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BAYELSA SPEAKER TIPPED AS DEP GOV, 3 IN THE RACE FOR SPEAKER

By NBF News

Barring any last minute change in plan, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Werinipre Seibarugu may emerge the new deputy governor. Investigations revealed that Governor Timipre Sylva, who had been away from the state for a week is likely to return before the Wednesday executive council meeting and would send Seibarugu's name to the House of Assembly.

Seibarugu had led 17 other lawmakers to impeach the former deputy governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi over allegations of gross misconduct.

A competent source disclosed that Seibarugu had emerged favourite among other candidates that included the Commissioner for Youth and Conflict Resolution, Mr. Beks Etifa, his Local Government counterpart, Mr. Waripamowei Dudafa, former commissioner for Education in Bayelsa, Mrs. Agatha Goma and a Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Sylbis Obriki.

According to sources close to Bayelsa State Government House, Seibarugu was able to clinch the position because of his unalloyed loyalty to Sylva's administration, especially when he briefly became the acting governor when Sylva'a election was annulled in 2008.

Checks also indicated that core loyalists of Sylva, who form the nucleus of the New Phase political group had since the commencement of impeachment process against Ebebi, began mobilization to convince stakeholders that Seibarugu be allowed to replace Ebebi because of his level-headedness, simplicity and humility.

The lobbyists were also able to convince those who wanted the position to remain in Bayelsa West, specifically Ekeremor Local Government to alter the power equation in the state and move the deputy governor position to Bayelsa Central, while the position of Speaker of the House would be zoned to Bayelsa West.

Meanwhile, the decision to make Seibarugu the deputy governor had prompted political horse-trading to commence in the House of Assembly with three lawmakers in the race to replace Seibarugu as Speaker.

Sources said the position of Speaker, zoned to Bayelsa Central, was restricted to Sagbama Local Government Area, which automatically means that Ekeremor Local Government where Ebebi hails from had lost out in the power equation in the state.

Reliable sources said Mr. Imomotimi Fanama (Sagbama 1), Mr. Nestor Binabo (Sagbama 2) and Emepre Ebamughan (Sagbama 3) are in the race to be Speaker with the odds favouring the emergence of Fanama.

Though Binabo would have been an ideal choice but a pending case against him in court calling to question his credibility seems to be working against him. Ebamughan chances of becoming Speaker are very slim because of his closeness to Mr. Ndutimi Alaibe, the special adviser to the president of Niger Delta Affairs and chairman of the post-amnesty implementation committee, who is considered a political rival of Sylva.