Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ahead the primaries to pick the candidates for the three Senatorial districts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Bayelsa State, Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, representing the Bayelsa East Senatorial District in the National Assembly has withdrawn from the race.
Sen. Bruce, in the bid to alter the existing rotational/zoning formula among Ogbia, Brass and Nembe had recruited the services of the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who came to Yenagoa to plead with stakeholders of Bayelsa East to allowed Bruce for a second term.
However, stakeholders bent on maintaining the zoning/rotational formula had decided to reject the proposal of Secondus and vote for a candidate from Nembe to sustain the political stability of the Senatorial district.
Investigations revealed that Bruce had met with Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, on Monday, at the Government House shortly after the governor’s media chat to intimate him on his decision to withdraw from the race.
Sen. Bruce, who announced his withdrawal from the Senatorial contest in a letter dated October 2, 2018, addressed to the State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Moses Cleopas, cited a 20-year-old existing agreement of rotation in the Senatorial District as the reason for his decision to pull out of the Senatorial race.
The Senator said that he was left with no other option but to withdraw from the race in the interest of the existing harmony and indeed the well-being of the people of the Senatorial district in spite of the support from the national leadership of the PDP and his influence.
The letter read in part, “I thank God and the good people of Brass, and Bayelsa East Senatorial District who offered me the golden opportunity four years ago to represent them and the state in the Senate, Nigeria’s highest lawmaking chamber.
“It is without doubt that I have tried to discharge my duties as a legislator and representative of my people creditably to the best of my ability so far.
“My voice has been very loud on the issues that matter to our people and our country at all time.
“My support to our party, my people and state government is unquestionable. I am humbled that the national leadership of my party supported by the State chapter in appreciation of my efforts offered to support my re-election to the senate to continue my service.
“I have also intensified consultations in the last couple of weeks in the course of which I have come to realise an existing local rotational arrangement of over 20 years beginning with the Great Chief Melford Okilo, (late) by which arrangement the Senatorial seat rotates per local government area among the three councils for four years”.