Tension has gripped the oil-rich Bayelsa State following the governorship primaries of the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scheduled for Tuesday in Yenagoa, the state capital.
It was observed that 21 aspirants in the race for the party’s ticket were engaged in high-wire politicking and supremacy battle to emerge as the candidate of the party.
The aspirants belong to two groups comprising the Restoration Caucus of the PDP, which is the political family of the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, and other non-restoration contestants.
Ahead of the stormy contest, stakeholders of the Restoration Caucus, which boasts of over 80 per cent of the party delegates, have thrown their weight behind one of the aspirants from the caucus and Senator representing Central Senatorial District, Douye Diri.
It was endorsement galore as the stakeholders from the eight local government areas met at different halls and hotels in the capital city to endorse the senator and direct delegates loyal to the caucus to vote for him.
Other aspirants from the caucus such as Dr. Nimibofa Ayawei, Fred Agbedi, former Speaker Kombowei Benson, Deputy Governor, John Jonah, Talford Ongolo and Kemela Okara were reportedly dismissed the directive, which was said to have been engineered by the governor.
Their refusal to step down for the caucus’ anointed aspirant was said to have cast doubts on the possibility of the caucus to muster required unity and cohesion to approach the internal poll against other non-restoration aspirants.
Restoration caucus stakeholders from Nembe, Southern Ijaw and other local government areas, said among other aspirants Diri possessed the qualities required to win the governorship election for the PDP.
Speaking for the Southern Ijaw caucus, the Leader of the state House of Assembly, Monday Obolo said Diri’s candidature was the best thing that could happen to this state saying the senator was the most experienced among other aspirants.
“He has worked at different capacities. The restoration government has laid a solid foundation and other eminently qualified aspirants, we believe that Senator Douye Diri is a man that can consolidate on the gains of restoration.
“He is the one that can win th election for the PDP. We believe that he will not waste the resources of Bayelsa State. We believe that he will use the resources for the food of the people and he has the capacity to develop Bayelsa”.
Also the leader of Nembe Caucus and Commissioner for Education, Jonathan Obuebite said all the Nembe people representing the 13 wards in the council had taken the decision to support Diri.
“The restoration government has spoken. Three persons were asked to go and pick forms and the leadership of the restoration sat down and they have come up with a position. We have picked Douye Diri to represent us”, he said.
But other aspirants such as former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe and Keniebi Okoko and Ayawei, were said to be upbeat with a plot to cause upset at the primaries.
Alaibe said he would go full blast at the primaries expressing the optimism of winning the ticket of the party for the November 16 election.
He, however, promised to support anybody that emerged winner in a free, fair and transparent contest adding that contrary to insinuations he was not a desperate politicians.
He further described himself as an apostle of non-violence saying he would never depend on people to make him governor through bloodshed.
Alaibe said: “We will face the primaries and we will go full blast. By the grace of God we are going to win. The delegate elections are past and I don’t want to comment on them. We have passed that stage.
“I have been a contender for many years and I told you why I do that because I love this state. I am not a desperate politician against what some people think. I have stepped down for people at various times when people wanted to run amok with violence”.
Ayawei said as the leader and card-carrying member of the party, Dickson should not be challenged for supporting his preferred aspirant to win the September 3 primaries.
Ayawei, who chaired the state Revenue Board, however, said: “The governor has the right to support a candidate.
“He is the leader of the party. And I think he is supporting Ayawei. He knows Ayawei is forthright. Ayawei is young and dynamic”.
The aspirant popularly called the DNA, however, appealed to the delegates to judge the individual characteristics, track records and loyalty of the aspirants when casting their votes.
“But like I mentioned, all these other aspirants are eminent qualified. They are professionals and politicians.
“They all have things to offer. But I think I am better than all of them because I am the only Chemist taxman in the country that has come to open more frontiers for our people.
“I am very prepared for the primaries. Party primaries are not general elections and I hope the delegates see the good part of me. I have spoken with all of them and they appreciate my vision.
“I am looking at how to get the money to do projects because with the present revenue we are having, there is no magic. I know what is coming to the state.
“The only way we can have a leverage to develop ourselves is to get a road to Brass and open up that island,” he said.
Okoko also said he would continue to consult with stakeholders, delegates and people of the state, adding that in those meetings, his ideas and plans to move the state to the next level of development had been accepted by all.
He said: “Everything is working to our advantage. There are some things we cannot say in public.
“Nobody is willing to sacrifice the interest of party for any individual for selfish interests.
“The major power brokers are aligned with me. This is getting clearer to everybody.
“I am talking to the delegates and each of them that I meet falls in love with my ideas, plans and blueprint. Some people might try to blackmail me, but it won’t work.
“Every day, we are meeting with delegates, convincing them. Things are happening. Everybody who matters is collapsing into my structure.
“I am one of the few marketable aspirants, without mincing words, I am acceptable.
“And what that means for our young people is that this will be like a revolution for a change because the younger ones see hope through me”.
Investigations further showed that there were fears of violence especially following the recent dynamite explosions at the homes of some PDP stalwarts.
But the Commissioner of Police, Uche John Anozia, described as false and a means to heat up the polity, claims by some politicians in the state that dynamites exploded at their homes.
He explained that he went to the scene of the reported explosion saying he was not convinced that such incidents occurred in the areas.
The commissioner urged political players to desist from engaging in political activities that could lead to violence explaining that politicians penchant for engaging thugs was the reason for violence.