APC will win Bayelsa gov election —Abarowei
Christopher Abarowei is a founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State and currently Director of Media and Publicity for the Preye Aganaba Governorship Campaign Organisation for the November 16 gubernatorial election. Abarowei, in this interview with EBIOWEI LAWAL, speaks on the activities of APC and its preparation for the governorship election.
What is the noise about the forthcoming local government election in Bayelsa State? Why is the APC opposing the plan to hold the election?
Let me give you an insight into what is happening at the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission. One Bertola was appointed as chairman by Governor Seriake Dickson, but somewhere along the line, he resigned with an excuse that there was a threat to his life and that of his families but this same Bertola was made the PDP chairmanship candidate of Ekeremor for the forthcoming local government election. Finally, the governor appointed one Mr Remember Ogbe, another PDP card-carrying member as the acting chairman. The whole thing looks like the PDP was going to do what we call selection during the election, so the APC decided to boycott the election.
In 2015, despite the strides of the APC, it lost to the incumbent. Why did the party lose?
To digress a little bit, in 2003, 2007 and 2011, it was allocation of votes by the ruling PDP. In 2015, there was a contest because APC was a formidable force. The APC had men and women who were eager to succeed but there was a gap. What went wrong was that at the point of execution, some members were not committed to the cause.
You mean some people sold out?
They never sold out. What I am trying to say is that some persons, because of their selfish reasons, did not go to work for the overall interest of the party. That is the way I want to put it. If I say they were sold out, it means I am saying they compromised with the opposition. As I said earlier, some people at the point of execution were not committed. It is either they developed cold feet or maybe out of their selfish interest decided to jettison the whole idea.
In the elections held in March, the APC recorded some landmark successes, winning some seats in the National Assembly, how did you achieve this?
There are lots of factors that contributed to the success. If by 2015 we were allocated 5,000 votes and we got over a hundred thousand votes during the last governorship election, it shows that APC is a strong opposition party in Bayelsa State. So the result we got in 2019 was not a surprise to me. Secondly, we looked at the credibility of the candidates. Preye Oseke is well grounded in Southern-Ijaw Local Government, so his victory is expected. Marie Ebikake of PDP was not as popular as Israel Sunny-Goli, our candidate and Blessing Izagara of the PDP was not well known in Bayelsa East senatorial politics, compared to the APC candidate, Bishop Degi. So the results were expected.
Hopefully, the success will be replicated in the November 16 election. We are going into that election energised with the fact that in the last election we got one senator, two House of Representatives members and four Ssate House of Assembly members. Very soon, we are waiting to receive thousands of defectors from the PDP.
Preye Aganada wants to succeed Dickson, do you think he has the wherewithal and is he the right person for the job?
Preye Aganada has not got an appointment but you can see his signature across the state in terms of projects he has attracted. He is someone that has not been tested and tried but still performing. We are not talking of philanthropic nature of Preye Aganaba. We are talking of projects he has attracted. If we say philanthropist, we are saying he is spending his money. No! We are talking about the projects he attracted from the central to the state without an appointment. Before the primaries, we will take people on a project tour, especially the media, to see things for themselves. Other persons get opportunity but only think of themselves, but he went and brought something meaningful.
Anybody that says Aganada has not served well in the party needs to be re-examined. He has participated in all APC activities. He was also a member of presidential campaign committee in 2015 and was also on the main committee that produced the party’s national, chairman Adams Oshiomhole.
The constitutional provision says to be a governor of a state (elected) you must be a Nigerian, you must come from a state within Nigeria, you must be above a certain age, you must have educational qualification and must not be insane. All these Aganaba has met them all. So long as he is qualified to contest, we are not bothered. We should not drag anybody from Rivers State into Bayelsa politics. All the aspirantrs have friends and there is nothing wrong with that.
What about the zoning arrangement that exists in the political sphere of the state? Does it favour Aganada?
He is highly favoured as far as zoning is concerned. No Kolokuma/Opokuma has become governor or deputy governor of Bayelsa State. Alamieyeseigha is from Central senatorial district (Southern Ijaw), Jonathan from Bayelsa East senatorial district (Ogbia), Sylva from Bayelsa East senatorial district (Brass) and the current governor, Dickson, from Bayelsa West senatorial district (Sagbama LGA).
For equitable distribution and for every part of the state to have sense of belonging, the governorship should return to Bayelsa Central senatorial district and this time, it should be the turn of Kolokuma/Opokuma.