Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd) has been screened by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee constituted by the national leadership of the party.
In what can be regarded as a last minute change of plans, instead of Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba earlier announced by the PDP national organising secretary, Col Austin Akobundu (rtd) to head the screening committee for Bayelsa it was Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who was announced to head the screening of aspirants for Kogi State that attended to Bayelsa aspirants.
Though no explanation was offered for the last minute swap in the committee heads, it is believed to be part of measures taken by the national leadership to ensure fairness in the screening of governorship aspirants.
Jonah who was the first aspirant to be screened speaking to journalists shortly after the screening exercise said he was in the race to render passionate service and also to consolidate on the gains of the Restoration Administration, under the able leadership of Governor Dickson.
The deputy governor who explained that Governor Dickson has always referred to him as a reliable and dependable ally pleaded with delegates to give him the opportunity to govern the State, assuring that he will never disappoint Bayelsans.
Also speaking, Mrs Marie Ebikake, former Commissioner of Transport in the Restoration Administration, stated that the deputy governor stands tall among all the aspirants going for the exalted office, taking cognisance of his pedigree and sterling qualities.
Ebikake who decried plans by those she referred to as certain individuals to camp delegates so as to deny other aspirants from having access to them urged delegates to vote in line with their conscience.
Hon. Markson Fefegha, Commissioner for Mines, urged delegates to support the deputy governor, stressing that he is the right man with the right attributes, exposure and experience to take over the mantle of leadership from Governor Dickson.
According to him, the deputy governor has been most loyal and committed member of the Restoration Administration and should be given a chance to be the next governor of the State, having served under the tutelage Governor Dickson for almost eight years.