Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has yet again proven to be more strategic in politics with his recent victory, as his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) once again beat the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the Senatorial election held on December 5. Dickson brushed off the feeble challenge of a former deputy governor of the state, Peremobiwei Ebebi, of (APC) to clinch Bayelsa West Senatorial District seat in the National Assembly.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Ekechukwe, Okeke, Dean of Humanities, Federal University of Technology, Otuoke, returned Dickson as the Senator-elect, having polled 115,257 to defeat his closest opponent, Ebebi, who polled 17541. Also, Dickson was instrumental to the victory of the other PDP candidate from Bayelsa Central and former chairman of the party in the state, Moses Cleopas, who defeated the APC candidates, Abel Ebimobewie. In Yenagoa, results collated by Prof. Chris Onyeama indicated that Moses defeated Ebifemowei with a wide margin, polling 54,390 votes out of the 61,911 accredited votes.x
Dickson, who spoke in his country home of Toru Orua shortly after securing victory, dedicated the win to God, the voters, Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation. He said the mandate was beyond the Sagbama/Ekeremor Senatorial District, but an opportunity to galvanise unity and solidarity in Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation.
He stated that his legislative mission would focus on the pursuit of the imperative of restructuring of the country, which he described as “a task that must be done.” He said he would exploit the opportunity of his contacts to build new bridges of understanding, consolidation of existing bonds and effective networking with critical stakeholders.
The former governor also said that the quest for electoral reforms and a deepened democratic system would command a major aspect of his mission at the Senate. The Senator-elect said he would link up with other Senators to call attention to the mindless rape of the Niger Delta environment by the multinational oil companies.
He said the oil firms have continued to persistently commit environmental terrorism against the people of the oil-bearing communities and even sponsor killings in collusion with their pipeline protection contractors, without sanctions. Dickson noted that he would also focus attention on the police, law and order and justice sector reforms.x
He assured the people of Bayelsa that he would network with friends and contacts to attract development to the state and called on the people to give the necessary support to Governor Douye Diri to deliver on his electoral promises.
He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies for their commendable conduct, which he said was a marked departure from practices in the past. He stated also that the outcome of the election signified a resounding rejection of the APC by the good people of Bayelsa. He, however, invited his opponent, Ebebi, who he described as his brother, to join him in the mission to attract needed development to the area now that the elections have been concluded.
Political watchers and analysts have predicted Dickson’s political trajectory, especially his scheming to be the political colossus of the state, having successfully wrested power from his own godfathers, including the former President Goodluck Jonathan. He is believed to have plotted his graph, using wiling politicians from both divides to achieve his dreams and that of his close allies.
With so much funds from the oil-rich state, Dickson was able create a political dynasty of his own at the expense of infrastructural development and people’s welfare. He was like an emperor, scheming, marauding, planning, and making sure everything went according to his plan, especially at the last year’s guber race, where he defied the party to field his preferred candidate, Diri, who currently presides over the affairs of the state. Although he almost lost it when Diri lost to the APC candidate, David Lyon in 2019.
The leader of the APC and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timi Style, appears to be presiding over a sinking boat. Dickson was alleged to have, through some proxy arrangements in court, intimidated the oppositions’ two candidates by getting court judgments to disqualify them. This is just as APC in the state continues to operate from Abuja, and failing to act as a virile opposition. This gave Dickson and the PDP opportunity to wax strong.
Ironically, the APC failed to take advantage of last year’s overwhelming support from the people, when they voted for the party’s candidates to win at the poll before the court upturned their victory.
Governor Diri has lauded Bayelsans, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies for the peaceful conduct of Bayelsa Central and West Senatorial elections held on Saturday. Diri, while thanking Bayelsans for the confidence reposed in the party, adding that the outcome of the election has shown that voters have made a strong and unequivocal statement.
He said the people voted PDP because they want to “see a continuation of the dynamic and issue-oriented representation that my Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and I championed at the National Assembly.
“The INEC has analised the vote count. I had expressed the hope that not only will the security agencies allow voting to be unhindered, but that the INEC will count the votes and that the votes will count.
“In what has been universally adjudged free, fair and transparent by multiple independent observers, the INEC has declared our two candidates, my illustrious predecessor, the Rt.Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson and Moses Cleopas, as winners of the elections.x
“We cannot thank you enough for your trust and confidence in the PDP. I wish to sincerely thank all Bayelsans, irrespective of their political persuasions, for participating in a transparent and orderly electoral process.
“Indeed, I consider this an early Christmas present, not only because you overwhelmingly endorsed the two outstanding candidates the PDP presented to you, but more importantly because the vast majority of you conducted themselves with decorum and the utmost sensitivity to the electoral protocol.
“It is highly refreshing to note that for the first time, the electoral process in our state was largely peaceful and rancor-free and I wish to thank the INEC, security agencies and all stakeholders for lending their goodwill and respecting the will of the people. We as a people are determined to evolve a non-violent electioneering culture and I am glad we have risen to the occasion.
“It marks a watershed in Bayelsa State. Indeed, we did not only vote for candidates that will represent and present our concerns at NASS, we also voted for a system that allows the best of us to represent the rest of us. It was devoid of the bloodletting and brigandage that has sadly tarnished our democratic experience.
“It is an emphatic endorsement for a united and prosperous Bayelsa. I would therefore like to congratulate our two senators-elect and assure them that the people and government of the state will continue to support them to achieve our collective aspirations.”