Seriake Dickson
Seriake Dickson

Despite being the incumbent governor, he is going into the December 5 governorship election with so much uncertainty. Things have obviously changed from the 2011 scenario when he literarily strolled into the Government House. EMMA ALOZIE looks at those factors that have constituted a clog in the wheel of the governor’s electoral progress PERHAPS, nothing suggested to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state when he was taking oath of office in 2011 that he would be facing such an uphill task in his reelection bid. But that is the nature of politics; unpredictable and dynamic. Unlike in 2011, Governor Dickson will not be going into the December 5, 2015 governorship election with even 50% certainty of victory even if he gets the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s nod to fly its flag. That is how precarious the situation is. Bayelsa, one of the smallest states in Nigeria can be described as the state with the greatest political fluidity. No governor has successfully completed a second term in office and the political quicksand in the state keeps shifting with the tides. Depending on who you are listening to, accessing the performance of Governor Dickson in the over three years he has held sway as the governor of the state may be difficult. His loyalists, who are thinning out by the day will tell you that he has changed the face of infrastructural development in the state. They will readily point to some projects by the governor. “My government has completed big projects like the Toru-Ebeni bridge, Ogbia/Nembe road, the road to Boro Town and the building of several secondary and primary schools across the state gulping about N23 billion,” the governor told some Bayelsa elders recently. On the other hand, his critics, who are on the increase by the day are more vociferous in shouting that the governor has failed incomparably. To them, the governor is running a government of cronyism, where his concentration is on himself and his immediate family members. A group known as Bayelsa Democracy and Development Initiative recently came out to warn the PDP that shout it field the governor as its candidate, it risks losing the forthcoming election. The coordinator  of the group, Konrad Welson said their opposition was informed by the field research and survey the group conducted recently in the state. The group said, “We conducted a field research and survey with the findings showing that a good percentage of people of the state are not favourably disposed to the re-election bid of the state governor. “The state of affairs is as a result of what the people perceive as a failure to live up to the expectations of the people in electing him (Dickson) in 2011, coupled with his hostile and divisive leadership style and that being the flag bearer of the PDP may lead to the loss of the party in the state.” The greatest headache of the governor is how to bolster his sagging image amongst Bayelsa voters. The recent political events in the country that saw the man that single handedly installed him as a governor lose election has left many guessing on whether it’s a blessing or a stumbling block on the path of the embattled governor to reelection. Before former President Goodluck Jonathan went into the 2015 election, there were speculations that the relationship between Governor Dickson the Mrs Jonathan had fallen apart. The former first lady resigned as a permanent secretary and many of her loyalists in Dickson’s government were booted out. This no doubt precipitated anxiety in Dickson’s camp that should the former president win election, he might opt for another candidate ahead of Dickson. The governor was once quoted to have said, “I only fear and respect God, it is only God I can bow down for, I will never bow down for anybody no matter who the person is.” This statement was interpreted to be referring to the Jonathans in their heir days at the Presidency. The relationship was managed till the time Jonathan lost election. Jonathan’s loss opened another window of speculations that Govenor Dickson rejoiced, popped Champaign and boasted that the only person who could have stopped his reelection had fallen by the way side. Though nobody has been able to prove the authenticity of this allegation, but the reluctance of the former president to throw his weight behind Dickson’s reelection seems to give more credence to a soured relationship. If Dickson and his loyalists jubilated over the loss of Jonathan, what they did not factor in is that the loss would certainly work against the PDP. As the president of Nigeria, he was the de facto leader of the party in Nigeria, Bayelsa inclusive and with his loss, the PDP has lost grip and this is witnessed in the gale of defections from the PDP to the APC. The indiscriminate expulsion and suspension of many PDP members by the Dickson faction of the party in the, the party is said to be so fragmented and may go into the election with less strength. Though the elders of the party have vowed to intervene and find amicable solution, the fracture is said to be so deep. Chief Diepreye Alamieyesigha, former governor of the state said recently said that the elders would intervene. According to the former governor “Some members of the party that were expelled did not do well, from evidence available they sponsored opposition parties against their own party and no party will accept that. “We shall review them, the state working committee will sit down and review it on individual basis. Some of them will be reprimanded, some will be admonished and at the end of the day, I think the matter will be resolved amicably. PDP in the state is ready to take them back. “We are operating a party democracy and as long as you are a product of a party, the party is supreme, so you must respect the party. If members sabotage the party, it must have a mechanism to discipline erring members,” he said. Reconciling the aggrieved members of the party may be a softer landing for both the party and the governor, but the road ahead promises to be very rough for the governor, his incumbency factor notwithstanding. He is built like a warrior and he is Ijaw, a tribe not known for cowardice, but election is far from the physical appearance of a contestant.

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