Less than a month to the governorship election in Bayelsa State, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has continued to suffer heavy political tsunami. There has been frightening membership depletion in a fashion that is not only worrisome but unprecedented in the history of the PDP in the state.
A day hardly passes without witnessing the defection or resignation of either a high profile politician or an appointee of government from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the state prepares for the forthcoming gubernatorial polls.
At the moment, the governor, Seriake Dickson, leader of the PDP in the state, is said to have been ruffled by the development. The situation has become so dicey that the governor has been gripped with fear of the unknown.
Most worrisome is the fact that the Ofurumapepe is now suspicious of the remnants of his foot soldiers as those who dined with him in the morning would tender their resignation letter in the afternoon and defect to the APC in the evening.
SSG, Chief Of Staff, LG Chairmen Under Pressure To Quit PDP
Feelers reaching this medium suggest that the PDP’s political woes are far from over. Compounding the party’s troubles, ahead of the next month’s governorship election, is the speculation that there are pressures on some of the remaining key players in the PDP to quit and join the opposition party.
Some of such personalities are the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara, the Chief of Staff, Government House, Talford Ongolo and some of the newly elected local government chairmen.
According to our checks, Okara is being pressurized by external forces from members of his former party, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who have now metamorphosed into the APC, to come and join them. National leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, known to be Okara’s political godfather, is said to be leading the talks with the SSG.
Meanwhile, the chief of staff, on the other hand, is said to be under pressure by the ex-militants and his kinsmen in Southern Ijaw Local Government to come over to the APC to work for the victory of their son, Lyon.
It was gathered that the former militants from the Southern Ijaw extraction are bent on delivering the APC governorship candidate and that they now consider any notable son of the LGA who refuses to go their direction, as the forthcoming gubernatorial election is concerned, as an enemy.
In a similar development, it was gathered that pressures are being mounted on the local government chairmen by their relatives to declare their support for the APC candidate, having read the hand writing on the wall, that the PDP may not survive the surging popularity of the APC flagbearer at the polls.
Already, there are speculations that seven out of the eight local government chairmen newly elected under the platform of the PDP are in nocturnal discussions with Lyon so as to work with him and secure a retention in his government, if elected.
Dickson’s Aides Waiting For October ‘Pay-Off’ Before Quitting
TNN learnt that some of the appointees who are still in office are just buying time to get their October salaries, which most of them have tagged as ‘pay-off’ cash, before porting to the opposition APC.
Political appointees who are said to have been financially suffocated by the Dickson led restoration government before this time are reportedly waiting to take their pound of flesh out the Toru-Orua born politician come November 16 when Bayelsans shall file out to choose their next governor.
We gathered that majority of the party men who would be entrusted with mobilization of funds before and during the election would pocket them as a way of expressing their displeasure with the system.
Will Dickson and his preferred governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri and his running mate, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor survive the hurricane Lyon that is currently sweeping the length and breathe of the self acclaimed Jerusalem of the Ijaw Nation?
The PDP umbrella seems to have been seriously perforated by angry members who have now decided to form a political alliance with the new bride in town.
On Friday, one of PDP’s political assets, Chief Robert Enogha, shockingly withdrew his membership from the umbrella party. In his resignation letter, which went viral, the former lawmaker, commissioner and immediate past chairman of the Bayelsa state Environmental Sanitation Authority said “l have lost confidence in my party to win” the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
Enogha’s resignation, indeed, shook the PDP to its super foundation. Some die-hard supporters of the PDP took to the social media to express their fears for the embattled PDP. For instance, a blogger and apologist of the PDP, Bodsman Kemepadei posted on his Facebook wall saying “this is the only defection that has affected my political calculation, a technical knockout, if the PDP sleeps over it.”
In 2015 when he was seeking a re-election, Dickson whipped a political sentiment which worked for him. Then, he described the PDP as the ljaw party. No one cared to know how the governor arrived at his conclusion that his party was owned by or belonged to the ljaw people.
Another factor that really helped Dickson to secure a re-election was the love of Bayelsans for former president Goodluck Jonathan, who lost a presidential election a few months to the governorship polls in the state. Majority of Bayelsans felt that it would be a double tragedy for Jonathan to also lose his party election to the opposition in his home state.
