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Why Sylva May get It.

By Nwokedi Nworisara

“In Yenagoa everybody is somebody, only Jesus is Lord”-Gloria Dede

There is an ongoing political debate for the control of Bayelsa State in Nigeria. The front running political parties have selected candidates. These candidates are busy debating personalities, permitting unverified accusations and counter accusations to go forth from both sides. It is really heating up the polity even in a campaign period as they are wont to say. Yet politics could be better than this if elders can admonish political aspirants to adhere to rules, keep values and appreciate constituted authority necessary to bringing about the possibility of orderly transition of power.

For any aspirant to the office of the governor to claim that his governor is “drowning” is not to be encouraged. This is because such words may even if unintended create the image of an inexistent and weak institution of governance. It also connotes that there is crises in the State which the President calls his home and constitutes an embarrassment to the President. It may reduce the quantum of confidence the voters have if or him if they discover that he needs someone else outside his party to “save” him from this situation. The fact is that the President has a strong support of his people and his State including the Governor whom he helped to pick and Bayelsa State is peaceful and the state is strong enough to help her son become President of Nigeria. Politics and propaganda is not distortion of facts. It is rather the utilization of facts to support ones own viewpoints. This is how it should be in every State as well as Nigeria in General.

Of course there is another school of political thought that subscribes to the view that the healthy political debates or mudslinging going on in Bayelsa State is good for democracy; more so when it is regulated. However, in Nigeria, regulation is often farfetched owing to enforcement difficulties. This school holds that it is good to see the leading candidates throw brickbats at each other so that we can resolve peacefully all issues that if bottled up may lead to violence. I subscribe to value laden moderation. For instance the Ijaw leaders can play a role here to ensure that such debate does not degenerate or create bad image for Nigeria, Bayelsa State, and the Ijaw nation- all of which will negatively affect their individual and collective fortunes. Aggrieved candidates must exercise restraint guided by the following guidelines:

1.To ensure that the credibility of the President is not dragged into the mud.

2. To ensure that the stature of the State in the Federation is not diminished

3. Ensure that the office of the Governor is given due respect by citizens of the State as civic duty demands.

It is in the best interest of political aspirants and incumbents to preserve the State they wish to govern. It is also their best interest not to damage the position they aspire to occupy. It is one of the travesties of our national political discuss for opponents to wish to destroy the image of the position they wish to occupy. If you do not recognize the occupant of an office, why would you want to aspire to it? If you win the election, you may need to bow to that office for a hand over ceremony. You need the occupant to hand you the relay baton only at the finish line of the first lap. You cannot take over the baton inside the first lap so you have to wait praying that the runner does not drown in his sweat and has enough energy to finish the race.

If in my estimation most people in the Niger delta recognize the contribution of the President to development now and n the immediate future then they would rather support his leadership and aspirations. Considering that the opportunities open to the Niger Delta and Bayelsa with his aspiration is unprecedented, why would not the people of Bayelsa follow his choices or those of his party? Would it not amount to dividing his camp for loyalty to shift away from his party, his governor and his aspiration?

I am writing this article because I have been in Yenagoa now for a while on a first hand visit to access the political and developmental situation in the state. I am aware that the President has the support of both the incumbent Governor and his challengers through their public statements. So there appears to be a spiritual consensus on this matter across party platform in the State. It remains on how best to reach the desired goal practically. Opinions differ. A party candidate believes the President can still be elected if the electorate votes for his different party for governor and for the Presidents party in the Presidential election. This argument is predicated on the fact that his party was not fielding a Presidential candidate and that Parties are not any longer as important at this stage of voting.

The other side of the incumbent insists that the party was the engine room needed for the President to win and that the governor was important in this process. The challenger would have none of it arguing that he would save the President from the “embarrassing “situation at home. Coincidentally the President was at home this weekend to witness the chieftaincy ceremony for his wife at home town Otuoeke and launched the fund raising effort of the Federal University cited there. It didn't look as if he was avoiding home for reasons of “insecurity” or “embarrassment”, instead he told television reporters that decampees from his party would no longer receive kid glove treatment in the event they wanted to come back after the elections.

On the widely publicized “Sylva's strides”, I tried to capture the major change in the state as policy revolution. For the first time since the creation of the state, there is now a process of doing things, of getting paid for contractual obligations, of budgeting, of everything. The days of cash handouts are over and particularly this is a sore point for the opponents of the incumbent because they could not imagine a Bayelsa where cash flow is not happening on the streets. As for the governor he undertook a very politically unpopular and quiet reform of values, of attitudes of his people. Part of what he changed was the culture of hero worshipping that had taken root whereby the governor is the bread winner of the whole people.hey sing with his name and inscribed it in trees in return for cash handouts. He believed that his work will fight for him, but he was wrong as he has recently admitted. If you wait for your work to speak for you, then you would have left here and now before it manifests and even at that others will have claimed the glory.

In politics, you must determine and struggle to rub in the yardstick for which you will be judged. In a chaotic political system we run where choice is subject only to the lining of your pocket, it is too costly for the citizens to come out to even express themselves. Here it is the role of the office holder to speak both for himself and for the masses. Don't get me wrong here, it is not the ideal situation but we have no other way under this political today's structuring. So the role of the media is a bit enlarged in our political system.

Now that the world is beginning to be made aware of the true state of affairs in Bayelsa state, it is to my judgment clear enough to watchers that Governor Sylva has an edge over his challengers in the coming elections. This conclusion is coming from the analysis f the facts on the ground to the effect that he has performed creditably in his assignment. Sylva's victory is the Presidents triumph. This is more so because of the low level of literacy of literacy of the majority of voters in the State making it more difficult to differentiate between the parties if people must vote otherwise. It is safer and more productive not to sacrifice the Presidents ambition which most of the candidates appear to support. It also not acceptable to embarrass the President by way of denigrating the State or her constituted authority since it may negatively affect the whole idea of holding the April elections in an orderly manner. Any of the above situation may also affect the chance of loses staking out for appointive position in the coming dispensation.

Mr. Nworisara is a Public Policy consultant.

Your Comment

[email protected] | 2/9/2011 2:01:00 PM
This ranting about the party without any mention of the people that the party ought to serve is a desecration of the essential components of true democracy. This write -up wreaks of overt sycophancy and depicts the writer as an enemy of the masses. Its a shame that writers such as this deploy their vast intellectuality to decimate the very masses they ought to serve.