Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, drew the ire of Bayelsa residents and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the weekend following a statement containing names of his preferred aspirants for his party’s primary election ahead of the November governorship poll.
Dickson’s political family, the Restoration Caucus of the PDP, in a statement, named only three persons as members of the caucus that had indicated interests to pick the governorship forms.
They are the Chief of Staff, Government House, Talford Ongolo, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara and the Senator representing the Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, Senator Douye Diri.
It was, however, observed that no sooner had the government released the names that residents took to their various social media platforms to criticise and reject the choice of the governor.
The residents especially members of the PDP described the three aspirants as unpopular and stingy saying the party should be prepared to lose the state to the All Progressives Congress (APC) if it settled for any of them.
Most of the commentators, who said they would not allow any stingy person to fly the flag of the PDP, added that it was inconceivable for the governor to contemplate any of the three names as his successor.
Most of them urged the governor to drop the idea or they would be forced to vote for whoever the APC would present as its candidate.
One of them Onitsha Miepanmo wrote: “Dickson is a good man and has a golden heart for the Ijaw People. He cannot afford to see Bayesla People suffer after his successful two terms in office. But I was shocked to see an official statement from his Special Adviser regarding the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
“The announcement of three aspirants as preferred candidate among so many vibrant aspirants inside the PDP that will continue the good works started by the Restoration administration is uncalled for. I believe Dickson doesn’t have hand in this so-called stingy preferred candidates”.
In his reaction, Ibifaa Princewill, said the governor would play into the hands of the opposition if he decided to work for any of the three aspirants to emerge as the PDP candidate while Collins Baker described them as worst aspirants.
A known leader of the PDP, Tokpo Coronation, said none of the persons mentioned in the statement could win an election.
But Wilson said following the release of the statement, the restoration caucus had commenced the process for the selection of the party’s candidate for the November 16 governorship election in the state.
He said the decision was taken in a meeting under the leadership of Dickson following the successful conclusion of the three-day fasting and prayer session organized by the state to seek the face of God on the critical issue of selecting the next PDP candidate.
Wilson, however, said the indication of interest by the three persons did not preclude other members of the Restoration Team with the interest in the governorship from approaching the party to pick the forms on their own.
He explained that all such members of the teams interested in the governorship race would be required to present themselves to the party and the caucus for necessary engagement after procuring the form.
Wilson thanked the members of the PDP Restoration Team under the leadership of the Governor for their steadfastness, discipline, dedication and commitment to the affairs of the party and the administration over the years.
He stressed further that the Restoration Team which controls over 80 percent of the PDP in Bayelsa was the only group that had the cohesion, strength and capacity to win the next governorship election.
He said: “After the three days of fasting and prayers, organized by the state government to seek the face of God in the process of selecting the party’s candidate for the next gubernatorial election, the Restoration caucus met and decided that the process for the selection òf Candidate has started.
“So far three people have indicated interest in collecting the party’s form and presented themselves to the caucus.
They are the SSG, Kemela Okara, the Chief òf Staff, Talford Ongolo, and Senator Douye Diri.
“This does not preclude any other member of the Restoration Team that may also wish to indicate interest from doing so. The three people mentioned above are required to go get their forms on their own”.