By Allison Abanum
On my desk, everyday , I work on political stories from all parts of the country. And many times, I will pause and think about the content of the stories before me, wondering whether we are indeed a people of the same country and the same moral persuasion. Some days back, I have read the comments of Timi Frank, the former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bayelsa state Gubernatorial candidate, Senator Diri Douye.
Timi Frank said the PDP Candidate is weak and blamed the party for choosing to field a weak candidate. Timi Frank boasted that a direction of whom to vote at the November 16 Governorship election will soon be revealed and had gone ahead to congratulate the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in advance for victory.
Yes, it is well within the right of Timi Frank to choose whom to support. But my worry on moral ground is how Timi Frank appropriates to himself the collective will of the people of Bayelsa. I probably would have taken Timi Frank declaration as a mere expression, but when I match it against what he reminded the public the position he took against his former party, the APC in 2015, when the former governor and now the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva was nominated. Timi Frank said history is about to repeat itself albeit in PDP because it is making the same mistake that the APC made in 2015.
With that declaration, it becomes clearer that the choice of who succeeds Gov Seriake Dickson won’t have much to do with the people of Bayelsa, which makes it necessary to enquire if this is a democracy or not? How is Timi Frank or anybody going to choose a Governor? Is it the duty of Timi Frank to determine who succeeds Governor Seriake Dickson in the true case of democracy? How many votes is he going to cast? How did Timi Frank get so bestial? I am disturbed that the declaration of Timi Frank is laced with oracular certainty, as if he is the sole determinant of the will of the people of Bayelsa.
Having been a political oracle in 2015 in the case of Timipre Sylva and the former governor lost the election as predicted, does not in any way make Timi Frank a great influencer in directing the political current of the state. It was mere political understanding and not a dictatorial code. Government is a continuum, and like a stage, Seriake Dickson’s successor will or should be chosen by the people of Bayelsa, not one particular person for that matter. The vexatious part of Timi Frank’s position is that he did not tell us the qualities of the APC candidate over the PDP candidate. What if Bayelsa people in the exercise of their sovereign right, decide that they don’t even care about the qualities Timi Frank may unilaterally outline, will Timi Frank over ride them?
And to put the record straight because it seems Timi Frank doesn’t know what Mr Ndutimi Alaibe (Timi Frank’s preferred PDP aspirant) and Senator Diri Douye share and how strong Diri Douye is. Diri Douye had been a long standing political associate and kinsman of Alaibe. Diri Douye at a point disagreed with the Alaibe led political group and tried unsuccessfully to convince them to work with Seriake Dickson when Dickson was picked to replace Timipre Sylva as governor of Bayelsa. Unable to understand Alaibe’s political reasoning, Diri Douye decided to join the Dickson political family nicknamed Restoration Team. Diri Douye was given the ticket of Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal constituency; he won and his performance as the poster law maker of the Ijaw nation in the Green Chamber earned him the Bayelsa central senatorial district ticket against all odds. And when the race for the Bayelsa governorship ticket gathered momentum with Diri Douye’s name featuring prominently, close observers of Bayelsa politics especially Dickson’s political philosophy anchored on record of service, loyalty to party and frugal spending of public funds, were looking at Diri.
Having served the people as a law maker for eight years and being led by a political family where he had shown absolute loyalty, what prove does anyone need to convince him that Diri Douye is strong and a well rooted politician?
All said, Comrade Timi Frank is a son of Bayelsa state and must demonstrate his pursuit of democratic ethos in everything, especially in his utterances concerning the coming governorship election. That way , he will etch his name in gold as a devout democrat.
*Abanum writes from Abuja