Bayelsa: Winners and losers

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EVEN before the D-day, it was widely expected to be a tough contest between the two major parties. At the end, the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election with a wide margin. The negative impact of the loss of the Bayelsa State governorship poll to the All Progressives Congress (APC) would linger for long. Following the announcement of the result of the contest, the losers and the winners are:

Losers:

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Dickson

Governor Seriake Dickson is the biggest loser in the contest. In bid to realize his ambition to go to the Senate, he turned deaf ears to all entreaties of various stakeholders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan. The latter was believed to be behind former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) helmsman Timi Alaibe. Dickson overplayed his hand in the manner in which he engineered the emergence of Senator Douye Diri as the party’s flag bearer in the election. The outcome of the election means the governor will not be able to bring his own successor. It also puts paid to his ambition to ‘retire’ to the Senate.

Though Dickson has refused to accept the result, he nevertheless inaugurated a 41-member transition committee on Tuesday, to prepare to handover to the incoming administration of Chief David Lyon of the APC. Lyon is scheduled to assume office on February 14, 2020. The committee which has the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Kemela Okara, as Chairman, also has Mr Talford Ongolo as Deputy Chairman and Mr Luka Obiri as Secretary.

Diri

Diri is the next big loser in the contest. Bayelsa has been governed by the PDP since the return to civil rule in 1999. Ordinarily, Senator Diri could have easily won the November 16 contest, if he had emerged as the party’s flag bearer through a free and fair process. But the over-bearing attitude of Governor Dickson angered a lot of stakeholders, many of whom left the party to join the APC. His emergence therefore polarised the party because he was not the popularly accepted candidate. So, the outcome of the election would have come as a shock to the PDP candidate, who had been assured by the governor that he is the man to beat.

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The low performance of Diri in the election was attributed to lack of support by party leaders. Dickson refused to listen to argument against Diri and fielded him and the party paid costly for it.

PDP

The loss of Bayelsa State to the APC is a big blow to the party because it means that another Southsouth state has joined the broom revolution, after Edo State. The region had been regarded as a stronghold of the opposition party. Thus, the outcome of the November 16 election means that the APC is gradually making inroads into the region. The result of the election is a blow to the PDP and a boost for the APC. With it, the number of states in the umbrella family has reduced. For the APC, it represents an expansion of its controlled territory.

Secondus

National Chairman Uche Secondus, who is from the sister state of Rivers, would also not be happy to see Bayelsa becoming an APC state under his watch. With effect from February 14, 2020, he can no longer visit Yenagoa’s Creek Haven Government House as he used to do in the past. Secondus and the PDP would now have to work harder to retain the four remaining Southsouth states in the umbrella fold.

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Winners:

Sylva

Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva is one man that had suffered defeat in the hands of Dickson twice in 2012 and 2016. The APC leader in Bayelsa State is no doubt the biggest winner. Although his name was not on the list of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a candidate, he contested the election by proxy. This time around, he promised to deliver the state to the APC and this was achieved. Sylva wields a lot of influence in Bayelsa State. As a respected party man, he left no stone unturned to mobilise support for the party ahead of the election and this has eventually paid off.

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