At last, the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, will flag-off his campaign rally in grand style today February 3, in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The beautiful campaign posters and large billboards bearing the portraits of Dickson and his running mate, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd.) have already been placed in strategic spots of Yenagoa and other local governments. Dickson will finally be given the party’s flag at the epoch ceremony that will attract chieftains of the ruling party.
But controversy trailing his emergence is yet to be laid to rest, as former Governor Timipre Sylva is in Supreme Court challenging the candidature of Dickson as the party’s flagbearer. Sylva is not relenting. He has prayed the court to recognise him as the candidate of the party having won the January 2011 primary conducted by the PDP in which President Goodluck Jonathan personally participated as a delegate. Sylva is hopeful of victory in the court to regain his plum job.
The legal battle over the party’s candidature is still generating anxiety in the ruling party. It has deepened the crisis in the political party. The much-awaited governorship rally is billed to take place at the main bowl of the Samson Siasia Sports Complex located along Ovom in the state capital. It was learnt that the campaign slated for last month was postponed by the party, occasioned by the deadly Boko Haram attacks in Kano where more than 200 lives were lost.
Among dignitaries expected at the event are President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice- President Namadi Sambo, Acting National Chairman of PDP, Kawu Baraje, Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, PDP Board of Trustees Chairman and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Others include governors, ministers, senators and representatives from the South-South, former BOT Chairman, Tony Anenih, Ijaw National Leader, Edwin Clark, ex- Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC),Timi Alaibe. Investigations by National Mirror revealed that the Acting Governor of the state, Nestor Binabo and a good number of lawmakers in the state legislature, including some serving commissioners have already thrown their weight behind the candidature of Dickson in the election.
Binabo may likely replace Seriake’s in the House of Representatives if a rumoured political bargain is finally sealed. Di ckson may clinch the February 11 governorship poll if the party’s strategy is actualized given its door-to door campaign strategy to reach out to the rural areas. Lots of resources have been expended by the gubernatorial candidate to sensitize the electorate on the need for his choice in the election. But, some constituents of Dickson in Sagbama/Ekeremor federal constituency have alleged that the PDP flag-bearer did not impact meaningfully on his people during his four-year stay in the House of Representatives.
Dickson’s supporters have dismissed the allegation describing it as false and baseless. No fewer than 34 candidates from various political parties are vying for the governorship election in the state. But the serious contenders are about five while others have been described by analysts as pretenders. Former PDP Chairman in the state and Campaign Director of Dickson Governorship bid, Fred Agbedi and the state party chairman, James Dugo and their supporters have been holding rallies in the local governments of the state to solicit for votes in the election. They move from ward to ward to meet the people.
Last week, the party’s flag bearer constituted the Keme 2 Keme, a replica of the Neighbour 2 Neighbour campaign outfit of the President. Incidentally, Keme 2 Keme in Ijaw parlance means Neighbour 2 Neighbour and is headed by, Dr. Stella Dorgu.
Agbedi in one of the rallies told party supporters and the people that Keme 2 Keme will move from room to room in the eight local government areas of the state to canvass for votes and educate the electorate on how to cast their votes to ensure minimal record of invalid votes at the election. In an interactive session with journalists in Yenagoa, the PDP gubernatorial candidate said he would lead by example, exercise power with compassion, responsibility and work closely with his team if elected as governor of the state.
He said: I am a man of ideas, but I don’t claim to know everything. I promise to lead by example and assemble a time-tested team of men and women who will help implement our lofty agenda for the good of the people and peace of our state. Dickson further noted that he was in politics to build consensus and to serve the people, stressing that his antecedents as Attorney-General of Bayelsa State and Commissioner for Justice attest to his claim.
According to the candidate, if given the mandate, he will rescue the state from corruption, bad governance, violence and years of locust by Sylva’s ad ministration. His words: All incomes and expenditure of government shall be published regularly to keep the public abreast of government activities. I will not steal public funds and I don’t expect government functionaries to embezzle either. If you steal, you pay for it .
We shall put in place in-built mechanism aimed at instituting transparency and accountability in the day-to-day administration of the state. People will be unhappy under our government because people will work for every money they get. There will be no free money to share. We shall fight corruption with vigour and stop wastage in government.
We shall run a simple government in such a way that capital projects will be given a pride of place. We shall shore up the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state through aggressive revenue, though with human face. Through this, we can save enough money to execute capital projects. We shall pay priority to education, health, wealth creation and provision of critical infrastructure which will create a conducive environment for a private sector to drive the economy to ensure our people will be empowered.
Dickson also promised that his administration will establish an Economic Advisory Council to develop a blue print for a modern economy driven by commerce. According to him, SMEs, agriculture, energy and tourism would be encouraged by government. The flag bearer said his administration would not depend on the monthly federal allocation, as he assured that unemployment would be drastically reduced through welfare schemes and the setting up of Direct Labour Bureau for small contracts and maintenance.
The governorship candidate said his government will complete abandoned and ongoing projects in the state and would provide power by tapping into the vast gas resources of the state. He promised to ensure gender equality by giving women folks equal opportunity with men and tackle the problem of cultism to instil peace in the state.
Source: National Mirror