Two rival camps within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Bayelsa State, the Prosperity Group and the Restoration Group are locked in a battle over the choice of persons for the 2023 state and National Assembly elections, our correspondent has learnt.
While the prosperity group is led by Governor Douye Diri, the restoration camp is controlled by his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, who represents Bayelsa West senatorial district.
The development has caused a major crack in the PDP family ahead of the party’s primary election for the forthcoming 2023 general polls.
Party sources claimed that while the restoration elements were plotting to take over at least 70 per cent of the legislative seats, the prosperity group was working to take all the positions as part of plans to secure Diri’s second tenure in office.
One of the sources quoted a staunch member of the restoration camp and senator representing Bayelsa Central, Moses Cleopas, as saying that a sweeping political wind would blow across the state and the party come 2023.
Speaking on the brewing political tussle, a chieftain of the PDP, Eyearide Ebike, said the rift was triggered by restoration loyalists’ attempt, particularly those serving under the Diri-led prosperity government, to be in charge of the party structure.
He said the notion that the state PDP leadership was also dominated by restoration loyalists was also unsettling the prosperity group, adding that an open interaction with stakeholders indicated that all was not well with the party.
Ebike pointed out that Dickson’s alleged quest to get a second term ticket to retain his seat in the Senate, despite an existing zoning agreement in Bayelsa West between the Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas, was also fueling the cold war.
The PDP stalwart further stated that the political squabbles in Bayelsa West had become worrisome as Dickson, who had led the people of Sagbama and Ekeremor councils to re-affirm the zoning arrangement while in office as governor, was adamant on his return bid after accepting to serve out the tenure of Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo in the senate. The latter resigned to become Diri’s deputy.
He said, “Many believe that the governor needs to dissolve his cabinet and have his men and true apostles man strategic offices. This, according to them, became very inevitable as there is a serious crack in the PDP family.
“The Henry Seriake Dickson followers (restoration camp) believe that they must continue to be in charge. This set of people has refused to realise that there is a new Sheriff whose philosophy and approach to governance is different from the former boss. They have become a cog in the wheel of progress.
“However, while the government is trying to manage these characters, they have gone ahead to begin a series of events that show they are not ready to relinquish power and allow the new boss to have his way.
There have been reports of subterranean moves to take over all the elective offices to show that they control the leadership of the party.”