Chuks Okocha in Abuj
Governor Sierake Dickson of Bayelsa State’s Deputy, John Jonah, the Secretary to the State Government, Kemela Okara and the Chief of Staff Talford Ongola have all picked governorship nomination forms.
Also a serving senator, Diri Douye and a member of the House of Representatives, Fred Agbadi have both paid the mandatory N21 million governorship forms.
Yesterday, the former Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Kombowei Benson a member of the restoration team also paid the N21 governorship form.
One interesting thing is that all of them that have picked the governorship form were accompanied individually by the serving speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon.Tonye Isenah.
So far, nine members of the restoration team of Governor Dickson have paid the N21 million and collected the governorship forms.
So far N189 million have been paid as nomination fee by the members of the restoration team.
The only person who paid for the governorship but not a member of the Governor’s Restoration Team is the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commissions (NDDC), Ndutimi Alaibe.
When THISDAY asked the Deputy Governor, Jonah whether his picking the form was an indication of crisis in the state, he said, “There is no crack, if there is anything there is cohesion within the restoration family. People were expecting that by this time the governor will bring one candidate and say this is my candidate, and in fact they are speculating that others would not be allowed to show interest and they will be forced to just withdraw.
“That could have brought cracks, but in the thinking of the administration collectively and we have to note that it is not just the governor, we felt that those that have interest and with capacity to administer the state should show interest and we proceed from there.
Other modalities would be worked out and at the end we go for primaries.
“It is the primaries that would decide who becomes the candidate. All we are doing is to show that we are interested so there are no cracks. Anybody that says that would not be saying the truth or he doesn’t know what he is saying.
“Secondly if somebody is being sponsored from outside to destabilise the cohesion within the restoration administration I don’t think those of us are aware of that. That hasn’t come to our notice. We have a way of resolving differences within the restoration administration in-house; that is very very unlikely. But know that we must have different ways of solving the situation. Certainly you don’t expect everybody to be happy even if we are brothers, we may have separate ambition and we have different ways to go about it but for now that isn’t to my knowledge.”
Reacting, Governor Dickson in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said that the Governor had called on members of the Restoration Team with interest to contest the governorship election to pick the party’s form for the process of consultations to begin.
Soriwe quoted the governor as saying that three aspirants had earlier approached the leadership of the party and the Restoration Caucus to indicate interest in line with the decision of the Governor to approach the issue of candidate selection for the next election with prayers and consultations.
He said, “The Governor expressed happiness that several members of the Restoration Team have come out to indicate interest in the governorship contest”
He said that the expanding number aspirants from the fold of the Restoration Team under his leadership showed the existence of large number of highly competent, dedicated men of repute who are prepared to undertake the crucial mission of leading the state after me.
The Governor. he further said had assured severally that the party’s candidate would be a member of the Restoration Team must have the qualities of being steadfast and loyal and would be product of wide consultation.
Governor Dickson said that with the successful conclusion of the prayers and fasting session, all members of the Restoration Team with the ambition to govern the state should make their interest known to the party so that they could get the form.
The statement also quoted the Governor as having called on Bayelsans to make dispassionate assessment of the aspirants for the Restoration team to make the crucial decision on who to back in the primaries.
He said that all members of the Restoration Team with interest to contest the governorship would be supported for the purpose of continuity and stability in the governance of the state.
He added that all key members of the Restoration Team would sit to decide on which candidate to back in the forthcoming PDP primaries in the state.
He stressed the assessment by the state was crucial as it would form the basis upon which a final decision would be made.
He said, “The Restoration Team has taken a decision to back one of its own to contest the primaries of the People’s Democratic Party in the state.
“The Restoration Team is inclined to support a candidate from the Restoration Caucus of the PDP for the governorship ticket because of the imperative of continuity and stability in governance.
“It is on the basis of this that any member of the Restoration Team who has an ambition is called upon to pick the form. The caucus shall make all the necessary arrangements for consultations within the Restoration Caucus of the PDP before taking a final decision on who to support.”
He added further that adequate mechanism had been put in place for get feed backs from the citizens in addition to wide consultations within the party and the entire state upon which a decision would be taken on who should be backed in the primaries
Meanwhile, crisis is brewing in the All Progressives Congress ( APC) In Kogi State persist, as Governor. Yahaya Bello has allegedly been accused of hiring over fifteen persons to join in the governorship race ahead of the party primaries in the state.
About N337.5 million is said to have been earmarked for the sponsorship of 15 aspirants among the 37 that have indicated interest.
Inside sources revealed that the plot was to purchase governorship nomination forms for the hired aspirants/members of APC whose mission is to promote Yahaya Bello’s preference for indirect mode of primaries as against the Twenty(20) other aggrieved aspirants who stormed the party headquarters on Monday to demand for direct primaries, the fake and hired aspirants are also to serve as moles in the party.
It further gathered that the aim is to mobilised and sponsor other aspirants to join Bello in adopting Indirect primaries as Bello at the moment remain the only aspirants The expected outcome is to among 23 others in the party insisting on indirect primaries..
Few hours ago, Amade Edime from Dekina, Governor Bello’s G9 support group coordinator for Kogi East and Kingsley Oga picked the nomination forms.
Others yet to pick nomination forms include Murtala Muhammad Jimoh, Yakubu Audu, Katun Muhammad, Umar Ibrahim, Musa Hussaini, Suleiman Bashir Lawal, Comrade John Arome, Zaccheaus Dare Micheal, Ade Bright and several other persons from the West and Central.