Will there be a power shift in Bayelsa state this Saturday? Or will the Peoples’ Democratic Party continue to wield power? These are critical questions that have been asked leading up to November 11th.
Bayelsa is one of Nigeria’s 36 states located in the Niger Delta region of Southern Nigeria and boasts of 8 Local Government Areas.
Bayelsa state is critical to the nation’s economic well-being as it is one of Nigeria’s largest oil and gas producing states, which is a major income earner for the country.
With the countdown to the Governorship election down to a few days, activities are currently heated as candidates, political parties, security agencies, INEC and residents prepare for the D-DAY.
The Independent national electoral commission cleared 16 political parties to contest in the November 11 governorship polls but it appears to be a three-horse race between the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, the main opposition All Progressives Congress, and the Labour Party, LP.
Governor Douye Diri, the incumbent, is running under the PDP banner, while a former governor, Timipre Sylva is the flag bearer of the APC after successfully navigating the constitutional controversies surrounding his eligibility and earlier disqualification from the race.
The LP, which sprung a surprise during the presidential election, has adopted Udengs Eradiri as its candidate.
But beyond the political parties and preparations for the election, who are the prominent candidates and why do they stand out in their quest to clinch the exalted seat of governor?
Udengmobofa Eradiri is a first-time candidate running under the platform of Labour Party driving on the mantra of ”Let the Young Rule,” giving him youth credibility.
He was the previous president of the Ijaw Youth Council and a member of Dickson’s state cabinet until he had a falling out with Dickson. He is immensely popular among the youths who consider him one of them.
The All Progressives’ Congress Candidate, Timipre Sylva is a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and a former governor of the state, he is also the founder of the party in the state and has remained its leader despite internal party issues.
According to several Bayelsans, Sylva’s staging a return cannot be guaranteed because he does not live in the state and hence is unaware of what is going on throughout the state.
Some even criticized his reappearance as a governorship contender, claiming that since he left office, he has no legacy to fall back on and that the public’s recollection of his period as governor is poor.
This is his second attempt to run for the chief executive of the oil rich state since stepping down as governor in 2011. Will the votes go in his favour? Only time will tell.
Now to the incumbent, Governor Diri Douye, who supporters and fans consider as the architect of Bayelsa’s new era.
He is known as the Miracle Governor because of the events that led to his proclamation as Governor of the state.
Most people believe he turned the state’s fortunes around in terms of economic projects.
According to some residents speaking in his favour, Bayelsa has become one of the safest states in the federation since he became governor, a testament to his works so far.
Diri has spent his time as governor showing the people that he is capable and reliable in hopes of earning their trust. it remains to be seen though, if his works would earn him a second in office come Saturday.
These candidates have all displayed their individual capacities but the deciding factor remains in the hands of Bayelsans who will decide on Saturday.