Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has tightened his grip on the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the party’s primary election to produce its candidate for the November 16 governorship poll, it was learned Monday.
It was gathered that the governor’s control of the majority of the delegates in PDP had given any of his preferred governorship aspirants an edge over others and positioned him for victory at the internal poll of the party.
The successful conduct of the weekend’s local government election by the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) was said to have put spanners in the works of other major contenders for the ticket outside Dickson’s Restoration Caucus of the PDP.
It was learnt that the winners of the election, who are all PDP candidates, swelled the number of delegates waiting for Dickson’s directive on whom they should vote for in the party’s primaries.
Following the results of the local government election, Dickson was said to have added eight local government chairmen, eight deputy chairmen and 105 councilors elected from all the wards in the state to his list of delegates.
Most of the aspirants especially a major contender outside Dickson’s camp were said to be unhappy that all their plans to stop the conduct of the local government election till after the governorship poll failed woefully.
A source and chieftain of PDP, who spoke in confidence, said there was nothing anybody could do to stop Dickson from ensuring that his anointed aspirant wins the PDP’s ticket.
“As it stands now, the party’s ticket is in the hands of Dickson. Anybody, who wants it but is not in the good books of the governor should go and reconcile with him all kiss his aspiration on the platform of the PDP goodbye.
“Initially a major contender tried to stop him from conducting the local government election. This contender would have stood a slim chance if he had succeeded. But having failed to stop Dickson, the governor remains unstoppable in delivering the ticket to any of his anointed candidate.
“Forget it when you hear that the governor does not have an anointed candidate. It is just a political gimmick to calm down the political space. There is no governor that doesn’t have an anointed candidate and Dickson will not be an exemption”, he said.
When reminded that the national leadership of the PDP could stop Dickson, the source laughed and said such could only be done at the peril of the PDP in the state.
“How will they stop him? Is it to arm-twist him and collect the ticket? It will lead to the implosion of the PDP in the state. The major mistake most of the aspirants have made especially the one who usually runs from one political party to another is their lack of presence in the state before now.
“Most of them were not on ground. They only run to the state whenever there is an election. They contributed nothing to the growth of the party and its leadership. Those in power now including most of the delegates regard them as opportunists,” he said.
It was further gathered that one of the major aspirants outside Dickson’s caucus was already weighing the option of moving his supporters to another party as his plan B insisting that he must be on the ballot at the governorship poll.
Prior to the local government election, Dickson told the eight chairmanship candidates, their running mates and 105 councillorship candidates that after their victory in the local council elections, they would become automatic delegates for the PDP governorship primaries.
Dickson said some persons in the party were jittery at the new statuses of the PDP candidates ahead of the internal election and had done everything possible through the court to stop the local government poll.
He warned that electing a non-restoration governorship candidate would spell doom for them as such persons would dissolve their offices after winning the governorship poll.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, while hailing the successful conduct of the election commended Dickson for instituting a new democratic culture in the state and raising the bar so high for others to emulate.
Iworiso-Markson appealed to the people of the state to elect the right successor to Dickson, whose emergence would have a positive effect on them and the state.
He added that such person must have the competence and capacity to deliver and called on the people to insist on engaging the aspirants, listen and scruntinize all of them to ensure they have such qualities that will bring about a greater Bayelsa.
He said: “Such engagement will make them have informed decisions on who that person is. At this critical period of our development what we need is a principled, bold and courageous leader to protect the collective interest of the Ijaw nation and this point has been made severally by Governor Dickson.
“The issues are too clear for our understanding and appreciation of our current situation in the midst of struggle to dominate the smaller ethnic groups by the larger ones. And the struggle had been a long one.
“So in this regard, the next governor of the Ijaw nation must necessarily be courageous and ready to defend the Ijaw nation at all times without pandering to political whims or external influence or without being able to take decisive position on issues.”