The hotly contested Bayelsa governorship election has come and gone with Governor Seriake Dickson, the winner of the polls declaring that Bayelsa was the ultimate winner and that there was no vanquished.
He has since extended the olive branch to the opposition. Dickson who had called for low key celebration in hounour of those killed in the course of freely exercising their franchise, dedicated his victory to God almighty, the ordinary Bayelsans who voted massively for him and the victims of election violence.
But elder statesman, Chief TKO Okorotie, believes were it not for the trust Bayelsans have for the governor as a result of his visionary, purposeful and pragmatic leadership, his delivery of concrete developmental deliverables to the people in the last four years and track record of selfless service to humanity, the rampaging All Progressives Congress (APC) would have captured the state.
Aside these, Okorotie stressed that Governor Dickson’s long years in opposition politics and commitment to the Ijaw cause within the context of national interest and above all, his mobilization of Bayelsans from all spheres of life to vote massively for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) helped in no small measure to chase the APC away from the state in the just concluded election.
Okorotie said: ‘‘Governor Seriake Dickson has developed Bayelsa State more than any other governor before him for which we as a people are eternally grateful. Dickson is indeed man of the people. It is on record that Dickson is the first governor ever to have campaigned and mobilized Bayelsans for the election by personally visiting all communities to interact with his people and even sleeping in those communities and creeks to engage the electorate during campaigns. Before now, no governor slept in those communities and this nexus with the people further endeared him to Bayelsans and that was why we re-elected him.’’
While declaring that APC is not on ground in Bayelsa State, the former Chief Whip of the old Rivers State House of Assembly, said the governor’s strategy of keeping touch with the ordinary people worked out like magic in spite of the fact that the APC in Bayelsa had boasted to capture the oil-rich state, using federal might.
Okorotie averred that ‘’though federal might was deployed against the people’s might but the doggedness of Dickson, his groundswell of support and popularity amongst the electorate and his mobilizing skills saved the day for PDP.’’
Chief Okorotie for example posited that when attempts were made to foist fake results from Southern Ijaw on INEC on December 6, 2015, Dickson rose to the occasion, moved to the streets of Yenagoa, stormed radio stations, mobilizing Bayelsans to troop to the street to protest what he called the rape of democracy.
Chief Okorotie said, “the people heeded his clarion call and that finally forced the commission to cancel the ‘‘charade called polls’’ in Southern Ijaw on December 7, 2015 and declared the governorship election inconclusive, fixed January 9 this year for the conclusion of the elections which the governor won resoundingly with 134, 998 votes in seven out of eight local government areas’’
Chief Timipre Sylva of the APC polled 86,852 votes while Moses Siasia of the Peoples’ Democratic Movement (PDM) scored 1572. Dickson won in Yenagoa, Sagbama, Ekeremor, Ogbia, Nembe, kolokuma/Okpokuma and Southern while his challenger, Chief Timipre Sylva won in Brass. Even in Brass, the home of Sylva, Dickson’s popularity manifested as he won in six out of the 10 wards which make up Brass.
Chief Okorotie said even though the victory called for wide celebration, the governor, being a humble man with the fear of God, went sober, and advised strongly against wide celebration of the victory in honour of those who were injured, killed during and after the elections.
This sobriety of the governor in the wake of his well- deserved victory, according to Chief Okorotie has earned him praises from the civil society groups, national and international accolades. He however said for violence not to re-surface in future elections, the federal government must promptly bring the perpetrators of the election violence to book no matter how highly placed.
The PDP national leadership, State governors, National Assembly members, leaders of thought across the country, the Ijaw nation and of course the spokesman of the APC, Comrade Timi Frank, have all congratulated the governor with many of them calling him the Lion of the Niger Delta.
In another development, the National Coordinator of the National Legacy Group, Hon. Bernard Mikko has said the victory of Governor Dickson has deepened democracy, given hope to minorities across board and saved the country from sliding into a one party state. For him, ‘‘if Dickson had been denied victory, it would have had a domino effect on the pendulum of elections in the Niger Delta and minority states in favour of the APC.
I call on the Federal Government to collaborate with the governor to address the intractable problems confronting the region because he has a head start over all the governors in the region on matters of environment, security and political mobilisation. The governor’s victory has also proved to the world that peoples’ will always triumph over federal might which the APC had used to terrorize Bayelsans,’’ Mikko declared.