Battle for running mate begins in Bayelsa PDP

September 5, 2019
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Gladiators in the Governor Seriake Dickson’s caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bayelsa State are engaged in a battle of wit to decide the running mate to the party’s candidate, Senator Douye Diri, it was learnt on Thursday.

Dickson and other caucus leaders were said to be in agreement that the running mate must have strong personality and required popularity to strengthen Diri, whose public acceptance had remained an issue despite his emergence as a candidate.

It was gathered that the governor was resisting the temptation and pressure to give the position to his former Commissioner for Works, Lawrence Ewrujakpor, who is serving as a Senator representing Bayelsa West at the National Assembly.

There have been insinuations even before the primaries that Dickson was considering Ewrudjakpor, who hails from his senatorial district, for running mate to pave way for him to go to the Senate in case the PDP wins the November 16 governorship election.

But the governor has consistently denied the insinuations on grounds that they were at variance with his character, style of politics and his beliefs in fairness, justice and equity.

Dickson reportedly said it would be unfair, unjust and a recipe for failure to give Sagbama, his local government area, which is at the verge of completing eight years of governorship, a running mate.

A PDP stalwart and member of the caucus, who spoke in confidence, said Dickson would never think that way and would not make such mistake.

“The governor is a smart politician. He cannot make some obvious political errors to satisfy his personal interest.

“There is no way the governor will take the position of the running mate to his local government, which is along the same East-West road with Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area.

“The laws of equity, fairness and justice don’t support it. It is against the equilibrium required to balance things in the polity and the PDP.

“It will be a huge joke and it will amount to insulting the sensibilities of the people,” he said.

It was, however, learnt that the governor was considering Ogbia, the local government area of former President Goodluck Jonathan for the position as a mark of honour and a thank-you package to Jonathan.

Dickson was said to have remained grateful to Jonathan for believing in him in 2012 to fly the flag the party and was bent in rewarding Jonathan’s local government area with the position of a running mate.

Besides, it was gathered that giving the position to Ogbia in Bayels East would help to balance the PDP and give sense of belonging to all party members in view of the core Ijaw and non-core Ijaw sentiment.

Another party chief, who spoke in confidence, said: “The sentiment of core Ijaw and non-core Ijaw is strong in the state. Diri is from Kolokuma-Opokuma, a core Ijaw area and it is only reasonable that his running mate should come from non-Ijaw areas like Ogbia.

“If it goes to another core Ijaw area, the non-core Ijaw in the state will feel sidelined and cheated. In as much as most of us don’t like that concept, it has come to stay and must be considered before any political decision is taken”.

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