Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State is all but dead and buried and lacks the political presence at the ward, council and state levels to win the November 16, 2019, governorship election.
Speaking at a meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants and leaders at Government House, Yenagoa, yesterday, Dr. Jonathan noted that the large number of aspirants on the PDP platform “speaks volumes” of the party as the preferred platform for elections.
The former president and the state governor, Seriake Dickson, held a closed-door meeting with aspirants and leaders of the party at the Government House. Though nothing filtered out of the meeting, indications emerged that the two leaders are looking at ways to harmonize the aspirants to avoid rancor after the primaries.
However, a statement after the meeting by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the former president as saying the PDP had all it takes to win landslide in the forthcoming ballot. According to him, it is important for the PDP to get its acts together, so that it would not create room for opportunistic platforms to steal the party’s victory.
His words: “I need to plead with all the aspirants and political leaders that there should be no mudslinging. We must free the space and eschew rancor because finally one person will become the candidate of the party, and for that one person to win the election, all aspirants must work for that person.”
For Dickson, the large number of governorship aspirants only shows PDP’s democratic nature and style of leadership. He called on the national leadership to complement the effort of the state in providing a level-playing ground for all the aspirants.
In another development, a PDP group known as the Integrity Group has disagreed with Dickson over the voting pattern for the September 3 governorship primaries of the party in the state. In a statement, the group’s coordinator, Tony Ile, assured that no aspirant would remove the chairmen and councilors from office after emerging as governor in 2020.
Dickson had, during the presentation of party flags to the candidates for the council election, insisted that the chairmen and the 105 councilors, who are automatic delegates, should vote for aspirants under his Restoration Group. But the Integrity Group faulted the governor’s position and called on the delegates to disregard the position.
The group urged the delegates to vote according to their consciences during the primaries, arguing that the development of the state and the empowerment of all indigenes should be the primary consideration.