TENSION MOUNTS IN YENAGOA OVER VACANT ASSEMBLY SEAT
Tension is mounting in Yenagoa over the unresolved issue of the candidate who will contest the vacant Yenagoa constituency 11 seat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
The crisis, according to report, was provoked by the emergence of two leading candidates, Ebipadei Fekoweimo and Bolobo Orufa, both from Obunagha in Gbarian Kingdom. Also, it was gathered that the non-sale of nomination form to another strong contender, Bubaraye Dakolo, had prompted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the elections.
Though news had filtered into Yenagoa that the national leadership of the party had conceded the seat to Governor Timipre Sylva with an order that Orufa's name, who had the backing of a serving senator, be dropped for Fekoweimo, but the insistence by the former, backed with a letter from the National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, indicating that he was the candidate of the party was causing serious ripples.
Investigations revealed that, bothered by the dangerous dimension the issue of the PDP standard bearer was turning to, the paramount ruler, King Funpere Akah and Council of Elders decided to intervene and after a meeting with the Deputy- Governor, Mr. Wenipire Seibarugu, decided to conduct a mini-election between the aspirants including Fekoweimo and Orufa.
When the idea of the mini-election was sold to the aspirants, eight aspirants including Orufa were in support, while Fekoweimo and four others rejected it. At the end of the election, Orufa emerged victorious with King Akah publicly giving him his royal blessing after which the Chairman of the mini-election, Henry Jesse, officially presented him as the candidate of the Gbarain kingdom.
Sources said when Seibarugu was told of the choice of the Gbarain people, he reportedly told them they are entitled to their choice, noting that others including himself are also free to pick the candidate they want to support. Meanwhile Dakolo has insisted that only an honest primaries conducted by the PDP can lead to the emergence of the party's flag bearer.
Decrying the level of desperation on the part of those who want to impose a candidate on the people, Dakolo challenged the national leadership of the party to intervene by ordering the party in the state to conduct transparent primaries. He also urged the party to resolve the status of the party executives in the state so that it can put its house in order and be able to organize delegates' election and primaries for aspirants.
On the mini-election conducted for aspirants from Gbarain, Dakolo who is from Ekpetiama said the results of the election does not represent the wishes of the people. He explained that the elders though with good intention should allow all the aspirants to slug it out in a primary election where the choice of the people would emerge.