A few days from now, Bayelsans will file out to vote. They would be voting to elect a new governor who would be entrusted with the management of their affairs.
No doubt, the race is between the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Across the State anxiety is mounting. So is tension too, but the excitement is gradually building in the creeks, in the communities and the State capital as the political parties get out their message and show very strong presence.
Overnight, Senator Douye Diri of the PDP and Chief David Lyon of the APC have become household names peddled by campaigners on both sides of the political divide.
One of them, when voters decide the direction, will govern the State in the next four years.
Who will it be?
No one is sure. While some analysts predict that the PDP might pull the rung under the feet of the APC, given its understanding of the political terrain, others insist 2019 may turn out to be the year of the APC in Bayelsa State.
From all indications, the die is cast. Across the State, open air campaigns are currently going on. Before now, most of it had been underground in order to evade INEC’s radar.
Under the law, candidates who beat the referee’s whistle are liable to face stiff punishment, including disqualification.
With a few days to go, the APC and the PDP are facing internal rifts.
While Timi Alaibe, an aspirant in the PDP primaries is reportedly in court, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and Preye Aganaba, both in the APC are similarly in court.
Alaibe insists that credible primaries did not take place. Accordingly, he is purportedly asking the court to nullify the primaries.
Should Alaibe succeed, then the PDP would not have any candidate.
The Committee set up in the State has been unable to make the peace.
Governor Dickson reportedly met with King Turner, a close Jonathan supporter to see if he could broker the peace.
Efforts to get elders like former President Olusegun Obasanjo to get Alaibe to back off hasn’t worked either.
On the other divide, while Senator Heineken Lokpobiri of the APC is asking the court to declare him winner, Preye Aganaba is insisting like Timi Alaibe that no primary held in Bayelsa State.
Our findings show that the State Governor drafted by the APC to conduct the primaries in Yenagoa was not the one who returned the outcome of the primaries.
He is believed to have left Bayelsa a night before the primaries.
This lacunae created by his alleged absence is equally being exploited by Aganaba in the suit he filed.
The courts, including the Supreme Court, have averred in other cases that the authenticity of a result could be called to question if the one who is supposed to handle the return is not the one who makes such a declaration.
Inspite of mounting pressure on Lokpobiri to abandon the case, Lokpobiri has remained in court.
Petitions written by the Sylva faction urging the President of the Court to move the case to Abuja, citing alleged security threats in Bayelsa, have not worked.
Insiders reveal that the plan by Sylva supporters may be to see if hearing can be deferred until after the November elections.
Meanwhile, hearing in the matterbrought by Lokpobiri is however fixed for the 4th of November, 2019.
Despite discordant notes that are coming from the major parties, the beat goes on.
Unlike previous elections which could be easily predicted, this year’s gubernatorial election which would be held in Bayelsa in a couple of days is too close to call.
The two leading parties insist they have what it takes to win. Ultimately, voter preferences would determine who wins in the end.
Officially, Bayelsa has eight local government areas. They are Brass, Nembe, Southern Ijaw and Ogbia Local Government Areas.
Others are Sagbama, Ekeremor, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa Local Government Areas.
What does the situation in Bayelsa look like from a local government to local government perspective?
Below is Telegraph’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the APC and the PDP:
Brass Local Govt Area:
The Brass Local Government Area which is by the Atlantic, is the home base of Timi Sylva, the Petroleum Minister.
In the past the area has gravitated in the direction of the APC.
Given the spate of movements from the PDP to the APC in Brass, if an election were to be held today, the APC would completely sweep the polls. Some of those who used to sustain pockets of resistance such as Bimo, Chief of the Cameron House in Twon have dumped the PDP
Nembe is comprised primarily of Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri. A bridge separates the two parts of Nembe.
Nembe, a stronghold of the PDP appears shaky. It has witnessed a lot disenchantment, especially among PDP members.
Among those who have dumped the PDP is Senator Amangi, Chief James Jephter who goes by the name of the Octopus
The PDP may be counting on the influence of the current Deputy Governor to guarantee its electoral fortunes in Nembe.
Jonah has been reportedly under pressure by his friends to dump the PDP, but he has opted to stay where he is.
Following his rejection in the governorship pick by Dickson, most Nembe people are increasingly looking forward to greater ties with Brass where Sylva is operating.
Besides, they have something to vote for. The APC’s running mate is from Ogbolomabiri. The offer made should count as the State draws close to an election.
Signals emerging from that Local Government Area suggests the APC is likely to cruise to victory by a probability margin of about 70% to 30%.
