Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Mr Fitzgerald Olorogun, a former Commissioner in the administration of former Governor Timipre Sylva, and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Ekeremor Local Government Area has declared that his party would win the Bayelsa West Senatorial district bye-election slated for October 31.
Olorogun speaking in an interview dismissed all talks about zoning arrangement between Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas insisting that the zoning arrangement was an illegal action taken by some political leaders to subvert the will of the people.
According to him, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) political leaders are bandying the zoning arrangement argument to suppress the will of the people who are clearly ready to exercise their franchise and vote for the candidate of the APC, former deputy governor Peremobowei Ebebi. He spoke on various issues.
Concerning Bayelsa West Senatorial District bye-election, there have been controversy over a zoning arrangement between Ekeremor and Sagbama over National Assembly Seats
The seat of a Senator is a creation of the Constitution. The Constitution specifies in clear terms, what are the qualifications of a person that can contest an election into the Senate; zoning is not part of the constitution. In our constitutional democracy in Nigeria, zoning is alien to the Constitution. It is an illicit arrangement by some leaders to capture power without going through due process. As far as we are concerned, there is nothing like zoning in Bayelsa West. It is a creation of leaders who want to capture power without allowing the electorate to exercise their constitutional rights to vote.
But the argument has been that since the dawn of democracy in 1999, the Senate Seat and House of Representative Seat have been rotated between Ekeremor and Sagbama.
Iike I said before, there is no zoning. In every election, in each of the primaries of the different political parties, people have contested the primaries regardless of the local government areas. Even if it was before, it was an idea of the PDP at a time. It was their internal arrangement. But in the face of constitutional provisions, all these other political parties’ arrangement must give way. There is nothing disabling a person from Ekeremor Local Government Area from contesting election into the Senate. I want to repeat that the zoning arrangement they are bandying about is an illegal arrangement by leaders who want to win election without allowing the people to exercise their franchise. And I am not part of it. I would never be part of it.
The incumbent House of Represenatives member, Fred Agbedi is from Ekeremor, would it be morally right for another person from Ekeremor to occupy the Senate seat.
Democracy is about majority votes. There is nothing stopping two brothers from occupying all the positions provided they are qualified by the provisions of the Constitution.
So, in that case, would that be fair for Sagbama People?
Democracy is about number. Sagbama people had the deputy governor. Is the deputy governor not bigger than House of Representatives and Senate put together? And in any case, former governor Henry Seriake Dickson from Sagbama has been governor for eight years. In the first place, ordinarily Dickson should not contest election; he has had a fair share of stay in power. He should not even come back. He should not even tell us that he wants to come back. We gave him eight years to rule us. He was in office for eight years and to say he would not spend time as a private citizen, we would not take that. It is not possible, we would not allow it
What are the chances of APC in the coming bye election?
Ebebi is the best candidate compared to Dickson. If we go to the polls today, APC would win the election. Let us look at the figures of the last governorship election, APC won Bayelsa West Senatorial District, so what has changed, nothing has changed. We are going to win hands down. Ebebi is going to win. APC members are ready to campaign and go the extra mile to ensure Ebebi wins this election. We are going to canvass and campaigned effectively for votes. We would reach out to the grassroots. I am going to mobilise voters for Ebebi.
Your party has been accused of trying to trigger rivalry between Ekeremor and Sagbama with this election
Contest of power between two parties has nothing to do with local considerations. It is a battle between APC and PDP. It has nothing to do with unity. The election would not destroy the harmonious relationship. It would rather strengthen it as the people would all participate in the election of Ebebi as the Senator.
Your people in Ekeremor were among those that called on Dickson to contest for the Senate because of what he did for the area and because he is in the best position to speak for Ijaw nation. Is not true?
All those things are propaganda. Those people that called on him do not have the mandate of the people. Dickson did not use the advantage we ought to enjoy for eight years for us. In fact, I can say Dickson wasted our eight years. The same way he described former President Jonathan of wasting six years is the same way he wasted eight years. There is no road to my town, Ekeremor. The road is on newspaper. You can’t drive to Ekeremor. Dickson said he has built hospital and roads in Ekeremor, these are all lies. Dickson can’t come back. We won’t give him the mandate to go to the Senate. We gave him a mandate and he wasted it.
APC has the structure to win this election. Bayelsa West people love APC and they are going to demonstrate the love for the party through their votes just like they did on November 16, 2019.
Dickson in his eight years in office did not protect the interest of Bayelsa West. One, he had the opportunity to give us a road, which he did not. As a matter of fact, NDDC was constructing the road but Dickson said their work was sub-standard and took over the construction. Where did that end up? It ended up as a seasonal road. In this time and age, a government can construct a seasonal road and tell people that you have built a road. Once rain starts, nobody can pass through that road because it would be submerged. There is no functional hospital in the whole of Bayelsa West. And Dickson was governor for eight years. So, what does he want to come and tell the people to campaign that he wants to represent them at the Senate. What infrastructure of record can Dickson point out that he delivered in Bayelsa West for eight years? Let him tell us the infrastructure that he as governor used his office to give to Bayelsa West. Billions of naira was spent on the construction of a so-called seaport around Agge. There is nothing on record to show in Bayelsa West Senatorial District that Dickson did for the people. He missed the first opportunity we gave him as governor; we can’t give him another opportunity. PDP is presenting a bad candidate. The party cannot sell Dickson to the people because they would reject him.