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Bayelsa gov’ship: Gale of defections hit PDP, APC, LP as battle for Creek Haven hots up

As the battle for who occupies the Bayelsa State Government House heightens, some prominent political parties that have fielded candidates for the forthcoming governorship election…

As the battle for who occupies the Bayelsa State Government House heightens, some prominent political parties that have fielded candidates for the forthcoming governorship election are worried over the spate of defections by their members to other political parties.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already fixed November 11, 2023, for the off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states and campaigns by various political parties have since begun.

In Bayelsa State, the ruling political party—the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) have been the beneficiaries and victims of the gale of defections, while the Labour Party, seen as the third force and being embraced by younger people, is also gaining grounds across the state.

Several appointees of the state government and stalwarts of the ruling PDP have defected and pitched tents with the opposition APC candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, who is also the former governor of the state, while some APC bigwigs and close political allies of Sylva have also deserted him to support PDP and its candidate, Governor Douye Diri.

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The Frontline candidates for the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State are Senator Douye Diri of the PDP who is seeking a second term in office; Chief Timipre Sylva, who is also seeking another term in office and former President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Engr. Udengs Eradiri, of the Labour Party.

Recently, some of the close political allies of Chief Sylva reportedly left the APC for the PDP. Among them is the former Speaker of the State House of Assembly during Sylva’s tenure as the governor, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu, a close political ally of Sylva with whom he allegedly fell out in the build-up to the APC governorship primaries.

Seibarugu was among the former state legislators who visited Governor Diri last month to declare their support for his re-election.

At a formal declaration during a meeting with Governor Diri at the Government House, Yenagoa, the coordinator of the Seibarugu group, Mr. Ebiye Waripamo, said they were attracted to the PDP by the governor’s leadership style that is peaceful and development-oriented.

Waripamo said after assessing Diri’s performance in almost four years, particularly the prevailing peace and security as well as the ongoing developmental projects across the state, they were left with no choice but to join hands with him to move Bayelsa forward.

He assured the governor and members of the PDP of their unalloyed commitment to the governor’s re-election on November 11, 2023.

He said: “We left Jerusalem and went to Egypt but now we are back to Jerusalem and this is where we will stay. We are not going back again.

“Your Excellency, we have seen your developmental strides in the state and we are impressed. We came back to PDP because of your leadership style.”

Similarly, a frontline Labour Party chieftain and campaign coordinator of Peter Obi in Bayelsa State during the last general election, Mr Morris Alagoa, also dumped the party for the PDP and declared his support for the re-election of Diri during the November 11 governorship election, instead of the Labour Party candidate, Engr. Udengs Eradiri.

Also, an estranged political godson of APC candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, Hon. Israel Sony-Goli has been rooting against his former godfather, saying Diri will win the forthcoming election.

Sony-Goli, who is the immediate past member of the House of Representatives for Nembe-Brass federal constituency, has not decamped officially from APC, but his body language shows he is working against the candidate of the party.

Several other politicians from both the APC and Labour Party have crossed over to the PDP ahead of the governorship poll in the state but observers say time will tell whether that will translate to the re-election of Governor Douye Diri.

On the other hand, the APC and its candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, have also benefitted from the gale of defections as most aides of Governor Diri and experienced politicians have already dumped both the PDP and the Labour Party.

Some of the aides and political allies of the governor who have dumped him for Chief Sylva include Nunieh Odede; the state youth leader of the PDP; former commissioners under the PDP government in the state; Chief Saviour Ibegu (from Ogbia local government area) and Chief Diodei Week (from Southern Ijaw LGA). Three former local government chairmen, Victor Isaiah (Brass), Nathaniel Sylva (Brass) and Ebinyu Turner ( Ogbia).

Nathaniel Sylva, who was a senior special assistant to Governor Diri until his resignation, said he decided to leave the PDP to team up with the APC governorship candidate in order to rescue the state.

The list of politicians that have crossed carpeted to other political parties in the state is endless, and the game is solely between the PDP and APC.

Political pundits told Daily Trust Saturday that the trend of defection is always associated with the political tempo of the moment, adding that more would still come before the November 11 governorship election.

Those leaving PDP are political leeches, ingrates – Deputy Governor

Worried by the gale of defections, Bayelsa State Deputy Governor and running mate to Governor Diri, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has described those leaving the party to the opposition APC as political leeches and ingrates.

According to him, PDP in the state is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar, adding that the few who left the party do not have any electoral value and have since been replaced with more capable and viable politicians.

Ewhrudjakpo, who spoke during a meeting with PDP women stakeholders from the three state constituencies in Sagbama Council Area, said the PDP was gaining more grounds than other political parties as the governorship election inches closer.

He noted that the PDP-led administration remains focused on the development of the state and is making steady progress in that regard, stressing that the few politicians who left the party, only did so in pursuit of filthy lucre.

He said: “By the way, the few persons who decamped from our party recently, are political leeches who have no electoral value. They were only occupying space. So, for us, their leaving is good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Prepare to vacate Creek Haven, Sylva tells Diri

Although the APC candidate, Chief Sylva, was recently disqualified by an Abuja High Court from contesting in the Bayelsa election, he has told the incumbent to prepare to vacate the Creek Haven, describing him as incompetent and a woeful failure.

Sylvia, who has since filed an appeal against his disqualification, said the governor was only having his last kick because he knew his defeat was imminent.

Sylva in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Julius Bokoru, recently, said Diri had nothing to campaign with as he had wasted his four years of unmerited victory in the state and was waiting to be kicked out by the people on November 11.

He said: “Douye Diri is fully aware his chances of winning are nil. While Sylva maintains a wide lead over Diri in experience, competence and sincerity of purpose, Diri, who was imposed on the people, steadily drifts into massive defeat because of his glaring incompetence and insensitive governance.

“It is puzzling that instead of going around inaugurating projects in the state and reeling out achievements, the only campaign strategy the self-styled miracle government has employed is issuing out vague tantrums as press statements on a daily basis,” he said.


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