[EDITORIAL] Bayelsa Senatorial Elections: Degi, Dickson’s Ambition And Charter Of Equity

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Inequities in the different spheres of our society, obviously, touched a political analyst, Oliver Okpala to write on ‘Charter of Equity: Path to Enthronement of Fairness in Our Polity’ in the Thisday of September 15, 2016.

In the said publication, Okpala pointed out that politics is essentially a game of distribution and sharing of interest. He said that no person, group likes to be short-changed in the process, adding that everybody wants his interest to be protected.

These sentiments re-echoes when one ponders on the intrigues and manoeuvres that have enveloped Bayelsa State as the forthcoming general elections draw near.

 Bayelsa Senatorial Elections: Degi, Dickson's Ambition And Charter Of Equity
Senator Seriake Dickson

The political atmosphere in Bayelsa state is getting charged. Some politicians in the State, as in other States, have started scheming either to retain their seats or jettison political arrangements that have not only glued their people together but have existed for many years.

There are zoning arrangements by many political blocs within States. The tendency has always been very high among politicians to frustrate, truncate or jettison these arrangements for selfish interests. The truth remains that when any attempts made to change the agreements of a people whether written or unwritten have the potency of generating disunity, rancour, acrimony, recriminations and bitterness.

It is common knowledge that in Bayelsa state, almost all the elective offices in the State are rotated amongst Local Government Areas, Communities and Zones. The people of the State have always stuck to fair arrangements since the inception of the present political dispensation.

Because they have strong believe in these agreements, it is assumed that politicians should naturally abide by such understanding which has always sustained the peace in the State.

There are however emerging signals that this age-long agreement may be altered as both the Senator representing the Bayelsa East Senatorial District Senator Biobarkuma Degi-Erimieyo and Senator Henry Seriake Dickson representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District seem to be plotting their return to the red chamber against an existing arrangement in their Senatorial Zones.

 Bayelsa Senatorial Elections: Degi, Dickson's Ambition And Charter Of Equity
Senator Biobarkuma Degi-Erimieyo

It is curious that even though the duo are beneficiaries of the zoning system, information has it that they have started consulting quietly and reaching out to those people they believe can further their course.

The rumour is rife that Senator Degi who is from the same Senatorial District with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Mr Timipre Sylva, is already being given the green light by the Minister to aspire for a second term against an existing arrangement of rotation.

Bayelsa East is the home of former President Goodluck Jonathan and a good number of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bigwigs as well formidable stalwarts from the All Progressive Congress (APC). This is besides the presence of other politicians who are trying to keep the State as their party stronghold even as those in APC are also working hard to make a positive impact in the entire State.

In Bayelsa East Senatorial District, the Senatorial seat is usually rotated among the three Local Government Areas of Ogbia, Nembe and Brass that make up the Senatorial district.

The Senatorial District has always stuck to a one tenure agreement, but from the activities of the serving Senator, there is the likelihood that he may attempt a second shot at the Red Chamber as he has started consulting widely against the wish of the people of the Senatorial District.

According to the Zoning arrangement, it should be the turn of Ogbia LGA to produce the next Senator from the Senatorial District.

Right from 1999 starting from Chief Melford Okilo, who hails from Ogbia, he did one tenure and handed over to Chief Inatimi Spiff from Brass LGA in 2003, who also did one tenure and handed over to Senator Amange from Nembe LGA in 2007, he served only one tenure.

Thereafter the baton returned to Ogbia with Senator Clever Ikisikpo doing only a tenure in 2011 and back to Brass in 2015 with Senator Ben Murray Bruce also serving a single tenure. The position then returned to Nembe where Senator Degi is currently serving and nursing the ambition of a second term against the previous arrangement.

It is on record that in 2015 the then Senator representing Bayelsa East, Senator Clever Ikisikpo, made an attempt to truncate the arrangement and go for a second tenure, but he was bluntly rejected by the people despite being an ally of the then serving President, Goodluck Jonathan.

A socio-Political group in the area the Ogbia Brotherhood, is said to be a very strong advocate of the rotation policy being practiced in the Senatorial District since 1999. The group has made it difficult for the gentlemanly arrangement not to be altered over the years.

Based on the sentiment of rotating the Senate seat among the three LGA’s, there is an uneasy calm over the rumoured plan by Senator Degi to recontest for a second term on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Because of this apprehension, there is already fear that if APC presents Senator Degi as its candidate in the general election against an Ogbia candidate, APC will, no doubt, loose the seat to PDP.

Also in Bayela West Senatorial District, the same scenario seems to be playing out as there are fears that the serving Senator and former Governor of the State, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson may want to return to the Red Chamber.

Already the Ekeremor People have challenged Governor Douye Diri to remain committed to the existing agreement on rotation in the Bayesa West Senatorial District which is made of Sagbama and Ekeremor LGAs.

Senator Henry Seriake Dickson is from Sagbama. Expectedly a candidate from Ekeremor should represent the senatorial district in the next election whether in APC or PDP.

The expectation of majority of the people is that just like Former President Goodluck Jonathan excercised the moral obligation of jettisoning the ambition of kinsman Senator Clever Ikisikpo from Ogbia in 2015 and throwing his support behind Senator Ben Bruce, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and Senator Henry Seriake Dickon should also exhibit that high level of moral obligation as political leaders in their respective zones.

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