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Author Name: Ajayi O.OLOWO
Number of articles: 9
As hands of the clock tickle and scheduled date for the governorship primaries of the ruling Peoples... (1) Comment


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Nigeria - As the battle for the Political Soul of Bayelsa State goes tenser
Author: Ajayi O.OLOWO | November 15, 2011



As hands of the clock tickle and scheduled date for the governorship primaries of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) draws closer, the political battle for the soul of Bayelsa State â the home base of Nigerian sitting President appears to be taking worrisome dimensions. There are avalanche of questions seeking for answers. Is the exercise going to take place as scheduled? Does the political wrangling between the two main camps capable of degenerating? How does the tense political situation impact on the peace of the state, the entire Niger Delta region and by implication, Nigeria at large? The belligerent position of some highly placed political office holders within and outside Bayelsa state seems to be worsening the fragile situation. Barring any legal gymnastics that could truncate the process or any last minute change of mind by PDP the primaries seem set to be held in about a weekâs time from now. But far from the theatrics being hatched at the meetings of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, there are lots of gerrymandering currently playing out. During the Eid-el-Kabir holidays, some prominent citizens and chieftains of the traditional kingdom of the Ijaw Community where the Nigerian President originated from in Bayelsa State were in Abuja ostensibly to see the number one citizen, appease him and request for his gracious benevolence to end the rift between him and the incumbent governor of the State â Timipre Sylva. Whether Mr. President granted audience to those revered kinsmen of his has not been confirmed hitherto. This makes it imperative to wonder what the problem between the two prominent sons of the soil are. Does it go beyond the issue of public office to be contested? Is there anything personal other than the good of the larger society? These are questions the dramatis personae should provide plausible answers to forthwith before the situation in the state becomes tenser. It is now pellucid that the Abiodun Olujimiâs panelâs recommendations, which the PDP NWC is hinging its stand on for not clearing the incumbent governor for the forthcoming primaries is a mere smoke screen. Apart from the security issues purportedly raised not being within the purview of the panel to determine, events since the preparations for the primaries have commenced clearly indicate that the NWC is taking dictation from somewhere else. Should it be so? Where then lays internal democracy in the political parties if extraneous matters are anchored to deprive candidates and party members of making free choices. The issue playing out might appear more of a storm in a tea cup but it cast a big shadow of doubt on the credibility of the entire political system in existence in Nigeria. The party that exhibits such a level of confusion is not only the one that forms the government at the centre but the one that forms government in the majority of the 36 states of the Nigerian federation. The scenario in Bayelsa State at the moment reminds one of the ugly event in Imo State prior to the 2007 elections when the ruling party edged out the most popular candidate and ditched its own chance in the governorship election in the State as a result of attack on one individual. People that swore to oath of office and allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should abide by the oaths, obey the constitution and due process of law and allow the citizenry exercise their constitutionally entrenched franchise without any modicum of deprivation. The situation currently pervading Bayelsa State is not in the least elegant. An issue with a candidate, which does not involve any criminal indictment by a court of competent jurisdiction, should not be set as a smokescreen for any clandestine move by anyone. These politicians from the same original political platform now ferociously creating divisions in the volatile Niger Delta region should consider the multiplier effect of their actions. If the situation becomes tenser, would the rehabilitated ex-militants not seize the moment to go back to their old trade of anachronism? This is most probable as they would be willing tools in the hands of the desperate politicians, particularly the ones âthrowing stonesâ from afar. Since the incumbent governor has not been indicted within the parameters laid down in the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the NWC of PDP and whoever their war monger-sponsors are should mellow down and allow due process to prevail rather than the rule of the thumb, which they appear to be adopting in the purported disqualification of Sylva. It would be hopeless to expect democracy to be duly entrenched in Nigeria if due process is openly violated in an isolated case of the proposed 2012 elections in the small state of Bayelsa. The tense atmosphere being hatched in Bayelsa might however be in anticipation of the possibility of the Supreme Court ruling against the incumbent governors in the 5 states affected by tenure elongation issue. But even at that the war mongers set at making Bayelsa tenser should realise that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that would suffer. The well attended rally organised by the supporters of Governor Sylva on Saturday, 12th November 2011 is a litmus test of how testy the political water of Bayelsa state would be irrespective of the position of the PDP NWC. The rally depicts the formidability of the strength of the incumbent governor and a pointer to the fact that he could not be easily wished away. Ajayi Olatunji Olowo, a legal practitioner writes from Abuja, Nigeria. Ajayi Olatunji Olowo - olaajayiolowo@yahoo.com

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John    Warri, Nigeria    November 15, 2011
My brother, do not sugeest any anarchy in Bayelsa and moreso no ex-militant will be ready to go back to the creeks as you envisaged in your write-up. If he is confident that Bayelsa people still need him, let him go to another party and contest, afterall, the PDP party did not ban him from joining another party.
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