Political activities in Kogi and Bayelsa states are likely to intensify with the recent release of the governorship election timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), reports Peterclaver Egbochue
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has approved dates for the conduct of governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states respectively. The governorship election in Kogi was scheduled to hold on Saturday, 21st November, while that of Bayelsa shall be on Saturday, 5th December, 2015. In a statement signed by the Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Dr. Chris O. Iyimoga, the Commission said formal notices of the elections shall be issued on or before the 23rd of August, 2015 and 5th September, 2015, respectively, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
The statement stated that campaigns by Political Parties shall commence on 24th July, 2015 and end on 19th November, 2015 in Kogi and 6th September, 2015 terminating on 3rd December, 2015 in Bayelsa. Political Parties are to note that campaigns outside these periods are unlawful and violators are liable to prosecution. The Commission further stated that the Political Parties and aspirants are to further note that the conduct of Party Primaries to nominate candidates for the elections shall be between 25th August and 15th September, 2015 for Kogi and 7th and 30th September, 2015 for Bayelsa state, while the last day for submission of the list of candidates (CF002) and the Personal Particulars of such candidates (CF001) for Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates, shall be 14th November, 2015 (Kogi) and 7th October, 2015 (Bayelsa).
With this, the tempo of political activities is expected to increase in both states. In Kogi state, for instance, aspirants on the various platforms are said to be perfecting their plans while still making wide consultations among stakeholders. Both the PDP and its APC counterpart are said to be weighing their options and chances. However, feelers from the state indicate that the state chapter of the PDP appears to be skeptical about Wada’s candidacy considering the fact that the party did not do well in the last general elections with the governor loosing even his ward to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
While some people including the state Chairman of the party, Alhaji Hassan Salau, appears comfortable with Wada running for a second term, some elders of the party seem quite skeptical and would instead prefer another candidate to fly the party’s flag. Wada, who hails from Dekina Local Government Area, lost the member of the House of Representatives representing Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency and the two members of the state House of Assembly to APC. His inability to deliver the state to PDP and even his own local government to his party has further strengthened the argument of those rooting for his replacement.
It has been argued that the defeat of PDP In both presidential and national assembly elections in the state could be attributed to the mass exodus of prominent politicians from the party, following the inability of the National Working Committee (NWC) and party elders to address the crucial issues raised by Kogi Elders in their petition to the party. There is also a group of party leaders in the state who believe that if PDP fields Wada as its candidate in the next governorship election, the party would lose the state to the opposition.
However, at a public function recently, the state chairman of the party was said to have given the governor a pat on the back and declared support for his aspiration to become the governor of the state for another term. But the challenge facing the party at the moment is its apparent inability to get a candidate that would be a good match to whoever may emerge from APC, especially as rumour has it that the firs t executive governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, is still interested in contesting the governorship position.
Others who have indicated interest in the race include, Prince Audu Abubakar, former governor of the state, Mr. Jibrin Isah Echecho, a businessman cum politician, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Hassan Idris, Isah Kutepa, a businessman, Alhaji Hussein Idris Kashim and a few others. Similarly, aspirants in Bayelsa State on the different platforms are said to be making serious consultations. It was however gathered that Governor Seriake Dickson, has continued to lose goodwill from the people of the state while some of his close political associates are reportedly plotting to dump him for the now rampaging All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Meanwhile, former governor of the state and chieftain of APC, Chief Timipre Sylva has expressed optimism that the party would win the November elections in the state. Sylva who said this while briefing newsmen after he led a 16-man delegation of Bayelsa elders on a courtesy visit to the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, stated that, “I am not sure of contesting for the governorship but I am optimistic that the APC will be victorious in the upcoming gubernatorial election.” Before Sylva decamped to APC, he was governor of Bayelsa from 2007 to 2011 on the platform of the PDP. He was, however, ousted by Gov. Seriake Dickson, also of PDP after serving a single term. “My role is to make sure that APC wins the governorship in Bayelsa. The APC is going to win, that we are very sure about,” he stated.
He dismissed rumour of division in the Bayelsa chapter of the APC, saying that any reported rancour was sponsored by the incumbent administration in the state. “It is the people who are not even members of the party that are making some noise. The party is intact; everybody is intact in the party, we don’t even want to discuss them. There’s going to be a tsunami rally in the course of the next few weeks, Bayelsa is the next big thing that will happen in the history of this great party,” he said. The APC Chairman, while receiving the delegation, assured the group that he would lead other national leaders to the rally, planned to receive defectors from other parties into the APC. ”
We will give you every support that we consider necessary; as many of us as possible will be there physically with you on that great day. It will be a historic day that will change the destiny of Bayelsa and governance,” the chairman said. Odigie-Oyegun said Bayelsa was in need of rescue and he was glad that the elders were spearheading the move. His words, “The leadership of the APC is very glad that people of your calibre have seen how our nation was decimated in every facet. The economy in particular is decimated to the point that it is almost impossible for the presidency to meet its obligation. ”After hibernating with them for so long, you have decided that Bayelsa is in need of rescue, so you are most heartily welcome into the fold of the progressives. ”
You only need to look at the APC states to see what transformation truly means in Sokoto, Kano, Oyo and Edo. By the end of the exercise, we hope to add Bayelsa to the list of the progressives’ family.” Sen. John Braimbaifa, who led the delegation, said sensitisation was going on in the eight local government areas in the state as the massive rally was being planned to welcome defectors into the party.
Similarly, a delegation of nine elders from Bayelsa State who came on behalf of the Bayelsa Consultative Forum (BCF), has also announced plans to dump the ruling PDP in the state for the APC. Led by Senator John Kofo Brambaifa in their Tuesday’s visit to the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Timi Frank, the elders noted that they were ready to join forces with the APC-led federal government to help address challenges facing the country. While vowing that the APC would defeat PDP in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, Brambaifa expressed the belief of the group that Bayelsa State under the PDP administration was currently drifting; saying the administration of the state had become a one-man affair being controlled by an emperor.
According to him, “Bayelsa has become one man state, controlled by an emperor-like leadership. We have sampled opinion and the result is no to emperor leadership in the state. “We held our inaugural meeting on the 8th of this month and the people of the state have resolved that the second term ambition of the current government in the state must not be allowed to succeed. “That we want to join the APC and they must come in their number to Bayelsa State to receive us to send a signal to the emperor that we have been properly received.” The leader of the delegation assured that the forum was ready to team up with the APC as soon as plans were concluded with the national leaders of the party.