Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Trouble is looming in the Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the party inches towards picking candidates for the National Assembly and House of Assembly elections.
According to investigations, aside the issue of zoning and rotation which guides the picking of candidates for the various seats, the party is being confronted by the insistence of the incumbents to return in 2019.
The situation, it was learnt, has torn many senatorial districts and federal constituencies apart as other top contenders have vowed to scuttle the ambitions of the incumbents.
The situation is even worse for the state’s House of Assembly seats as some lawmakers are gunning to return for the third time.
Findings indicated the idea of zoning and rotation might be jettisoned based on the declaration by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson that the party would only field popular candidates to win elections so as to ward off threats from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The declaration by Dickson was believed to have emboldened two incumbent senators, Foster Ogola and Ben Murray Bruce and three House of Representatives members namely, Fred Agbedi, Henry Ofongo and Sodaguwo Festus Omoni, to nurse the ambition to return, while 20 members of the state’s House of Assembly want automatic tickets back to the House.
Saturday Sun, however, gathered that those opposed to the return of the incumbents at both the federal and state parliaments have presented their positions to the party, warning that any attempt to return some of the incumbents, based of perceived popularity, would spell doom for the party as the people are already tired of their representation.
Investigations revealed that the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Friday Konbowei Benson, who has spent 12 years in the House representing Southern Ijaw constituency IV and is gunning for a 4th term, is facing a stiff challenge from people of the constituents.
A stakeholders meeting to pick a consensus candidate had ended in deadlocked when other aspirants discovered that the meeting was to ratify the return of Benson, it was gathered.
In Brass constituency 3, the people of Akassa have staged protest to the party warning that any attempt by the PDP to allow incumbent deputy speaker, Hon. Abraham Ingbobere, return to the House, would make the party lose the election.
Also, in Governor Dickson’s constituency, Sagbama Constituency 1, the people have protested to the Bayelsa State Government House asking Governor Dickson to intervene to stop the return of Akpe to the House alleging that he has not represented the people well.
Sources close to the party leadership said the party chairman, Mr. Moses Cleopas, has reiterated that the party aligned with Governor Dickson’s position that stakeholders of the party in the various constituencies should decide who to represent them.