BAYELSA GOV ELECTION: DICKSON GETS AUTOMATIC TICKET, AS PDP DUMPS PRIMARY
Indications have emerged that Bayelsa State governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, would emerged as the consensus candidate of the People Democratic Party, PDP in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
It was also learnt that following heightened political activities in the state, ahead of the election slated for later in the year, various groups are said to have endorsed the governor and more of such endorsements were also believed to be in the offing.
Sources in Wadata Plaza, PDP Headquatres in Abuja said on Monday that, it was a decision already concluded by the national leadership because conducting a primary would not be in the interest of the party.
The source, who is a key member of the party's decision making body, said various issues were considered before arriving at the position which, he said, were all about the chances of the PDP to win the state in the next governorship election.
"Despite opposition to the governor, the party's leadership thought it wise to give automatic ticket to Dickson because members were convinced that he was actually on the ground in Bayelsa State. Being an incumbent, it would be more reasonable because going into primary will likely divide the party more than allowing the governor to re-contest as a sole candidate with high possibility to win the election", the source stated.
According to him, the issue of performance was considered with majority giving Dickson a passmark adding that consequently, the suggestion by a member of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the party to also consider him on the right of first refusal not only as incumbent but a strategic state.
He said, "The honour has been unanimously accepted and adopted. It is true Governor Seriake Dickson will likely emerge as our candidate for the governorship election in Bayelsa State in due course. You know a lot of issues were considered before the national leadership gave the nod.
"First we are interested in winning the state. You can see the situation in our party now since the last election, so winning Bayelsa is a must for us. Then if you look at all the current dynamics shaping politics in that state, it is clear that we have to apply tact and come up with a winning strategy in Bayelsa State. So being a performing governor who also has the support of members and the state executive, he has been adopted as our sole candidate.
"How many states are paying salaries? Dickson was recently eulogized through a vote of confidence by the State House of Assembly for his regular payment of salaries and settlement of about N242 billion out of the N332 billion debts said to have been incurred by his predecessor, Timipre Sylva."
Still on the need for tact, the source said democracy is all about the support of the people, once that is ascertained, then the party could find an exigent strategy to win and retain the state.
He stated: "We don't have any trouble in getting the PDP well set to win in the next election in the state. The suggestion is there to conduct primary but in the face of the situation there, primary will divide us more than uniting us. That is what experience has taught us and more so in view of the unfolding developments in the state. So applying the right of first refusal is a way of delivering on that objective. No matter how you look at it, a sitting governor with such record of performance and party supporters across including the state house of assembly is much more promising in the election for us".
Somehow there also appears that the state executive of the party could be ready to support such moves. Sources close to the party's executive in the state confided yesterday that there were hints toward such possibility and in such instance coming from the national leadership, then it would just be fait accompli at the state level.
"There were repeated hints about it as I can recollect now. Seriously I personally believe it is good strategy especially when we consider the work the governor has done here in Bayelsa. What is important is winning and so this incumbent one should be better than any outsider. I am a member of the state exco, the state executive ably led by the acting chairman, Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff, is well disposed to the idea of granting Governor Dickson an automatic ticket. And I tell you that so far PDP in the state has not received any one who have come forward to express interest in contesting the governorship ticket on the platform of the party in the state," a source said.