Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Eight aspirants are jostling for the Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial district tickets for the October 31 by-election in the state.
In Bayelsa West, Hon Peremobowei Ebebi a former deputy- governor and former speaker of the House of Assembly is squaring up with former lawmaker, Kemelayefa Omonibeke and the party’s 2019 senatorial candidate, Matthew Karimo.
While Ebebi and Omonibeke are from Ekeremor, Karimo is from Sagbama and the trio are to slug it out in the primaries scheduled September 3.
According to investigations since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given former governor Henry Seriake Dickson an automatic ticket, Ebebi is being backed by APC leaders in the area to emerge the flag bearer of the party.
Findings indicated that many political leaders from Ekeremor had urged Ebebi to contest the Senate seat to ensure the local government gets the senatorial seat since Sagbama already has the deputy- governorship after eight years of Dickson.
APC leaders in the state and national are also favourably disposed to an Ebebi candidature as he is seen as the only viable force that can muster required votes if APC hopes to defeat Dickson.
It is believed that Ebebi already has the blessing of the APC national leadership including the Minister of State for Petroleum, former governor Timipre Sylva and the member Caretaker/ Extra Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, South- South, Chief David Lyon
In Bayelsa Central, five aspirants all from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area are jostling for the ticket namely former secretary to Bayelsa State government and former federal permanent secretary, Dr Boladei Igali, former state chairman of the APC, Chief Tiwei Orunimigha, a cousin to former governor Diepreye Alamiyeseigha, Chief Abel Ebifemowei, former House of Representatives member, representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency , Hon Henry Ofongo and the party’s governorship candidate in 2019, Festus Daumebi
Investigations revealed that the battle for the Bayelsa Central ticket is between Tiwei and Ebifemowei.
Daumebi and Ofongo might be prevailed upon to withdraw from the race given the body language of the APC leaders in the state who are not excited about their aspiration.
Igali a political associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan is seen as the most eminently qualified because of his educational background and political network among the aspirants but sources said his lack of support base in Southern Ijaw has been counted against him.
Already the election panel from Abuja is on ground in Yenagoa to monitor the primaries and security has been beefed up around the party secretariat located along Melford Okilo road, Yenagoa.