The 2019 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, were conspicuously absent as the APC inaugurated its National Campaign Council to facilitate the victory of its candidate in the November 11 governorship election in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva.
Also absent were the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, an APC chieftain and highest political office holders from South South region at the moment, and former member of the House of Representatives for Southern Ijaw, Hon. Preye Oseke, who is a political god-son to Chief David Lyon, among others.
The National Working Committee of APC had listed the absentees as members of the National Campaign Council for the state, which was subsequently inaugurated by the party National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje at a well attended ceremony in Yenagoa, the state capital on Friday.
Lyon, who won the Bayelsa state governorship election in 2019 before his victory was upturned by the Supreme Court a day to his swearing-in on February 14, 2020 later fell out with Sylva, who was his political godfather.
He contested for the last APC governorship primary but was defeated by Sylva.
Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), was alsao a close ally of Sylva when the latter was a minister under the former President Muhammedu Buhari Government, but they felt apart on the way to the 2019 governorship election where he sought for the APC ticket but Sylva as a party leader in the state opted for Lyon.
Though the duo of Lyon and Lokpobiri were said to have settled their misunderstanding with Sylva going to the November 11 governorship election, their absence at the inauguration of the campaign council raised another doubt in the minds of their supporters as regards the unity of APC going into the governorship election.
A close ally of Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who spoke to Daily Trust on condition of anonymity, said both Sylva and Lokpobiri had settled their differences and would work for the success of the party come November 11 governorship election.
He said: “Senator Heineken Lokpobiri cannot work for any party than his own party, APC. He must have been busy with official duties in Abuja, that is why you didn’t see him here, but mind you, this is just the inauguration of the campaign council. He will be around during the campaign proper. APC is going into this election as a united family.
“Seeing people from opposition political parties coming to join us tells anyone who cares to listen that APC will win this election with a wider margin than it won in 2019, Lokpobiri delivered his Ekeremor local government in 2019 and will still win this time.”
The National Chairman of APC, Ganduje, while inaugurating the campaign council said the party had a formidable campaign team to win the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa, urging the party members to work in unity to ensure the success of the party at the poll.
He said the National Campaign Council chaired by Governor of Gombe State, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, would work assiduously to deliver the party’s candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva during the election.
He said Sylva, as a former governor and minister, was conversant with the workings in government and would be able to offer the state the needed leadership and bring about development.
He urged the campaign council to be disciplined and focused to win the election and ensure that Bayelsa is governed by APC after the election.
He called for unity among the party members to be able to record victory for the party come November 11.