describing it as political suicide, stakeholders from former President Goodluck Jonathan’s eastern senatorial district said they deserved the position for a sense of belonging in the party.
The stakeholders under the auspices of Bayelsa East Forum for Justice (BEFJ) said having picked the candidate from Bayelsa Central, it was natural to select a competent party man with requisite political clout and popularity from the east.
Speaking in Yenagoa, the chairman of the group, Monday Eribo, described the feelers that the slot for running mate had been zoned to the west as sad and an attempt to deprive the people of the east what was due them politically.
Eribo insisted that the plot was motivated by greed and warned that if not rescinded it was capable of handing over the state on a platter of gold to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said “So, we are therefore condemning and rejecting it and calling on our beloved Governor Seriake Dickson not to fall for such grievous political mistake. We are also calling on party leaders at the national and state levels to wade into the matter and on time.
In the statement signed by Chief Ere Opukiri and Omonibo ThankGod, the stakeholders rejected the governor’s action, saying it betrayed his earlier stance that he would not take the running mate to the west in the interest of justice and fairness.
They wondered what had changed and called on the governor not to fall for the temptation of zoning the position to the west, especially Sagbama where he hails from.
They maintained that if he went ahead with the decision, there would be mass exodus of members of the party, especially from the east, which would reduce the chances of the PDP to retain the governorship.
They said: “We are shocked that governor Dickson who was opposed to the ambition of Fred Agbedi to take over from him because of zoning will now make a u-turn to favour his kinsman from Sagbama.
“The position of running mate we feel should go to Bayelsa east. This will balance the political equation and give the people of that zone a sense of belonging. It will be inappropriate to do otherwise.
“Governor Dickson had earlier denied that he will support someone from the west to emerge as running mate. We wonder what has changed. Those who are behind it should know that it is a suicidal political move”.
Another group under the auspices of Youths for Douye Diri further called Dickson not to facilitate the emergence of Ehrudjakpor as running mate to their principal.
Secretary-General of the group, Beinbebo Akpiri said the report that Dickson had settled for Ehrudjakpor was a sad political development for the PDP.
Akpiri warned against the imposition of Ehrudjakpor on the party, stressing that it would not fly because of the current political realities.
He said Dickson should bury his ambition to go to the Senate and concentrate on winning the governorship election with a more acceptable running mate.
Akpiri explained that the slot should be given to a loyal, popular and acceptable party man from Bayelsa east to strengthen the PDP’s chances at the governorship poll.
The youth leader expressed displeasure that leaders of the PDP were keeping mute over the issue even when they were not comfortable with the governor’s decision.
The youths called on the Prince Uche Secondus led National Working Committee to prevail on Dickson to have a rethink otherwise PDP would become history in Bayelsa State.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the state chapter of the PDP said that it would stand by any faithful and loyal member of the party that might be nominated by its candidate, Diri as running mate.
The state chairman and Secretary of the party, Moses Cleopas and Chief Godspower Keku, respectively, said in a statement that since the party’s candidate came from the central senatorial district, Diri was at liberty to select any suitable person from either the east or the west.
They said that the party would be left with no option than to zone the speakership of the house of assembly and other offices in the party and government to the remaining zones for equity and fairness in accordance with the established tradition in the state since 1999.
The PDP in the state stated that the party was not too concerned about a running mate which according to them was like a senior adviser to the governor, not different from marrying a wife which must be done by the candidate himself.
They stressed that the party had no reason to lose sleep over the issue of running mate.
However, Dickson summoned a stakeholders meeting in Yenagoa over the dust raised by the Ewhrudjakpor’s option of running mate but the outcome of the meeting is yet to be made public.
According to guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission, the various political parties have until September 23 to make all necessary substitution of candidates.
As it stands now, Dickson is still in a state of confusion as to whether or not he should jettison his senatorial quest after he leaves office. Will he bow to pressures and forfeit his mission to the upper house?

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