Race for Dickson’s successor intensifies as Okara, others indicate interest
The Restoration Caucus in Bayelsa chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has begun the process of picking the standard-bearer for the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.The Special Adviser to the outgoing Governor Henry Seriake Dickson on Political Matters, Feynman Wilson, stated in a statement that the decision was arrived at during a meeting with the state chief executive in Yenagoa. He said the parley followed the successful conclusion of the three-day fasting and prayer session organised by the state to seek the face of God on the matter.
Regarded as the governor ‘s political family, the Restoration Caucus disclosed that three members of the team, including the Chief of Staff to Government House, Talford Ongolo; Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Kemela Okara; and the senator representing Bayelsa Central Douye Diri, had indicated interest to succeed their principal.
The political aide clarified that other members of the group were at liberty to seek the party’s nomination, adding that all aspirants would be duly engaged by the party and caucus.Wilson thanked members of the team for their steadfastness, discipline, dedication and commitment over the years.
He stressed that the Restoration Team, which controls over 80 per cent of the PDP In the state, remains the only group that has the cohesion, strength and capacity to win the upcoming polls.
However, Okara, a respected lawyer and pastor who had twice served as Commissioner of Trade and Investment in the current administration, is anchoring his campaign on the theme, “The Bridge to Bayelsa’s Prosperous Future.”
The focus of his campaign, according to the gubernatorial hopeful, is to achieve measurable and enduring all-round transformation of the state in massive job creation, industrialisation, agriculture and security by building on the core accomplishments of the Dickson era.He said: “Bayelsa has done well under the current administration despite challenges. For instance, massive investment in education has produced significant positive outcomes such as 10 boarding schools across the local councils with free feeding and tuition; two universities – the Bayelsa Medical University, Yenagoa – and University of Africa in Toru Orua have been established.”
“In healthcare, the Dickson administration has built primary healthcare facilities in all 105 wards of the state, supported maternal healthcare through the N3000 per month given to pregnant women and instituted a health insurance scheme. The Dickson administration has also opened up access roads to previously inaccessible places in the senatorial zones and built an airport that can handle international flights with a 3.5 kilometres runway.”