As Sylva Flags Off Campaign

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Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State is likely to rank amongst the most discussed governor in Nigeria. So much has been said about him by both supporters and opponents lately. Much expectation follows his every move. As he moves to flag off his re-election campaign at Yenagoa, pundits hope that much of the speculations about will either be proved true or finally laid to rest. As preparation for this flag off got into fever pitch yesterday, I sought the privilege of an advance peek into what awaits the public on this much awaited day. “Good things are happening in Bayelsa State” most of the bustling staff at the Campaign Secretariat will tell you as they rush away. I sought for more than that. Dr George Allen Fente, the celebrated Director of Sylva campaign organization who doubles in a similar roll for the Presidents campaign is busy directing activity. He is a quiet, articulate elder who has seen it all for the past 30 years. When we were ushered into his office, he sized us quietly as we let out our mission. We would want to be obliged a preview of the much awaited event.

At last our request was granted and he came out very slowly but steadily with his voice full of hope. He made us to understand that his team was going ahead with campaign as if the last High Court verdict in the governor's favour did not exist. ”You know the Governor does not work alone. He needs the support of the other elected officers not the least that of the President to excel in office and has to reciprocate by bringing his popularity and influence to bear on the campaign. It is true that the gubernatorial election will not be due until one year but this election will serve a build up to it.”

On the highlight of events for the flag off, he said it would involve mass mobilization of supporters which had been completed. Expected will be solidarity messages from top officials of the party and other stakeholders like businessmen who have benefited from the tranquil business environment in the state since the governor assumed office. The State chairman of the PDP, the sole ruling party since 1999, Chief Darius Obiene will kick off, followed by Dr Fente as well as PDP Executive Council members in order of hierarchy. Protocols will be fully observed considering that National officers of the party are expected to grace the event.

Goodwill messages will come from the PDP working committee. Also expected in this order will be messages from the senatorial districts: Senator Heineken Lopobiri of Bayelsa West is likely to kick off, followed by Senator Paulker Emmanuelof Bayelsa Central and last but not the least, Senator Clever Ikisikpoof Bayelsa East. These hardworking senators and aspirants constitute critical pillars for the election of President Goodluck Jonathan in his home State.

The next group of speakers will include the representatives of the Governor Sylva's cabinet. This segment will be followed closely by solidarity messages from State Assembly, local government chairmen including Hon. Perez Peretu of Sagbama Local Government Council who is said to be one of the grassroots pillars in the State.

Governor Timipre Sylva is widely believed to be the most labour-friendly Governor in Nigeria. So organized labour is not left out of the flag off campaign. The labour leader Comrade Ben Basuo is likely to confirm the labour friendly policies of their Comrade Timipre Sylva as some of them prefer to address the Governor. Not to be left out is the women leaders who had been demanding affirmative action on appointments into the coming cabinet of Timipre Sylva in Bayelsa State.

One of the Women Leaders who is also a Commissioner, is expected to make a solidarity speech at the rally. The woman leader Chief Josephine Izombodor who is also the Commissioner for Education is likely display mobilization skills and oratory. You can almost see the women in their uniforms singing and dancing. As highlights of this gathering, is expected mass decamping of people from the Labour and other opposition party to the PDP. The party has made it clear to all those who intend to move back into its fold to do so now or never to expect easy ride after the election as was hitherto the case. The President also clarified to all that his support would stay with Governor Timipre Sylva and all PDP candidates. So those who wished to work in earnest for the Presidents reelection are expected to declare enmasse for the PDP during this flag off campaign.

Nworisara is a Public Affairs Analyst

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Articles by Nwokedi Nworisara