In its editorial in the Vol. 18 No.3 editon, the Atlantic Express opined on the historical balancing factors of the Bayelsa Leadership Boat or Canoe which it said must have a combination of salt water and fresh water personnel at the top bracket leadership, i.e. the governor and his deputy. It said the leadership boat must carry someone (governor or deputy governor) from the “Izons” of the fresh water zone comprising the western and cenral senatorial districts of the state and the “Ijaws” from the salt water zone comprising the Eastern senatorial district made up of the three powerful ethnic groups of Akassa, Nembe and Ogbia.
In other words, a party that parades its governorship and deputy governorship candidates from only the salt water zone (western and central senatorial districts) or only from the eastern senatorial district was bound to fail.
The editorial said in part: “Never in the history of Bayelsa has a governor and deputy governor came from the central and western senatorial districts. Such a combination, whichever way it is manipulated will only result in sinking the leadership boat of the state and the party together”. And true to the paper’s prediction, because Governor Dickson was blinded by his inordinate ambition of running for a senatorial seat through bye-election, he fielded Senator Lawrence Erwudjakpo, his former works commissioner (from Bayelsa west – the fresh water zone) as deputy governor candidate along with Senator Douye Diri (from Bayelsa central – still from the fresh water zone) with disastrous results.
Even entreaties from former President Goodluck Jonathan that he fields an Ogbia (from Bayelsa east – the salt water zone) as deputy governorship candidate, after Dickson had anointed Douye Diri as governorship candidate in the Peoples Democratic Party primaries against such preferred candidate like Chief Timi Alaibe, fell on deaf ears. And so what happened? Dickson’s two fresh water candidates of Diri and Ewrudjakpo could not withstand the voting power of the salt water and fresh water combination of Chief David Lyon (Bayelsa Central) and Senator Biobarakumo Eremienyo-Degi (Bayelsa East).
Now the question is this: Forgetting the stubbornness of Governor Dickson, has the combination of Bayelsa Central represented by Douye Diri and Bayelsa West represented by Senator Lawrence Ewrudjakpo worked? Certainly not! That is because such a combination alienates the powerful salt water ethnic groups of Akasa, Nembe and Ogbia, whereas the combination of Chief David Lyon from Bayelsa Central (fresh water zone) and Senator Biobarakumo Eremienyo-Degi (from salt water zone) was a very balancing combination and the results showed.
The corollary is true, that a combination of only Bayelsa East in the top bracket leadership of Bayelsa can never produce a balanced leadership boat for Bayelsa, except it gets its governor or deputy governor from any of the two other senatorial districts which are in the fresh water zone. Let any political party try it and it will surely fail as the PDP failed in the November 16, 2019 state governorship election.
If political pundits or any political parties still argue or feel that Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central can together successfully produce a governor and deputy governor, let them try it in 2024 and the result will just be as witnessed in the 16 November 2019 election. Forget Dickson’s haughtiness, selfishness and inordinate ambition which blind-folded him from realizing that only the natural combination of salt water and fresh water will make a strong Bayelsa. And that is a natural truth.
*Chief Ereku is publisher of the Atlantic Express