Things seem to be falling apart in Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (APC) at present. Media war has replaced constructive engagements as the governorship election comes close. One does not need a soothsayer to be convinced that if the present situation where faceless people—sponsored by interested parties—continue to engage one another in irresponsible media propaganda is allowed to go on unchecked, then Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s boast that the PDP will win the governorship election may become a mirage after all. While I strongly believe that Dickson has the capacity to make good his promise, the house must first be put in order.
Daily, in the print media, the so-called new media and on radio and television, fake and libelous news are being churned out in such amateurish manner that portrays Bayelsa PDP as a party that is not only at war with itself but is on irreversible self-destruction mission. Initially, it was believed that the opposition parties in the state were responsible for the clandestine attack on certain individuals in the party, especially those who recently returned to the PDP after a fruitless sojourn in other parties. However, to a large extent, impression is being created that some of these news materials—if not all—emanate from Government House in Yenogoa.
Truly, the feeling is that Dickson seems to have his choice candidate whom he has not yet made public. So, any comment that runs contrary to his personal desire is seen as being sponsored by those he suspects will definitely defeat his candidate in a free and fair primary election. Another aspect of the reportage in the media that agitates him is any truthful analysis on why the All Progressives Congress (APC) won senate and other legislative seats in a particular senatorial district in the state because he imposed candidates that were unacceptable to majority of the party leaders. The moment he frowns at such innocent reports, he is said to be pointing accusing fingers in one certain direction.
Recently, articles obviously directed at one of the aspirants, have made rounds in several newspapers across the country.
What makes the media war extremely unnecessary is that this is not even about who becomes the next governor of Bayelsa State. They are yet to reach that stage. Rather, it is about who will fly the PDP flag in the race. Although there are more than a dozen aspirants for the office—some of whom have already made public declaration of their interest—the focus at present is completely on one man. Political jobbers loyal to Governor Dickson seem to see this man as being too politically smart and uncontrollably popular to be defeated in a free and fair election by any candidate in the present Bayelsa State. They also believe that he has a wide network of friends in the media to the extent that whatever he desires will unfold with ease. Their greatest nightmare is that the same man had left the PDP twice for personal reasons. But anytime he returns, every PDP political structure in the state will collapse into a pool favourable to him. Whether these assumptions—which have created worries among his political opponents—are right or wrong is another matter completely. But the truth remains that both the PDP governorship aspirants and those in the APC seem to have a common fear factor in this man.
But how does this concern Dickson whose eight-year tenure as governor ends soon? Why should the rising political profile of a PDP governorship aspirant—with the capacity to crush any candidate from the opposition camp—give the governor and his team sleepless nights? In what qualifies as an unofficially sponsored article in a national newspaper, it was stated that a frontline aspirant’s possibility of being a preferred aspirant for the throne “has raised concerns among other aspirants who have remained in the Restoration Team of the PDP to discreetly pursue their ambitions to succeed Governor Dickson come February 14, 2019 (sic)”
The article which had all the elements of insider’s job further stated that for the man to make any headway in the state political arrangement, he needs the support of Dickson who controls the Restoration Team; adding, “While no one knows the thoughts of Dickson towards the ambition of Alaibe (sic), at least openly, it was learnt that the former Jonathan adviser might not enjoy the support of the incumbent in his desire to get to the Government House in Yenogoa in 2020.”
The point however is that while we have a tradition in Nigeria where the incumbent governors play godly roles on who should succeed them, such governors are entitled to just one vote both at the primary and the election proper. They must stop behaving as though without them, none of the aspirants can win the governorship election. We Bayelsans know Dickson’s background. We all know how he became the governor of Bayelsa State. All these boasts and blackmail and intimidation are not necessary. I dare Dickson to lift somebody’s hand—apart from the choice of the people—as his candidate in the governorship race and see what will happen. He will certainly ignite the anger of Bayelsans who will massively vote for anybody except his candidate.
– Whisky, a public affairs analyst writes from Yenagoa
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