Events in the Peoples democratic Party in Bayelsa State in recent times reveals a deep crack if not properly managed may lead to its second eventaul defeat as we edge closer to the elections.

Only recently many leaders of the party has been resigning and defected to other parties .These party leaders in their letters of resignation all claim injustice, lack of internal democracy and non appreciation of their significant efforts in building the party .

What is also evident from these serial defections is that a good number of them are those who contested party primaries but lost to those anointed by the Governor.

In Bayelsa west, Chief Bekes Etifa, a former commissioner had sought the ticket of the party for the federal constituency of sagbama / Ekeremor but lost to the incumbent Hon Fred Agbedi. After the elections he made a bold move and went to the SDP and became the party flagbearer.

The same thing happened in Ogbia federal Constituency where the former commissioner for information Hon markson Iworiso also sought the party ticket but also lost to Ebinyu Turner . Today he has also decamped to the SDP and has been adopted as the party flagbearer for the Ogbia federal constituency.

As if that is not enough, within the same period, the present Executive Chairman of Brass local Government area, Hon Victor Isaiah and the immediate past Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Barr. Tesufa Dumbo had all decamped to the SDP.

Ordinarily, party membership is a matter of choice hence one would see nothing wrong in their bid to realize their various political aspirations in another party . But what may have made many to wonder and read between the lines is the fact that all of them decamped to the same party and are all known to be members of the restoration team of the PDP under the former Governor, Senator HS Dickson.

Investigations by this writer reveals that all has not been well within the PDP . The reason is not far a-fetched, the former strong man of Bayelsa politics is not happy with his sworn godson. His grouse is that beyond the fact that the Governor has refused to consult him on major decisions , majority of his preferred candidates lost out in the recent party primaries.

Beyond this , allegations are also rife that the Governor has been silently building his own political structure, a necessity of all political leaders, an act Senator HS Dickson frowns at deeply .

The former Governor holds the firm view that there is absolutely no need for such an act. He contends that the restoration group shouod remain the pivotal platform where decisions should be taken with him calling the shots .
However, allies of the incumbent Governor holds a sharply different and opposing view and has urged the Governor to sit up and have his own structure to his political advantage and survival . Many believes this is sacrosanct and inevitable .

It is true and undisputed that HS Dickson fought fiercely to make the incumbent flag bearer of the party even though the party lost the election and only by divine providence that it took power again .

Given the above scenario, Governor Diri allowed the former Governor HS Dickson to play a major role in the constitution of the cabinet as well as all sensitive appointments. From the SSG to chief of staff , cabinet commissioners, special advisers etc . Therefore it’s safe to say that the former Governor had his way.

Today it’s safe to conclude that majority of the state leadership in different public offices owes their emergence to HS Dickson.
A feat not possible in many other political climes .

However, what may have breached their relationship from keen observes are two issues . Firstly, it is reported that some cabinet commissioners are seen as spies who report all developments in government circles to HS Dickson . This did not go down well with the Governor who needs absolute loyalty from appointees and confidentiality .

Not enough , these commissioners flouted directive of their boss in the early days of the agitations of zoning in the former Governors Senatorial district. An act that shows that there is need to have his own structure as a measure to have absolute loyalty from his appointees .

The second identified reason is the mass failure of many anointed aspirants of HS Dickson that lost the election to others perceived to be fiercely loyal to Senator Diri. This perhaps is the greatest threat to the restoration team and its resolution to fight the prosperity administration.

In all of this, there seem to be a strong sense of support for the Governor as Bayelsans are not happy with HS Dickson . His sins are many but most poignant is his continuance meddling in the affairs of governance from Abuja, something that was alien to his administration despite having a sitting President as his leader and one who practically imposed him on the party and Bayelsans .

His continued interference has raised many fears as to the ability of the Governor to take independent and people oriented decisions . This was very loud when against popular demand and negating an already established zoning agreement between Sagbama and Ekeremor people, Governor Diri imposed Sen Dickson on the people of Bayelsa west contrary to the rule in the zoning clause . This was done in grave error but done to replicate the good gesture of HS Dickson in making him flag bearer of the party .

Today, there are deep grumbling from
Party members who believe that the Governor has done a grave sin and would pay for it sooner or later. Some believe strongly and admonished that the act of returning Dickson was like giving a fish to a cat to watch over . As rightly predicted , investigators shows that all the decampees apart from being known loyalties of Dickson were all acting under his clear instructions.
It is feared and rumored that more people will ditch the party in the coming days and that it is part of an elaborate an to create a platform to fight the Governor in the 2023 .

This is more serious given the non return of Dickson anointed, Senator Moses Cleopas who was given the tsunami political treatment.

What is also indicative of the internal battle is the fact that all those who are loyal to Dickson and lost party primaries are in court against the Governors candidates. From hon Tesufa Dumbo to hon Jonathan Obuoebite and moses Cleopas, everyone of them are all in various litigations against the winners.

In all of this, the general belief is that the incumbent Governor has clearly overindulged HS Dickson .

While it is true that he has played a major role in making him Governor, his actions within the last two years are nothing but ethical . The seed of discord was sown by him in his penchant and undying appetite for absolute loyalty despite not being in power as against his creed while he held sway as Governor. The people who had become fond of Governor Diri today seem to begin to have a second thought as it’s clear that he has refused to do the utmost by not parting ways with the former Governor. The truth of the matter is that the APC won the 2019 elections not because of the unacceptable nature of Gov Diri but clearly because of the unpopularity of HS Dickson and his style of governance . Today while the people are warming up to embrace the prosperity government, his inability to cut off HS Dickson may clearly be his undoing soon.

While it was said that HS Dickson embarked on many projects among which is the sagbama Ekeremor road, the revelations on the amount of money spent and the quality of the road has become a thing of serious concern . It is said that apart from the unjustified amount the road collapse soon as the rains began . No bridges were built in such a terrain and this has occasioned new approvals to erect strong bridges that ran into billions .

This is same of many such projects and the Governor has been magnanimous enough to cover and attempt to do them well yet the former Governor seem not to appreciate all this efforts .

The reality is that HS Dickson has benefitted more than anyone in this party . He hs created more problems that one can imagine. His budding to return to the senate alone hs created deep cracks that will hunt Governor Diri. Against popular sentiment and expectations, the Governor conceded even some tickets to him yet his greed and penchant to always call the shots will not be appeased . It’s indeed tine to part ways if Diri is serious of making impactful leadership under an atmosphere of peace and undoubted loyalty of his foot soldiers.

It is this perception among other reasons that has finally persuaded the Governor to have yielded to having total control independent of the restoration group . This resolve led to the loss of many of the HS Dickson candidates. This is indeed the immediate cause of the present hostility .

When and how it will end is a matter of time and conjecture. But what is sure is that the centre cannot hold and the way and manner the Governor manages this complexities will determine his chances of being re-elected as Governor in 2023.

Owei Amaokosuwei writes from Nongbene community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

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