Governor Seriake Dickson breaks the jinx of re-election in Bayelsa State as he wins the governorship election which ended on Saturday, January 9, with the supplementary election in Southern Ijaw with overall total vote of 134,998 to defeat his arch-rival Timpre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress who scored 86,852 votes
IT was not an easy victory for Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party in his bid to be re-elected as the governor of Bayelsa State. He faced a formidable opponent whose party was the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. More importantly, Timpreye Sylva, the candidate of APC had been a governor in the state and had reasonable support from his people.
Dickson must have realised he was facing an uphill task and did not leave anything to chance to ensure his victory. Apart from having worked had in his first four years to provide infrastructure and completed many abandoned projects by previous administrations in the state, he was very down-to-earth. He mobilised the citizens right from the grassroots to support his candidacy. His campaign train moved to all the local governments in the State begging for votes and making promises of a wonderful future for them should they vote for him to continue with his projects across the states.
He enjoined the electorates to be perpetually alert to protect their votes amidst allegations of an attempt by the APC to use federal might to rig the election. He also appointed key officials of the state and PDP as his party agents making it impossible for the opposition to manipulate the agents or buy them with money. Dickson and his supporters fought both emotional and physical war invoking the spirit of the late governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the peoples general, who supported him while alive to get the electorate in his Southern Ijaw constituency where supplementary election held to massively vote for him.
Again, Bayelsa is the home state of former President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP would not have allowed APC to have the upper hand in the state to limit the humiliation he would have felt after President Muhammadu Buhari defeated him in 2015 presidential election. These political realities must have worked for Dickson given the huge number of votes he garnered in Southern Ijaw and across the states to defeat his opponents in the fight-to-finish contest where both parties traded accusation and counter accusations of plot to rig.
Dickson, who became the first person to be re-elected in the state, could not have won the supplementary governorship election held in the Southern Ijaw LGA and 101 other units across the state, if he and his party had not be vigilant calling on their supporters and indigenes to guard their votes jealously and make sure nobody rigs. Olisa Metuh has issued a statement warning of severe consequences should the APC upturn the victory of PDP in Bayelsa, enjoining their supporters to use every means legal in a democratic society to defend their votes. Such tough talks may or may have given the people courage to stand their ground amidst attempt to snatch ballot boxes and stop the security officials which flooded the states to be used to rig election. Also, violence had trailed the main election and did not stop when the supplementary election held even though Dickson emerged winner in the keenly contested election where he defeated his closest contender, Sylva of the All Progressives Congress who himself was seeking a return to government house in Yenagoa.
Official figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, showed that Dickson got 23,081 votes in Southern Ijaw compared to 10,216 won by Sylva.
Prior to the supplementary election, Dickson was leading in the initial election held on December 5, 2015, which was declared inconclusive because of several cases of irregularities and violence which forced the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to cancel the entire results in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and parts of other local government areas, LGAs.
After counting was completed on Sunday and with the results of all the LGAs announced by INEC, Dickson scored a total of 134,998 votes to beat Sylva, who scored 86,852 votes.
With this result, Dickson broke the jinx where by no person had been re-elected as governor in the State since 1999 for a second term because some happenstance either made it so. For instance, former President Goodluck Jonathan after becoming the governor of the state moved on to be the vice president and later became the president of the country. His predecessor late Governor Alamieyeseigha was impeached over fraudulent deals. Sylva also lost out in the power game in the State in his first attempt to re-contest and finally lost his chances of being re-elected at the supplementary election on Saturday, January 9.
Because this is a hard won victory, one would have expected the governor and his party to be wild with happiness. But the state is sober because Dickson and his followers are not really celebrating in difference to their supporters and the people who died in the wake of the violence that trail the November and January elections in the State.
Below is the final result of the Bayelsa governorship election as announced by the INEC returning officer, Zana Akpagbu:
Total registered voters
Votes earned by political parties
Total valid votes 225520
Rejected votes 6647
Total votes cast 232167
— Jan. 11, 2016 @ 9.30 GMT