From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is palpable fear among incumbent federal lawmakers elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Bayelsa State ahead of the screening and scheduled primary.
There are five federal lawmakers elected on the PDP platform from Bayelsa State, namely Seriake Dickson (West), Moses Cleopas (Central), Fred Agbedi (Sagbama/Ekeremor federal constituency), Steve Azaiki (Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma federal constituency) and Fred Obua (Ogbia federal constituency).
While the coast is clear for senator representing Bayelsa West and former governor of the state, Dickson, to emerge unopposed due to the decision of a stakeholders’ meeting convened by Governor Douye Diri which endorsed him, the same could not be said of senator representing Bayelsa Central, Cleopas.
At the Bayelsa Central stakeholders’ meeting, Cleopas was shocked that the stakeholders refused to allow him emerge as the sole aspirant and actually endorsed Friday Benson to contest with him.
Sources in Bayelsa Central claimed Cleopas’ performance has been less than satisfactory and if not for sympathy some stakeholders had for him, he would not have contested the primary. According to investigation, Cleopas is not popular enough to win the election for PDP, especially if the APC fields a popular candidate from Southern Ijaw, hence the decision to allow Benson to contest since he is more accepted by the people because of his political pedigree serving as the longest speaker of the state House of Assembly.
Azaiki, representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma federal constituency, apparently seeing the handwriting on the wall that he would be made to face other aspirants for the primary declined to re contest.
Another PDP federal lawmaker facing an uphill task in his re-election bid is Obua representing Ogbia Federal constituency. He is to face three other aspirants, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Mietama Obordor and Ebinyu Turner for the PDP ticket.
Obua had tried unsuccessfully to get Diri’s nod to fly the party’s flag unopposed and his fears was that with the primary and the zoning sentiments in Ogbia, he would be edged out.
Screening of the aspirants holds on Friday.