The Plots and Intrigues Ahead Bayelsa’s November Governorship Election
Report By Enideneze Etete – In the build up to the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State, political parties have concluded primary elections.
They are planning ahead to battle for the covetted governorship seat in Creek Haven.
The party nomination processes weren’t without controversies in the opposition parties. The ruling party is keeping a united house ahead of the battle.
As the parties and the candidates raise their ante, the grand plots and controversies have opened way for incisive permutations ahead of the coming electoral turf, given events that have so far unfolded.
The curtain raiser for this year’s gubernatorial politicking in Bayelsa was the Peoples Democratic Party’s consensus deal it struck with its stakeholders.
The arrangement, affirmed by an election, made the incumbent governor, Senator Douye Diri to emerge as PDP’s candidate, amid cheers from his supporters.
The strategy is a political masterstroke of a kind, uncommon in the party and the state’s once-murky political waters, a fact Senator Diri stressed on getting the ticket.
Speculations were rife that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would have had the hottest primary election, among all the parties in the state, given adoption of direct mode of voting. Besides, with the caliber of the aspirants and party’s aim to wrestle power from the PDP, observers really expected a hot contest in the APC’s primary election.
The APC’s primary election produced Chief Timipre Sylva as its candidate, but not without internal strife.
Chief David Lyon, one of the top aspirants, and his camp, opposed the emergence of Chief Sylva as the APC’s flag-bearer, citing a flawed process. In a twist of turns, a group within the APC called for suspension of Lyon, on ground of what it alleged as anti-party activities in the February 2023 legislative elections.
Lyon and his camp expected the ticket on basis of right-of-first-refusal, to compensate him for his brave outing in the 2019 governorship election.
He had suffered financial loss and psychological trauma from the voided victory in the 2019 governorship election, for no faut on his part. Thus, a concessional guber ticket of the APC this time around, would have eased his entry into the forthcoming election, and heal his festering political injury.
Alternatively, Lyon and his supporters wished that Sylva, the leader of the party in the state should have remained a kingmaker, to pave way for him (Lyon) to slug it out with the other aspirants, and get the party’s ticket easily.
A close aide of Lyon, told this writer during a social media chat, that not giving Lyon the ticket was APC’s chagrin, and that it could back fire at the next polls.
Before the primary election, some staunch supporters wanted Chief David Lyon to defect to Labour party (LP), where they felt he would have perhaps got ticket. They calculated that, Chief Lyon would have waxed in the governorship election, considering his popularity.
While others felt that even if he had decamped, the move would not not have been fruitful. Their argument was that the LP’s Third Force experiment, which sprang surprises in the last presidential, legislative and governorship elections in some states, could not have worked in Bayelsa state, the stronghold of the PDP.
There was speculation that Chief Lyon and his supporters would angrily pull out of the APC, due to his not clinching the ticket, even though his fans were hopeful that, Chief Lyon, as Chief Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s favoured-aspirant, would have made a head-way.
As of the time of writing this article, there was no incident of defection by Lyon and his camp.
Barr Festus Daumiebi, another contender, also kicked against Chief Sylva’s declaration as the party’s candidate, and threatened to litigate in court. When this writer chatted with Daumiebi via a social media handle, to confirm the decision to head for court, and if he could make papers available, there was no fruitful outcome.
Soon after, Barr Daumiebi, posted Chief Sylva’s picture on his (Daumiebi’s) Facebook profile, an indication that he may have dropped the decision to litigate. It also implies that he would likely pitch his tent in Chief Sylva’s camp.
The seeming ebbing of the nomination crisis indicates that national leaders of the APC may have doused the post-primary election bickering in the Bayelsa State chapter of the party.
A source hinted that a national leader and other officials of the APC might have brokered peace among the aggrieved aspirants of the party and its standard-bearer. The source said that a top brass of the party had flown into Yenagoa, and lodged in a prime hotel along Sani Abacha Way in Yenagoa during the primary election, and stealthily observed the party’s gubernatorial nomination process.
In the Labour Party (LP), similar scenario of confusion played out, as Engr. Udengs Eradiri and Chief Diekivie Ikiogha, both claimed victory in the party’s primary election. Eradiri said that he was the rightful candidate, having emerged winner in a free and fair election observed by the party’s national officers.
Chief Ikiogha asserted in a news broadcast on local radio stations, that he was the consensus candidate. Chief Ikiogha explained that other aspirants withdrew for him to emerge, given that he was the most experienced person among them.
Meanwhile, Engr. Udengs Eradiri continued to insist in the media, that he was the rightful candidate of the LP, and that he would never backout for any person. He also maintains that he was eminently qualified, and was not fronting for candidate of any other party. The former IYC president said he must reach the end of the race.
Chief Ikiogha, the man who was on the neck of Engr. Eradiri, has dropped the ambition. Ikiogha told journalists that the LP’s ticket was not worth fighting for because of leadership crisis at national level of the party, which has led to litigations against its topmost officers. He added that, the cases could lead to vitiation of the nomination of candidate for Bayelsa’s governorship election, if any party, like the PDP goes to court.
Chief Ikiogha disclosed that he was poised to abandon the LP for another party because as he put, LP cannot win gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.
There are other political parties that have also nominated candidates for the forthcoming November 11, 2023 governorship election. It’s expected to be another historic political turf.
Watch out for a follow-up article on the stakes of the candidates and the duo that may really lock horns in the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
~ Enideneze Etete, is a Journalist/Public Affairs Analyst.
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