Though Dickson is not the flagbearer of the PDP, his desperation to ensure that his choice of governor succeeds him has made it look like it is Dickson versus the opposition. It could be recalled that governor Dickson rolled out all his arsenal of incumbency to foist Douye Diri and his running mate on the party without recourse to the dangerous implication of such action in a party where you have personalities such as a former president whose advice ought to have been sought.
We Will Win -APC
Meanwhile, members of the opposition APC are expressing confidence that they would win the election convincingly.
At a rally organized by APC stakeholders in Yenagoa Local Government Area, chieftains of the party took Dickson to the cleaners, noting that the governor had made insecurity, hunger, darkness and underdevelopment the lot of the people.
A former deputy governor, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu said “there is one man in government house, instead of providing good drinking water so that our people will not fall sick, he is building hospitals. This time, we are going to vote for freedom; freedom from hunger, freedom from darkness, freedom for good drinking water.”
Also speaking, the Bayelsa Central Senatorial candidate of the APC during the last general election, Famous Doumiebi, who represented Lyon at the rally, alleged that the state government was stockpiling arms and fake Army uniforms in Government House in a bid to perpetrate electoral violence during the polls.
“David Lyon specifically asked me to tell the people of Yenagoa Local Government Area that he is sad whenever there is gridlock on our roads in the state capital because there are no alternative roads.
“He said when his government comes in on February 14, 2020, he will give priority attention to the gateway road, coming from Igbogene to Elebele and the other one coming from Igbogene again, the by-pass, to Government House.
“He asked me to tell you that Yenagoa will be opened up and that he will not abandon but complete all projects started by previous administrations provided they will be beneficial to Bayelsans.
Speaking in his own capacity as a stakeholder of the party, Doumiebi said “l want to be held responsible for whatever I’m going to say here. I want to charge all our members in Yenagoa local government and Bayelsans in general that in this election, we are going to group the PDP as an opposition party in this state.
This is because politics is a game of number and today in APC, we have the number. The people are with us. Do not allow any body to intimidate you. For the security architecture in Bayelsa State, this is the aspect I want to be held responsible, particularly with the police formation. I had an encounter with the commissioner of police last night (Thursday). He is aware and I want to say it here and now. Few days ago, we were having a meeting at Udeme Hotel; thugs loyal to the PDP went and disrupted the meeting.
“Those boys shoot(sic) some of our supporters. He did not take any of them to court. I want him to hear this because I have assured him that I will take that matter to the inspector general of police. The state commissioner of police is behaving like a PDP card carrying member but we are going to let him know that we are Bayelsans and we cannot be intimidated.
“If he is having any allegiance with Seriake Dickson and his restoration caucus, l advise him to retrace his steps. Instead of taking those who shot our supporters to court, he made a kangaroo arrangement and wanted to take one of our boys to court. We are ready for them. If they want it by sea, we will give it to them by sea, if they want it by land, we will give it to them by land.”
To governor Dickson, he said “let me use this opportunity to send a message to the governor of Bayelsa State, you are one man and you cannot be greater than the people. If you think you have monopoly of violence, l wrote on my Facebook wall days ago that the government of Bayelsa state is stockpiling military uniforms in Government House.
“Those military uniforms you are acquiring, you can only use them in Orua, your village. Bayelsa is greater than you. Bayelsans must take back power from one man. Remember, power is not given, it can only be taken. This is the season of Ichabod, the glory of God has departed from Dickson and his restoration government.”
We Are Not Loosing Sleep -PDP
Meanwhile, the PDP in the state says it is not perturbed by the gale of high profile defection hitting the party hard preparatory to the election. State publicity secretary of the PDP, Makbere Osom, who spoke to TNN over the telephone said “the gale of defection is not an issue at all.
“Change is one of the most fundamental things about life. Talking about the high profile persons that are leaving the party, who is a high profile voter? Everybody is entitled to just one vote. Most people claim that when they are leaving the party, they are leaving with thousands of people.
“The reality is that nobody leaves the PDP with anybody; nobody leaves the APC with anybody. Human decisions might be so transitive but that anytime you move you must move with people is what I doubt.
“Let me tell you something about politics and the dynamics that we have seen. The defecting of people leads to the making of new leaders. If Mr. ‘A’ feels so important and he defects, immediately, Mr. ‘B’ fills his place.
“Politics does not allow vacuum. So, nobody is a high profile person in any of the political parties. Although, by way of campaign propaganda, we always say we are leaving with thousands. Nobody moves with thousands of people.”