Mr. Moses Dickson, a lawyer and entrepreneur, in this interview, speaks on the Saturday governorship election and why Bayelsans should vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Senator Douye Diri
What is your take on the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State?
Like any other Bayelsan, I am excited at the auspicious opportunity presented for us to determine who succeeds Henry Seriake Dickson, the first democratically elected governor to serve out his two terms of four years. I am delighted at the stability and growth the state has enjoyed these past almost eight years and the window the forthcoming elections provide to determine our collective future as Bayelsans. It is my sincere hope that this election produces a winner that will sustain and surpass the quantum leap the state has made.
I hope the electoral umpire will conduct a free and fair contest tapping from their experiences of this same exercise in this state and beyond and that security agencies will exude professionalism in support of a peaceful and credible election.
Who among the governorship candidates will you support and ask people of Bayelsa State to vote for and why are you supporting and endorsing your chosen candidate?
Having studied the candidates vying in the next elections, I have reached an informed conclusion to support the candidacy of Senator Douye Diri(SDD), and enjoin Bayelsans to do the same. The reasons for my choice are not far- fetched. Bayelsa needs a governor who will hit the ground running and not a novice coming to experiment with the position. Senator Diri stands shoulder high above other aspirants in this regard as he has acquired and demonstrated competence, capacity and experience from years of long service in government at many levels.
Senator Diri’s candidacy should also be supported to sustain the long-established tradition of political justice that provides the opportunity for power rotation among the different senatorial zones of the state and the constituent local government areas irrespective of numbers and don’t forget that this same ideology granted our state and region an opportunity to produce a President of this country. It is instructive to note that SDD is from Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area in the Central Senatorial district which is one out of the remaining two local governments that have not produced a governor; acting or substantive in the history of Bayelsa State. He is a man with a listening ear and an impressive and sustainable policy document if implemented diligently.
Do you see the APC governorship candidate, Chief David Lyon stopping the PDP candidate, Senator Diri in the poll?
It is important to clarify that there is just a single party on ground in Bayelsa and that is the PDP all along. Suffice it to say that the party has been in power since the return to democracy in 1999. In these years, the party to its credit has impacted positively on every household in Bayelsa. This, in turn, has translated to a viable and tested structure that ensures the mobilization of our people in support of the party. The PDP as a party has immensely championed the cause of the Ijaw nation over the years.
What about the influence of the Minister of State for Petroleum and former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, who many see as a heavyweight in Bayelsa politics?
Let me again affirm that irrespective of political differences, Chief Sylva remains a leader and former governor of Bayelsa State. However, it is important to state that his rise to prominence today can be traced only to the PDP. The party afforded him opportunities to serve in different capacities which include five years plus a stint as the governor. His foray into the APC like many others is on account of his inability to respect and abide by the internal administration and control mechanisms in the PDP, avoidable grievances, political intolerance and desperation to power.
The Minister knows that the APC is a hard sell here in Bayelsa on account of the unprecedented achievements of the successive PDP administrations till date. Our people remain resolute and steadfast in the support for the PDP and will not be swayed by empty promises from the APC. That aside, Chief Sylva like any other Bayelsan; he is entitled to one vote and he has a right to cast it in support of whosoever he desires. But it is clear that the overwhelming majority of Bayelsans are with the PDP and will emerge victorious in a free and fair contest come Saturday, 16th November.
How would you assess the preparation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the election and do you have confidence in the electoral commission?
Although preliminary information available suggests some level of preparedness on the part of INEC for this election, it would be hasty to conclude on this basis. The commission has confirmed that necessary equipment and materials are already on ground.
What is your reaction to the ruling of an high court, which disqualified the APC deputy governorship candidate, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo on account of presentation of false information to INEC?
The legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act (except reversed) on appeal, simply implies that the APC has no governorship candidate at all in the November 16, 2019, gubernatorial elections. Justice Inyang Ekwo disqualified the deputy governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, over false information given in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC for the November 16 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State. The suit was instituted by the PDP against the APC candidate, David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma, and the judge found and held that Biobarakuma gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies. The judge held also that all his documents bore different names and therefore disqualified him from contesting the forthcoming governorship elections.