Faces of Prospective Candidate for East Senatorial Seat

Written by Solomon Olali-Igabo, a public and political affairs analysts

An adage has it that where one stops is where one begins. With the emergence of Chief (Bishop) Senator Biobarakama Wagi Degi-Eremienyo as the Deputy Governor Elect in Bayelsa State, who becomes the next Senator is an issue before the political stakeholders in the Bayelsa East Senatorial Zone. Senator Degi-Eremienyo contested the 16th February 2019 National Assembly election under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and won having defeated four other contenders including Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Blessing Ipigansi Izagara of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Inirou Wills of Labour Party (LP) and Dr. Silver Ozu Opuala Charles of the Accord Party (AP).

Politics today has become a means to an end as politicians keep cross carpeting from one political platform to another for relevance in recent times, either for personal ego or to serve their peoples.

The likes of Chief (Senator) Nimi Barigha-Amange, Dr. Opuala-Charles, recently defected to the APC who worked hard for the victory of the party at the 16th November Governorship election where Chief David Lyon and Senator B.W. Degi-Eremienyo emerged as Governor and Deputy Governor Elects in the State.

Sources reveal that some persons have already indicated interest to occupy the Bayelsa East which is currently zone to Nembe Constituency I, precisely Ogbolomabiri axis. Feelers have it that amongst those eyeing Bayelsa East at the red chamber includes, Chief (Barr.) Bright Erewari-Igbeta, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange, Engr. Fakuma Joseph Ilagha, Ambassador Ben George Odon and Prince John Edmund Daukoru are been penciled down to replace Sen. Degi-Eremienyo who is now the deputy governor elect of Bayelsa State and to be sworn in on 14th February, 2020.

Among the interested contenders who the people say should go to the National Assembly? CHIEF BRIGHT EREWARI-IGBETA: A former Deputy Speaker in Bayelsa State House of Assembly and also Special Adviser of the restoration government of Governor Seriake Dickson of PDP before his recent defection to APC. Since 1999 to date, he has been in government and may have the credentials but how popular is he to the electorate? Is he lover of his people and what impact did he make all the years he was in politics? These are feelings of the people in the Senatorial Zone.

CHIEF SENATOR BARIGHA-AMANGE: Is a core breed politician with fine political credentials. He was a onetime Senator at the National Assembly in 2007 and 2011, regarded as the voice of the Niger Delta on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He later contested the Bayelsa East Senatorial Election under the African Democratic Congress on the 16th February 2019, and lost to Senator Degi-Eremienyo of the APC. Senator Barigha-Amange is popular and grass rooted politician one cannot take for a ride. He recently defected from the ADC to the All Progressives Congress. One of his undoing is he is very over ambitious and self-centered who thinks more of himself even though he is said to have empowered several youths and women cut across the Niger Delta. Since he newly defected to the APC his ambition for going to the Senate may raise an eye brow within the party particularly old APC members who had been on ground before now.

ENGR. FAKUMA ILAGHA: A professional engineer and a member of the APC who works closely with Chief Timipre Sylva, the leader of the party in Bayelsa and also Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. Politically, Fakuma Ilagha is not very popular and not accessible to the people. He is noted for his engineering works and designs in Bayelsa State but not known to his people at the grass root.

AMBASSADOR BEN GEORGE ODON: He is a promising businessman and banker currently the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Basmarine Offshores Limited situated at Abuloma in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Amb. Ben George Odon came into the murky waters of politics formally in 2007, when he contested the Bayelsa East Senatorial Seat under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and lost to Chief Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange of the PDP in 2007. The Action Congress of Nigeria is what has formed the All Progressives Congress (APC) today.

Because of his passion for politics and to serve his people, joined forces with Chief Timipre Sylva and became a loyal member of the APC in 2015, when Chief Timipre Sylva contested the governorship election and lost to Chief Dickson. Amb. Ben Odon is one of the few persons who walked shoulder to shoulder with Chief Timipre Sylva at the time. He is a full APC member who also participated actively at the recent governorship election that led to the emergence of Chief David Lyon as Governor Elect and Senator B.W. Degi-Eremienyo as Deputy Governor Elect in Bayelsa State.

Ben George Odon is a philanthropist and has touched the lives of many people in and outside his constituency. He is very humble and accessible to everyone that comes his way. For instance, during the dark days (crisis) in Nembe in 2000 and 2003, Hon. Ben Odon singularly sent relief materials and undisclosed amount of money to victims and displaced members of Nembe City to cushion their plight. This is a demonstration of a leader who has love and concern for his people even without being in politics. In fact this generous man has helped several people that came to him for one assistant or the other without a frown on his face.

Ambassador Ben George Odon has Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance, Post Graduate Diploma in Business Studies and also Masters in International Law and Diplomacy in view, with other certificate courses in Germany. He has travelled round the continents of Europe, Asia, Middle East and parts of Africa. Currently, he is in Germany running his private business and always willing to serve his people when called upon in any capacity that is available. He is loved by his people and a giver with a simple heart that should be encouraged. Ben Odon is well exposed locally and internationally and has soft spot from the people.

PRINCE JOHN EDMUND DAUKORU: He is the son of His Eminence King Edmund Maduabebe Daukoru, Mingi XII Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom. The posers’ people are asking are, how accessible is he to his People before now? What impact has he made in his community? He is not a popular material even if he may have the necessary credential as the son of former Minister of Petroleum and Energy Matters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as son of former President of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), John Daukoru is a neophyte in politics and may not be favoured by the people. However, in the book of Psalms chapter 62:11 says “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this that power belongeth unto God”.

From the foregoing, among these persons highlighted above, who the cap fits, is left to be decided in the days to come, perhaps after the inauguration of Chiefs David Lyon and B.W. Degi-Eremienyo as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State on the 14th of February 2020, which is incidentally a valentine day.