Ogbia has been voting for the PDP for as long as anyone can remember. The PDP ought to invest so much hope here, but circumstances have turned Ogbia into an area that’s about to swing support elsewhere.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan is from here. Ordinarily, anyone who has the back of the former President is supposed to carry the Ogbia LGA.
The PDP has a huge problem. The alleged face-off between the former President and Governor Seriake Dickson is yet to be settled. This ought to hurt the PDP’s vote hunt in the area.
Beyond the Jonathan factor, there is the Ogbia Brotherhood which has always been a strong political force in the area right from the days of Chief Melford Okilo, former Governor of Rivers State.
If the Brotherhood and their son, Jonathan as well as his friends are on the same page, what might likely result is the defeat of the PDP candidate.
To get out of political bad waters in Ogbia, the PDP must embark on a quick fix reconciliation plan. It does not appear that the plea of PDP governors who visited Jonathan in Abuja is working.
On paper, the APC looks good enough to win the LGA, except the PDP is able to achieve speedy reconciliation.
This LGA is the most populated of the eight LGAs in Bayelsa.
The volume of votes at stake make the area a must-win-for-all-the-parties.
David Lyon, the APC candidate is from this LGA. He is believed to have successfully sponsored the victorious member of the National Assembly from the area.
Most of the time, votes are hijacked in Southern Ijaw. Not many political actors believe the trend would change as Bayelsa heads to elect a governor.
Southern Ijaw would be a battle ground, no doubt about that. The PDP would seek to ensure that the votes don’t get out while the APC would be determined to protect same at all cost.
Comparatively, the APC appears to have the backing of some of the most daring ex-militants like BoyLoaf, Ogunbus, Afrika and Machivie.
These persons are reportedly working round the clock for a Lyon victory.
There is a 70-30% probability chance that the APC may grab a majority of Southern Ijaw votes.
Sagbama Local Government Area is the home base of the outgoing Governor, Seriake Dickson. Dickson hails from Toru-Orua community in Sagbama.
He has been governor for eight years and chances are he may be in a strong position to swing the vote in favour of Douye Diri, the PDP candidate.
There are persons in the opposition who may want to stand up to the Governor on election day. But, on ground Dickson is strong and would be in a position to repel their efforts.
This is one LGA that APC may not be able to win. PDP has more than 60% chance of winning Sagbama.
Ekeremor would be interesting to watch. Heineken Lokpobiri hails from here. He is in court challenging the candidate of his own party. There are people who would have wished that Ekeremor would produce the next governor. That hasn’t happened, so they bear a grouse against the APC.
Within the PDP family, there is anger over the way Dickson manipulated Timi Alaibe out of contention. In a bid to teach Diri a lesson some of them have quit the PDP.
One of such is Rt. Hon. Ebebi, a former Speaker and Deputy Governor of the State. He and his supporters have thrown in their lot behind Sylva and the APC.
But the situation in Ekeremor is fluid. The APC and the PDP are pushing strongly to convince voters to back their candidates.
It would turn out to be a battle ground. In 2015, there was an attack on Lokpobiri’s compound.
In 2019, the picture is not exactly as it was then. But from every indication, the outcome of the elections in Ekeremor may be too close to call.
This LGA has heavy-weights.
This is the base of both Douye Diri and Timi Alaibe.
Diri is from Sampou
Among politic-ians,many agree that Alaibe is more rugged.
Somehow, his legendary popularity did not result in a win when the the time came.
Alaibe remains very angry over his treatment and so are his supporters too. On election day, sentiments arising from the emergernce of a candidate from the area might be at play.
Most friends of Alaibe are working for the APC despite the member-ship of thePDP by their boss.
Diri ought to win his base, but he would need to overcome Alaibe on the home turf.
The APC would be counting on decampees like Ibikiton Diongoli. Diongoli is a well known grassroots politician who was once a councillor.
He is reputed to have a strong following. Together with others who think it is time to checkmate the PDP, the ruling party in the State would need to watch it
Our prediction is that the outcome of an election in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area would be too close to call if it were to be held today.
Yenagoa has repeatedly hosted the PDP, turning out over the years, to be a no-go-area for other parties. According to statistics, Yenagoa may not be the most populous LGA, but it has the largest number of registered votes at this time.
The APC candidate, David Lyon lives in Yenagoa. So, he enjoys pockets of support from all those who are pulling away from the PDP.
Coffins declaring the burial of the PDP were conveyed along the streets of Yenagoa the other day, but our findings suggest the PDP still has a strong grasp of Yenagoa.
While some analysts are of the view that the elections here would be too close to call, our prediction is that the PDP is likely to secure victory in the State capital.
As the D-Day draws close, more voters on the fence are making up their minds on how to vote. This may have marginal effects on the outcome of the elections in Bayelsa State
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