Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ahead of the governorship primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, stakeholders have begun to mount pressure on the party to adopt House of Representatives member, representing Ekeremor/Sagbama federal constituency as the consensus candidate for the November 16 governorship election.
The stakeholders under the aegis of Democratic Agenda Watch (DAW) said the party needed to avoid crisis and look inwards to adopt a candidate that would be able to bring all the contending groups together to form a united front to resist the planned take-over of the state by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The founding executive director of DAW, Dr Ebipadei Johnson, in statement explained that Fred Agbedi, a former chairman of the party and three-time House of Representatives member would be a candidate that would be acceptable by all political interests and blocs within the party.
Johnson listed the contending blocs in the Bayelsa PDP as the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson, Restoration group, former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and his wife, Patience group, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe group and former honorary special adviser to the Bayelsa governor, Chief Amalate Turner group. He said Chief Agbedi is the best choice for Bayelsans at this time and remains possibly the most acceptable choice.
According to him, Agbedi was the director-general of the Dickson campaigns in 2011 and 2015 and has been prosecuting electoral battles for governorship candidates of the party and would again lead the party to victory if given the ticket of the party.
Johnson who said Agbedi being from Bayelsa West would not be a barrier, stated that Bayelsans want a unifier that would ensure there is continued political stability in the state.
The statement read in part: “The only clog could have been that he is from the Bayelsa West, the same zone with incumbent Governor Dickson. While Dickson is from Sagbama, Agbedi is from Ekeremor Local Government Area. But that is no longer a challenge as most people now appreciate that all the three senatorial zones have had a short at the governorship seat since 1999, hence, any zone may take the first slot in the next round of zoning. And the pressure has continued to mount on the Aghoro-born politician, Chief Agbedi, to consider running for the state top job. He is an experienced and grassroots politician and former state chairman of the PDP. He had been involved in the emergence of all democratically-elected governors in the state, staring from late DSP Alamieyeseigha, Dr Jonathan, Timipre Sylva and the incumbent. So as it stands, Agbedi, commands that respect from the different blocs. Once he enters the race, sure, certain aspirants would not put themselves forward. From the West to East and to Central, Agbedi, has over the years built bridges of friendship, loyalty, dedication and unity. A detribalised and humane politician, he has the capacity to bring all under the PDP umbrella.”