PDP Primaries: Battle For Kogi, Bayelsa Hots Up | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP Primaries: Battle For Kogi, Bayelsa Hots Up

Posted: Sep 6, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma, Bayelsa

The battle for the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi and Bayelsa states peaked over the weekend with contenders either picking the forms to contest the primaries or securing the nod of the party’s screening committee to partake in the contest.

PDPThe opposition PDP currently rule Kogi and Bayelsa, making the contest rather stiff in the party.

Captain Idris Wada and Hon. Seriake Dickson, the incumbent governors of Kogi and Bayelsa states respectively, are being challenged as they seek a second term in office.

The party on Thursday cleared Wada and two others, Jibrin Isa Echocho, a recurrent decimal in the race and Banjo Amoto Moses, to contest its governorship primaries after the screening conducted in Lafia, the capital city of Nassarawa State.

The Kogi exercise presided over by Senator Walid Jibrin precedes the development in Bayelsa, where the incumbent governor, Dickson, and two others had also obtained the Expression of Interest forms to contest the primaries. Dickson is being challenged for the Bayelsa ticket by Senator Emmanuel Paulker and Architect Reuben Okoya.

The primaries slated for November promises to be tough, as the leadership of PDP had declared its determination to make the exercise a free, fair and transparent process.

Indications that the incumbent governors of Kogi and Bayelsa would have to defend their popularity among members of the party emerged early in July when the national leadership declared that there was no automatic ticket for any contestant.

Receiving Dickson who had come to submit his nomination form on Friday at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, the acting National Chairman, Uche Secondus,assured that it would conduct free and transparent primaries at the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

Secondus said the NWC would ensure a process that would be acceptable to the people of Kogi and Bayelsa in its primaries.

“Today, we affirm that we are going to keep to our rules and party’s constitution. After the primaries, if you are successful, we will come to Bayelsa to campaign with you,” he assured. This party must be open to all; this party must be taken back to the grassroots,” he told Dickson.

 No War With Patience

Earlier, Dickson expressed optimism that the PDP would win the forthcoming election in Bayelsa, just as he took the opportunity to debunk widespread rumours of deep animosity between him and the wife of immediate past president, Dame Patience Jonathan.

Dickson said there was no rift between them, claiming that Patience was backing his re-election.

“As a rule, I do not want to be talking about my elder brother’s wife. There is no rift between us and she is campaigning everywhere for my re-election,” he said.

According to Dickson, “No other party has the kind of support that PDP enjoys in the state. You have seen my supporters from all parts of the state and this is a practical testimony of the support being enjoyed by PDP. Bayelsa is in safe hands of the PDP.”

The governor noted that the number of leaders and stakeholders in the state who came with him to the party’s national headquarter was an indication “no shaking for PDP in Bayelsa.”

Expressing the confidence that the exit of some PDP prominent members who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not going to affect his re-election, he boasted that he was not re-contesting on the basis of promises, but on developmental projects and programmes he had done in the state.

Dickson dismissed the claim by some of the defectors that they had the support of elders, saying: “They are parading imaginary elders. “It is not when a few people defect to other platforms that we will be affected. Political victory is achieved through concrete structures, not rented crowd.”

He said his achievement cut across all sectors, including healthcare, road, education and human development in all councils of the states.

 Wada Delighted

Speaking after the screening of candidates for the Kogi primaries, Senator Jibrin said his committee was satisfied with the outcome, describing it as a peaceful one, devoid of any rancor.

According to him, the three aspirants met all the requirements for participating in the forthcoming party primaries.

“We were assigned to perform the screening for the election in Kogi State and we have done that successfully.

“We screened three aspirants. They are the incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada, Jibrin Isa Echocho and Banjo Amoto Moses.”

He added that the papers/credentials of the aspirants were screened thoroughly, adding that they were cleared to seek the party’s governorship ticket.

“We checked all their credentials and concluded that they are eligible to contest the primaries of our party.

“Anyone who emerges winner in the primaries will also be qualified for the election,” he said.

Speaking with newsmen after the screening, Wada said he was delighted with the smooth conduct of the exercise, pledging to participate in the party’s primaries in line with the laid rules and regulations.