By Stephen Ubanna
Barely 24 hours after Faraday Orunmuwese ,a Professor and Vice Chancellor, University of Benin at the instance of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, overseeing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, elections in the Oil rich Bayelsa state, south-south geo-political region, announced David Lyon, of the All Progressive Congress, APC, as the winner of the last Saturday Governorship election in the state, president Muhammadu Buhari, received him at Presidential Villa to say ‘’well done my governor elect’’. The Katsina state born Nigerian President who could not his feelings as that the party has penetrated the Niger Delta, was said to be sharing jokes with his party m members who were at the Villa over the victory .
The Thank you visit by Lyon, the APC governorship elect in Bayelsa state was said to have been master-mindedby Adams Oshiomhole, the national Chairman of the party and Temipre Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa state and minister of state, Petroleum Resources. With the visit, an elated Lyon is optimistic that the President will through his weight on the new Administration in order to enhance the development drive of the state.
Recall that the the Bayelsa governor elect had tweeted shortly before and after he was declared the winner of the state governorship election elect by the INEC Returning officer in the state that’’ Bayelsa will be great again’’. He has his reason for thinking so. The state is no longer in the Opposition party but in the mainstream of Nigerian politics that will attract basic people-oriented projects in the state from the Federal government which was denied it over the last four years for being ruled by the Opposition PDP. it t
Note that the President may have anticipated that the party will win the governorship election in Bayelsa state because of the elaborate preparation and rigorous electioneering Campaigns carried out by the party.
The he party , over the last five years, according to sources had made several attempts to penetrate the south –south geo-political region as the south –east appears to have become a no go-area . The first attempt was said to have been made in 2015, when the party leadership succeeded in getting Rotimi Amaechi, then PDP governor of Rivers state, and now minister of transportation, who had fallen out of favour with former President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling PDP. Amaechi was said to have to have defected to the then Opposition party when he was no longer getting the patronage of the presidency . He had planned to install Dakuku Peterside, his godson and a one- time member of the House Representatives as his successor to prove his popularity in the state.
The minister was said to have done everything within his powers including embarking on sophisticated electioneering Campaigns in 2015 in order to win the governorship election for the APC but he got it wrong . Wike, then PDP governorship Candidate and who eventually won the election was said to have whipped up the people’s sentiment in order to turn the table against the former governor and Peterside, then APC Flag bearer in the state. as they were described as’’ sell out to a northern controlled party’’.
Peterside may have lost the 2015 governorship election in the state but he was compensated by the President with a political appointment, on the recommendation of Amaechi, the minister of Transportation.
He was appointed the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and his achievements in the agency over the last four years had been legendary that it had been recognized in world maritime circles including the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, thus making the country proud.
Another major attempt that was said to have been made by the party to penetrate the south-south geo-political region was through Akwa Ibom state by utilizing the services of Godswill Akabio, a Lawyer and former governor of the state. Akpabio had abandoned the PDP, which he had helped to nurture in the state, in order to escape probe of his eight years Administration over alleged Corruption charges by the Ibrahim Magu led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and defected to the APC.
The stage was set, according to political analysts for the party to take over the Oil state. The former Akwa Ibom state governor was said to have thrown his weight behind Nsima Ekere, a former Managing Director, of Niger Delta Commission , NDDC, to ensure that Udom Emmanuel, the PDP governor of the state was defeated in the last governorship election. The party was said to have pumped in billions of naira to prosecute the election in the state including using Federal might to upstage the PDP
Chukwukadibia Okoro, an indigene of Imo state and Uyo based trader told the Value News that the former governor was ,frustrated by the people who were solidly behind Udom, fondly called ‘’our governor and Leader’’. According to Okoro, the people had monitored Akpabio, APC chieftains and security Operatives covering the election including the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials, closely to ensure that the election process was transparent in the state. They had their way and the PDP Candidate won.
The loss of the Oil rich south-south state to the PDP despite all the elaborate preparation and the billions allegedly spent to prosecute the election may have forced Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and national Chairman of the Party, Amaechi and other Chieftains of the party with the support of the Presidency to go back to the drawing board to ensure victory in the Bayelsa governorship election.
They were said to have used Sylva, who incidentally was a former governor of the state as the arrow head and other Chieftains of the party both at the state and national level to penetrate the people and turn the hand of the clock against the PDP in the state. Political watchers believe that They were acting out a script which was said to have been prepared by the party leadership, presidency and Consultants engaged to draw a road map on how to win the state since attempt to win the Oil rich Akwa Ibom failed.
There are indications that the President gave them a matching order to ensure that the party take over Bayelsa, another Oil rich state in the Niger Delta region. The trio were said to have taken it as a big challenge as Sylva, was said to have assured the party that there was no cause to worry as the state is safely in the hand of the party. He was right. The party won the governorship election which was conducted on Saturday, November 16, 2019 by INEC, thus throwing the PDP Camp into disarray and blame game.
The minister may have spoken the mind of Buhari, the APC, Leader, by virtue of his position as the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, when he declared that the Bayelsa state governorship election victory was ‘’significant to the party as it aims to secure a landslide grip in the country’s southern region’’.
He further declared that the victory in the state ‘’ has given the party a footprint in the Niger Delta region and thus,’’ making it to have a national outlook’’. He may have sent a clear-cut message to the PDP national leadership and gladiators from the region that by winning the Oil rich Bayelsa state in the last Saturday governor ship election, the’’ party has repositioned itself on the part of ‘’gradually taking over the south-south and the south east’’.
‘’From a small seed, the biggest tree will grow’’, he had said. An elated Sylva is optimistic that they will grow the party in the two regions now that they have a base in Bayelsa state. He noted that the party had won the election because they had a good Candidate in the Person of Lyon compared to Douye Diri, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, who was allegedly imposed on the PDP by Seriake Dickson, the state governor without consulting former President Goodluck Jonathan, an indigene of the state and a respected party Chieftain.
But Dickson, the PDP, governor of the state will not take it. He was said to have told those that cares to listen that he went to the former President and elder Statesman sixteen times in order to ‘’agree on a governorship Candidate for the party that both of them could hold hand’’.
Addressing a Press Conference at the Dappa Biriye Conference Centre, Onopa Villa, Yenogoa, the state Capital recently, on the party loss of the governorship election to APC, he had alluded to the fact that in an ‘’attempt to back a Candidate who people perceived he was not supportive of him and his Restoration government to be the flag bearer of the PDP, to humiliate him he will ‘’shoot that Candidate down hundred times if he is presented hundred times’’.
He noted that ‘’Those who had packaged that ambition in that manner didn’t mean well for the person they were supporting and did not also mean well for me , for the party or for the former President because whoever emerges , we are all his people’’.
In a voice laden with emotion , he had alleged that ‘’APC,’’ forcefully took over the state’’, describing those associating the former President with Lyon, the APC Candidate, who won the Saturday election as unfortunate’’. He fears that the’’ country is moving toward a full blown one party state by APC , using Federal might to forcefully takeover Bayelsa state and plan to take over the entire south-south and south east in subsequent elections. Bad News for the country’s nascent Democracy if his prediction eventually comes to pass.
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