Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The zoning arrangement by some political leaders to allow Sagbama Local Government Area retain the Bayelsa West Senatorial seat has suffered a setback following the decision of former deputy governor and All Progressive Congress (APC) chieftain, Hon Peremobowei from Ekeremor Local Government to join the race.
The seat had become vacant following the inauguration of Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) from Sagbama as the deputy-governor courtesy of a Supreme Court judgment which sacked the winner of the November 16 governorship election, Chief David Lyon over a Federal High Court ruling which had earlier disqualified his running mate Senator Biobarakuma Degi- Eremienyo.
Political leaders of Bayelsa West had recently in a political summit affirmed the zoning arrangement between Ekeremor and Sagbama Local Government Areas and had urged all political parties that wants to participate in the election to only field candidates from Sagbama.
On the strength of the affirmation, former governor Henry Seriake Dickson from Sagbama responding to calls from several quarters had joined the race.
However the entry of Ebebi into the senatorial race has changed the political dimension of the election because of his network of political contacts and the massive followership he enjoys in Ekeremor which made APC leaders settled for his candidacy.
Speaking in an interview, Ebebi who distanced himself and the APC from any zoning arrangement that precludes the people of Ekeremor from participating in the bye-election expressed optimism that APC has what it takes to win the election.
According to him it is not the fault of the people of Ekeremor that Ewhrudajkpo abandoned the senatorial seat for the deputy governorship seat.
He said “APC chances are very bright because we have massive support. APC as a party has huge followership now. When Dickson was governor there were a lot of concessions for him from APC members but those concessions are no longer available. The party faithful are ready to work for the success of APC.
“The political summit meeting was at the instance of Dickson. The zoning was at his instance being a PDP member. He cannot claim to be clever than all us of. He had done that zoning based on his own calculations to contest when he leaves office. That zoning arrangement is for the PDP and APC has nothing to do about it. Sagbama has already done one term and Ewhrudajakpo abandoned that mandate for the deputy governorship position. In the last governorship Ekeremor voted for APC and now that we have a candidate for the senatorial election, we are going to win.”