Bayelsa Decides: Violence Heightens As Dickson, Sylva Battle


SAN FRANCISCO, January 09, (THEWILL) – There has been reports of violence in Ekeremor, Bayelsa as suspected militants took over the community, unleashing mayhem and attacking former Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rt. Hon. Boyelayefa Debekeme.

Brandishing dangerous weapons including guns, machetes and cudgels, the marauders ignored the presence of security operatives and descended on Rt. Hon. Debekeme and others with machetes and other weapons.

Chairman of Ekeremor local government, Hon. Billy Tobiye and the PDP ward agent, Tams Alari as well as other notable members of the PDP were also attacked, but the traditional ruler of Ekeremor, HRH Agbodo Gbaseimo barely escaped.

Debekeme received deep machete cuts on his head and other parts of his body, while Tams Alari and Billy Tobiye were beaten to stupor by the rampaging militants who claimed to be acting the script of their master.

Rt. Hon. Debekeme is said to be receiving treatment at a hospital in Torugbene, while Alari and Tobiye are receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Bomadi, Delta state.

THEWILL recalls that the house of the Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Benson Friday Konbowei, in Korkosei, Southern Ijaw Local Government, was also recently attacked and bombed.

The recent acts of violence in the state has been linked to the Governorship tussle between Timipre Sylva of the APC, and Seriake Dickson of the PDP.

For the third time in two months, both men go head-to-head in the last round of the Bayelsa Gubernatorial election.

Analysts believe that a winner will emerge on Saturday unlike the situation in the last two contests.

The governorship election, first held on December 5, 2015, was moved to December 6 in Southern Ijaw local government by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), because the exercise could not hold there due to violence.

INEC, displeased by the spate of violence cancelled the exercise in the local government on Monday December 7 and declared the entire election inconclusive.

Thus far, incumbent Dickson has recorded a significant lead, with 105,748 votes to Sylva's 71,794 votes from results in seven of the eight local governments in the state with 120,827 voters registered in the pending Ijaw local government.

If things go as planned, it is either Dickson defeats Sylva again, as he did in 2012, or Sylva overthrows Dickson. But who says another cancellation is unlikely?

Oputah David