Ijaw leaders to make Dickson consensus Senate candidate
The recent proposal by Chief Perekeme Kpodoh, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, that immediate past governor, Hon Henry Seriake Dickson, be fielded as a consensus candidate for the forthcoming Bayelsa West Senatorial by-election appears to be gaining more traction, as a similar call has also been made by other prominent Ijaw leaders.
Rising from their own meeting earlier this week, notable Ijaw leaders, including Alhaji Asari Dokubo and chieftains of both the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youths Congress (IYC) also endorsed Dickson, as their candidate for election.
It would be recalled that APC chieftain Kpodoh had drawn the wrath of his party leaders, penultimate week, when he suggested that the party should not present any candidate to challenge Dickson, whom the PDP might be presenting for the by-election to feel the seat vacated by new Deputy Governor, Sen. Lawrence Ehwrudjakpor.
According to the APC chieftain, Dickson would give the state and the Ijaw nation a better representation than anybody the APC might present could ever hope to give.
In a communiqué issued under the aegis of the Patriots of the Ijaw Struggle, the group said it was not only impressing it upon Dickson to contest the senatorial seat, but also calling on all Bayelsans to support and massively vote for the former governor, as he is the best man for the job.
This endorsement by the pan-Ijaw socio-political group cuts across party divides, and is said to be informed by the need of the Ijaw nation to send their bests to represent them at the national level.
In a communiqué jointly signed by Chief Frank Omare and four other past presidents of the IYC, including Asari Dokubo, the Leaders said they had “x-rayed the many aspirants who have indicated their interest to represent the Bayelsa West senatorial district and have taken the pain to evaluate each and every one of these aspirants, their background, educational qualifications and political persuasions, as well as their belief in our undying Ijaw struggle”, and arrived at the conclusion that Dickson is the most qualified to represent both the senatorial zone and the Ijaw nation at this point in time.
It said this has become most germane now, giving “the present unstable and unpredictable nature of our national politics, vis-à-vis the growing national discourse on the shape of Nigeria’s democracy, given the many unpalatable developments of security concerns, environmental challenges and the issues of fiscal federalism and devolution of power”.
The communiqué said what placed Dickson heads and shoulders above other aspirants is not only because he has experience as a former member of the House of Representatives, but also stands out as a result of his sterling performance as a two-term governor of Bayelsa state.
Similarly, the Ijaw leaders argued that Dickson’s known position on burning national issues, his ability to galvanise the Ijaws from all the states that have indigenous Ijaw population, and his ability to leverage his enormous contacts from within and outside the country to put every Ijaw interest on the national table, all combine to stand him out as the best of the lot.
The Ijaw leaders concluded: “It is our considered submission that the people of Sagbama/Ekeremor federal constituency should see his selection beyond party lines, and a further call to duty, and one which is seen as an Ijaw project critical tour collective goal as a people”,
They said that the choice of Dickson is further informed by the need to respect the historical understanding of rotation in the senatorial district and allow their Sagbama kith and kin to produce the senator to complete the remaining tenure of His Excellency, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpor”, who is from Dickson’s senatorial zone.
Other Ijaw leaders who co-signed the communiqué include Barr Owoupele, Mr Alfred Kemepado, and five other former Executives and chieftains of both the INC and the IYC, as well as leading lights of the Ijaw struggle.