Bayelsa 2015: Seriake Dickson vs. Timipre Sylva | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bayelsa 2015: Seriake Dickson vs. Timipre Sylva

Posted: Dec 5, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ayodeji Ajayi


Oil-rich Bayelsa State will on Saturday, December 5, 2015 witness an unusual movement of human and vehicular traffic, as well as a feverish political temperature as a large number of eligible voters troop to the various polling stations across the state to cast their votes for their preferred candidates.

The incumbent Governor, Seriake Dickson of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is his party’s sole candidate and he is seeking election for a second term of four years.

It is noteworthy that of the 20 contestants in the Bayelsa 2015 governorship race which promises to be a stiff competition, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which is the main opposition party in Bayelsa, is the candidate Dickson cannot afford to either ignore or take for granted for whatever reason. If Dickson under-rates Sylva, it could be at his peril. In essence, as far as the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa is concerned, Dickson and Sylva are the two serious contestants to watch.

However, as the situation is now, it is difficult to determine who is a head ahead of the other until an indisputable winner emerges.

Sylva and Dickson

Sylva and Dickson

Since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) authorized the candidates to commence their campaigns, not much has been heard from the direction of the other political parties and their respective candidates whereas Dickson and Sylva have continuously been effectively criss-crossing the nooks and crannies of the state urging eligible voters to vote for them.

The election has since Dickson and Sylva emerged as candidates of their respective parties been generating a lot of interest and political heat among not only Bayelsans but also other Nigerians across the country.

Not many are surprised that Dickson and Sylva, compared with the other governorship candidates, have continued to be the cynosure of all eyes at campaign grounds across Bayelsa.

It is a fact that as far as Bayelsa politics is concerned, Dickson and Sylva have paid their dues over the years, especially judging by their sterling leadership qualities, as well as individual contributions to the political and socio-economic development of Bayelsa State.

It would be recalled that Dickson and Sylva used to be members of the PDP. When Sylva was the Governor of Bayelsa State between 2007-2011 and when Dickson was a member of the House of Representatives. During the period, the duo related well but the cordial relationship between them became frosty and they have since become political enemies.

During the early part of the tenure of Sylva as Governor, there was a pleasant and enviable relationship between him and the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a fellow Bayelsan and former Governor of Bayelsa. But the wonderful relationship between the duo later went sour and this eventually led to the failure of Sylva to get the former president’s much-needed support for his much-desired second term bid.

It is not surprising that since he left office as governor unceremoniously in 2011 having failed to receive necessary support for his second term bid, the relationship between Sylva and Jonathan is yet to be normalized. They are still political enemies.

In 2011, Sylva’s political loss instantly became Dickson’s political gain. Having withdrawn his tremendous political support for Sylva, Jonathan put his heavy political weight behind his then new-found political godson, Seriake Dickson who later became the Governor of Bayelsa.

Since in Nigerian politics, anything is possible, the so-called cordial relationship between Jonathan and Dickson was short-lived. Same was also applicable to the relationship between the immediate former First Lady, Patience Jonathan and Dickson to the extent that later, she gave up the controversial appointments Dickson had earlier given her to further show that relationship between the then First Family had collapsed irreparably.

It was for this particular reason that right–thinking watchers of political events in Bayelsa were not surprised that long before Jonathan and Patience left office on May 29, 2015, relationship between them and Dickson had fallen apart. Dickson was unfortunate not to realize early enough that the whip Jonathan used to deal with Sylva in 2011 was still dangling on the rooftop and that whenever the need arose, the same whip could be used to deal with him (Dickson) whenever he attempted to seek election for second term.

It was not surprising that ahead of the March 11, 2015 presidential election, speculations were rife in certain quarters that in view of the frosty relationship between Jonathan/Patience and Dickson, if Jonathan won the presidential election, there was likelihood that he would not support the re-election bid of Dickson.

When Jonathan lost the presidential election to Muhammadu Buhari of APC, Dickson was in a dilemma. He was not sure of Jonathan’s support since the relationship between them was like that of cat and mouse. But he cannot afford to antagonize President Buhari whose political party had won elections in most of the states including PDP-controlled states, and is warming up to add Bayelsa to such states.

However, Dickson must have heaved a sigh of relief when sometime ago, Jonathan publicly endorsed his bid for the forthcoming election. From all indications, this was indeed, the tonic he needed urgently to energize his campaign machinery for the realization of his re-election bid.

The incumbent governor’s spirit must have been boosted when the first Governor of Bayelsa under the present democratic dispensation, the late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha also attended the endorsement ceremony.

But how far can Jonathan’s endorsement help Dickson to win the crucial and decisive election? Having established the unenviable record of being the first incumbent to lose presidential election in Nigeria since 1999, does Jonathan have the influence, sagacity and political clout required to enhance Dickson’s chance to emerge winner of the unpredictable election?

As a former governor with equally intimidating pedigree and impressive credentials, Sylva is a potential threat to Dickson’s re-election bid. Now the die is cast as watchers of political events across the country are anxiously waiting for the shocking outcome of the election.

The Bayelsa election will be keenly contested between Dickson and Sylva. As two notable political arch-rivals with large followership each, it will be interesting to watch the accomplished political titans slug it out on December 5, 2015.

As fate would have it, on that historic day, Bayelsans will have a unique opportunity to elect the person that will direct the affairs of their state during the next four years.

It is noteworthy that as Dickson is striving hard to emerge winner to enable the PDP-controlled state remain in office for another four years, Sylva is also not relenting in his determination to return to office as governor to ensure Bayelsa joins the growing list of APC-controlled states.

As the election is fast approaching, the question seriously agitating the minds of watchers of political events in Bayelsa is: Who will emerge winner between Dickson and Sylva?




Ajayi is a journalist and public affairs