DISQUIET IN BAYELSA PDP OVER DICKSON'S RUNNING MATE
There is anxiety in the camp of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Henry Seriake Dickson, over the emergence of his running mate, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (retd).
The brewing crisis is being compounded by moves by Governor Timipre Sylva's loyalists to frustrate the candidature of Dickson by bombarding the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with petitions against the latter.
Investigations revealed that in the course of the onslaught against Sylva, a former commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under his administration, so that he could emerge as the running mate.
Since he was declared winner of the November 19 governorship primary election, Dickson has been under intense pressure from various stakeholders in his restoration team and lately, the newly inaugurated PDP elders forum that have been lobbying for their candidates.
However, Dickson was said to have consulted some critical stakeholders and he zeroed on Jonah believed to have been nominated by a close confidant of the Presidency. The calculation of Dickson's strategists in picking Jonah was not only that he is from Bayelsa East but because of his intelligence, which they concluded would be an asset to the Dickson administration. Those angry with his emergence argued that Jonah was not part of the plot to ease out Sylva, since he was not a practicing politician, having pulled out of the Navy in 2010 and, therefore, did not deserve being picked as the running mate.
Sylva's loyalists,' cashing in on the seeming crisis in the camp dragged Dickson to the EFCC over financial transactions conducted during his tenure as Attorney-General and commissioner for justice. Chief Duduku Ekiodiribo, who sent the petition to the EFCC through his lawyer, AUO Japan, prayed the anti-graft agency to investigate financial proposals made to the government from the Ministry of Justice when Dickson was commissioner.
But the Director- General of Dickson Campaign Organization, Restoration Team, Mr Fred Agbedi said he was not aware whether any petition had been sent to the EFCC against the governorship candidate. He also denied there was friction in the camp, noting that there was no problem over who became running mate. Agbedi explained that since their job as a campaign organization ended with the emergence of Dickson as the candidate, the national secretariat of the party would soon inaugurate the governorship campaign organization for campaigns to commence in all the local governments of Bayelsa State.
Reacting to Sylva's claim that INEC acceptance of the name of Dickson was a defiance to a court order, INEC submitted that there was no court order, restraining the commission from accepting PDP candidate submitted by the national leadership of the party. Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Professor Atahiru Jega, noted that the commission was not aware of any subsisting order restraining it, but a motion on notice: 'INEC is not aware of any court order; apart from that, there is a subsisting provision in the Electoral Act 2011 as amended that says that INEC shall not reject the names of nominees from the political parties.'
'Is there any court order? We are aware of a motion in court and not of any court injunction.'