BAYELSA ELECTION: CONSEQUENCES OF IGNORING WISE COUNSEL – By Eugene Onyeabo Aligbe

It is no longer news that All Progressives Congress candidate, David Lyon was declared winner of the November 16 Bayelsa State gubernatorial election by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The shock was that no political pundits prior to the election ever predicted that the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Douye Diri would lost the election to David Lyon of APC, except the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who cautioned the PDP stalwarts to work in unity or give the opposition, the APC opportunity to find their way into the Bayelsa State government house. He stated this at the PDP Elder’s Advisory Meeting held in Bayelsa State government house in August 2019.

In his words, “It is only our unity that can give us victory and if we are not united, they (APC) can get away with it. For example, it took the unity of the people of Rivers State including women who were resolute against soldiers to get the PDP victory in the state. If that had not happened, the opposition would have taken the state.

“I need to appeal with all the aspirants and all political leaders that there should be no mudslinging. We must free the space and eschew rancour because one person will finally become the candidate of the party and for that person to win the election, all aspirants must work for that person.

“For us to secure this state for PDP we need maximum unity and that is why all the 21 aspirants are important to us; we must have that maximum unity and must not create any form of division or discrimination. At the end, one will emerge and all of us will work for whoever emerges as candidate of the party”.

The Bayelsa State election just as Goodluck Ebele Jonathan warned has come and gone but left behind obvious lessons for every discerning mind to learn from, following the reactions by principal actors who participated in the election process. The out-going governor of the state, Gov. Seriake Dickson and the candidate of People’s Democratic Party, Douye Diri had respectively described the election as a sham and disgrace to be called an election. In the camp of All Progressives Congress, the Bayelsa election was a success and victory well deserved without minding the electoral malpractices, violence and killing that greeted the election process in the state.

In order to celebrate what the APC termed as successful election, Timipre Silva led the governor – elect, David Lyon and others to the residence of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to pay him a visit. This strategic action by APC amplified the rumour that former President Goodluck Jonathan may have worked for the opposition party in the state to secure their victory against PDP but Goodluck Jonathan in his rebuttal unequivocally said that he is a father to all Bayelsans, meaning that as a statesman, whoever emerged the winner of Bayelsa State is his son, irrespective of political affiliation.

Of course, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as an iconic statesman has been able to create impeccable image for him-self nationally and internationally. For him to willingly concede defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 presidential election against all odds infer that truly, no politician’s political ambition is worth the blood of ordinary Nigerian. This, Governor Seriake Dickson and Duoye Diri would have taken into cognizance before the election so as not to give the APC opportunity to find their way into the government house as earlier warned by Goodluck Jonathan.

With what has happened in the political landscape in Bayelsa State, it is crystal clear that being a governor is not a guarantee to winning election, or ignoring wise counsel by elders of the party.

Prior to the election, many PDP faithful had queried the rationale behind the emergence of Douye Diri as the candidate of the party, who they considered as an unpopular candidate. It was quite unfortunate that most governors including Governor Seriake Dickson are in the habit of foisting their political stooges as candidates against the general wishes and advice of the party. Regrettable as it is, these governors end up plugging the political fortunes of their party into mud due to their self-centredness, arrogance and without consideration to the sacrifices made by others for the sake of the party.

Unless a miracle happens in Bayelsa State through electoral tribunal, Governor Seriake Dickson who is billed to hand over power to David Lyon of APC on February 14, 2020 has no choice but to live with the consequences of ignoring wise counsel from his political allies.

Eugene Onyeabo Aligbe, a public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos