Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yenagoa agog as PDP delegates affirm Dickson

THE Samson Siasia stadium in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State will for the second time within three days host a major political gathering as members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, file out today for primary election to select their candidate for the December 5, 2015 governorship election. Unlike the massive security around the sports complex witnessed during the All Progressives Congress, APC primaries, the situation today is expected to be relaxed today as the PDP exercise is seen as a family affair with the delegates only filing out to affirm Governor Seriake Dickson as their consensus candidate for the polls. The incumbent governor is the sole candidate of the party and has been endorsed for a second term by the elders and other stakeholders of the party. Thus, the primary is a mere formality to affirm his candidature as the PDP standard bearer. A total of 4776 delegates among them super delegates, statutory delegates and ad hoc delegates are expected to vote during the primary. The party, it was gathered, settled for the incumbent governor due to his performance and belief that he has the war chest to ward off the threat of the opposition APC. Paulker, Diongolo disqualified, Okoya quits race Senator Emmanuel Paulker and Chief Ebikitin Diongolo, who could have battled for the party ticket with Dickson were disqualified at the party’s zonal screening held in Port Harcourt. jonathan dicksonSenator Paulker, was reportedly disqualified based on non-availability of his Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax clearance certificate from the National Assembly. Chief Ebikitin Diongoli was disqualified based on alleged financial misconduct during his tenure as council chairman in the state. Another aspirant, Arc Reuben Okoya, a protege of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was forced to throw in the towel as the political arena became too hot. His followers were disappointed but he defended his action saying he bowed to party supremacy and loyalty to friendship. He said: “Contrary to the story making the rounds that I was pressured to withdraw by former President Goodluck Jonathan, let it be known that I only respected the publicly stated desire of the party to give its ticket to the incumbent as the person best placed to secure victory for the PDP. I withdrew honourably.” He, however, promised to support the party and ensure its candidate triumph at the polls. Interestingly, before Okoya’s surprise withdrawal, the incumbent governor had enjoyed overwhelming support and endorsement from the elders and other stakeholders in the ruling party. Dickson’s candidature was further boosted during his declaration for second term when Dr Jonathan openly endorsed him citing his performance in the areas of prompt payment of workers’ salary, proper management of state resources without recourse to borrowing, improved infrastructural development and road constructions. Today’s event could therefore be described as a family affair for the party delegates who will be queuing behind Governor Seriake Dickson to reaffirm their confidence in his running of the state. Earlier, the party super delegates had endorsed the governor at a meeting held at Yenagoa residence of the Chairman of the Restoration Campaign Advisory Council and former Governor of the state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. The super delegates numbering over 250, include past and present leaders of the party, political office holders, (elected and appointed) some members of the state Executive council and members of the state House of Assembly, PDP State working committee, and the leadership of the local government councils, predicated their support for the governor on his impressive performance in office. Sources told Vanguard that the choice of the incumbent governor is to save the party from a rancorous primary as witnessed during the APC primary.

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