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Re-run throws Bayelsa guber race wide open




About 94, 663 votes up for grabs
THE re-scheduled Bayelsa State Governorship election billed for January 9, 2016 has thrown wide the race, while the results expected from the poll appears dicey, despite the fact that the incumbent Governor is leading his main rival by about 8, 000 votes.

There are about 94, 663 votes up for grabs in the seven Local Councils where the exercise will take place.
Both Governor Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, APC are expected to exhibit strong showing in the bye-elections.

The present 38,000 votes- differential can be obliterated if the seeming popularity of the AP candidate in six out of the seven local councils are taken into reckoning.
The seven local councils and their voting strength are as follows; Sagbama, with six polling units rescheduled, has 2005 votes; Yenagoa has 16 polling units and 8,383 votes; Brass, 16 polling units, and 2, 255 votes while 44 polling units were rescheduled in Ekeremor, the home local council of the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri with 13,910 votes.

Ogbia Local Council with 27 units and 5, 816 votes; Nembe, 13 rescheduled polling units with 4, 294 votes, while the contentious Southern Ijaw Local Council, still remains most contentious as different figures were recorded for the area with about 58, 000 votes being the conservative figures popularly agreed on.

However, the APC is arguing that the total votes realizable form the area is 120, 897 and if this turns out to be the right figure, it could raise the bar and the total state wide votes for the re-run could rise to 157, 000 “We just did our re-validation few weeks before the suspended election and that is the figure we have on our records,” Mr. Panebi Fortune, the Bayelsa APC Publicity Secretary told The Guardian.

Taking into consideration the fact that Chief Sylva hails from Nembe and Brass, he is likely to consolidate his hold on the area and close the gap between himself and Governor Dickson.
Another local council where Sylva is expected to have an edge is Ekeremor, but the PDP has some political heavyweights that can counter the Minister of State for Agriculture, vote for vote.

As for Ogbia, both parties are expected to run neck to neck as since it is the home local council of former President Goodluck Jonathan is predictably attractive to both parties.
The contentious Southern Ijaw is expected to determine who occupies the Creek Haven, come February 15, 2016.
With its large numbers of voters, the people of the area have become major determinants of the rescheduled poll.
It is expected that security this time around would be better than the December 5 exercise and that a lot of voters, who because of the orgy of violence that greeted the last exercise, were disenfranchised would be available on the new date.

The two main parties are already up in arm against each other on the issue of the Southern Ijaw area as they have both been boasting to carry the day.

According to the Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Mr. Panebi Fortune, his party is sure of victory in all the seven local councils, especially the vote-rich Southern Ijaw.
‘’We are so sure of victory. Even if Chief Sylva himself now decides to support Dickson, he will still lose. It is not about hiring thugs from neighbouring states to attack the people. Is it now that Governor Dickson wants to decide to know the Southern Ijaw people?” he asked.

However, the state chapter of the PDP has said that the APC was fighting a lost battle because the governorship election has already been won and lost as the PDP candidate, Governor Seriake Dickson is in an unassailable position having won in six of seven local councils with Southern Ijaw the only remaining area of contest.

In a statement released on its behalf by the Director of Publicity of the Restoration Campaign Organization, Jonathan Obuebite, the PDP said “It’s a lost battle for the APC,” Obuebute was emphatic that no amount of propaganda and blackmail will save APC from defeat come January 9, saying the PDP has no reason to import thugs as alleged by the APC to win in the rerun election.

He added that it was an election already won with the PDP candidate and governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, leading by a wide margin.
“The APC should simply concede victory rather than engaging in needless propaganda, cheap blackmail and grandstanding”, he said.

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