… Ateke Tom, Sylva Meet In Rivers
With about one week to the rescheduled election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, wife of the immediate past President, Dame Patience Jonathan, and her political associates have struck a deal with the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, to stop the re-election of Governor Seriake Dickson through support and mobilisation of resources.
The election has been scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission for Southern Ijaw Local Government Authority and 101 other polling units in parts of Bayelsa State.
The Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) had on December 5 last year conducted election in seven out of eight LGAs, of which Dickson, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (APC), overwhelmingly won six LGAs, while Timipre Sylva got one.
Both the PDP and APC have shifted the battle to Southern Ijaw LGA as Dickson leads with over 33,000 votes.
A report by Eagle Online early in the day said sources close to the former First Lady Dame Jonathan confirmed that she had brokered a peace meeting between Sylva and the dreaded Port Harcourt, Rivers State-based militant leader, Ateke Tom.
The meeting was held behind closed doors on New Year’s Day in the Port Harcourt palatial residence of Tom, where Dame Jonathan allegedly persuaded the militant leader to “come to Southern Ijaw and help Sylva”.
According to Eagle Online, aside the former first lady, key political associates of former president Goodluck Jonathan are alleged to have renewed their resolve to gang up against Dickson on January 9.
While some of Jonathan’s men had defected to the APC to fight Dickson, many of them remained in the PDP to work for the election of the APC candidate.
Prominent amongst those who defected include Senator Clever Ikisikpo (Bayelsa East), the immediate-past Senator who represented the former president’s area; and Chief Ikiogha Diekivie, former Chief of Staff Government House and close ally of the former President from Yenagoa.
Others are a former Commissioner of Lands and confidant of Jonathan, Surveyor Furoebi Akene; and former Commissioner under Jonathan and current FERMA Executive Director, Finance, Bishop Deggi Eremienyo.
The FERMA man defected to APC just eight days to the December 5 election and worked against Dickson in Nembe.
Others are former Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission and bossom friend of Jonathan, Dr. Tarilla Tabepah, who hails from Kolokuma/Okpokuma; Jonathan’s ally, Hon. Ayobegha James; and Chief Numoipre Wills, a Nembe high chief who was appointed Executive Secretary of the National Boundaries Commission by Jonathan, but openly mobilized for APC.
Chief amongst the Jonathan’s men who stayed in the party to battle Dickson are Senator Emmanuel Paulker, representing Bayelsa Central; the State Action Committee on Aids boss, Dr. Temple Iluma; strongman of Kolga politics, Deacon Ndutimi Komomibo; former Permanent Secretary and member of Ogbia brotherhood, King Collins Danie Ebi; and former SA (Domestic Affairs) to the former President, Dr. Waripamowei Dudafa, who hails from Kolokuma Okpokuma.
Dudufa has never hidden his dislike for Dickson, but lost his ward and council to the governor in the election.
Others are former Transport Commissioner and confidant of Dame Jonathan, Marie Ebikake; and the Ogbia born musketeers and multi-billionaires – Dr. Godless Eruani, Barrister Robert Azibola and Barrister George Turner.