If the events that unfolded before the Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State were anything to go by, they clearly indicated a deep division in the state chapter of the PDP that ultimately led to its dismal outing during the polls.
The opposition APC had never made any impressive outing in Bayelsa until now; but analysts believed that the recent growing indifference of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to show commitment to the success of the PDP might have contributed to the turn of events.
Outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson had reportedly hijacked the PDP’s machinery and in the process sidelined the former president and his allies in the scheme of things, all in a move to have his chosen candidate as successor.
Governor Dickson was said to have singlehandedly bankrolled the party’s candidate and jettison the age long rotation arrangement between the three senatorial districts of the state.
From his body language and comments at various times, the Governor Dickson had exhibited “uncommon confidence” of winning the election for the PDP ahead of the expiration of his second term without the support of his godfather Jonathan and others.
While the former president was travelling across Africa and beyond monitoring elections on behalf of regional and global bodies, Dickson was said to have worked and pocketed the party.
This pitched him against the former president as well as other PDP stakeholders in the state.
Speculations about the possibility of the former president supporting David Lyon of the APC instead of Senator Douye Diri of the PDP was widespread.
Jonathan had wanted Chief Timi Alaibe, a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as PDP candidate but Dickson kicked, and instead, the governor supported Senator Diri, a member of his ‘Restoration Family,’ who eventually picked the ticket.
The fallout of the PDP governorship primary also led to the defection of Jonathan’s close allies to the opposition APC which signalled the beginning of PDP problems in the election.
Most of the former president allies who dumped the PDP party were from Ogbia Local Government Area and they included Senator Nimi Amange; Chief Robert Ajala Enugha; immediate past chairman of the Environmental Sanitation Board under Seriake Dickson’s government, Mr Claudius Inegesi, and Mr Michael Ogiasa, special adviser to Governor Dickson on power development.
They all declared their support to the APC and its candidate, Chief Lyon, a development that ultimately led to his success.
The open support for the APC candidate by the former president’s mother also gave credibility to the speculations that Jonathan and his kinsmen were out to confront Governor Dickson and his candidate in the election.
Similarly, Jonathan’s closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the outcome of which was not made known also heightened speculations.
Finally, the role of the Minister of State for Petroleum and former Bayelsa governor, Timipre Sylva could not be wished away as it gave the APC the needed push to grab Bayelsa.
Sylva who was denied second term by Jonathan had always put the PDP on its toes during elections in the state.