[From CHRIS EZE, Yenagoa]
Long standing friendship between the immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson and the member representing Ekeremor/Sagbama Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Frederick Agbedi may be heading for the rocks.
This follows the alleged insistence of the former governor to seek reelection in the senate in variance with the existing rotational arrangement between Ekeremor and Sagbama local government areas which make up the Bayelsa West senatorial district.
The zoning arrangement, according to findings by The Oracle Today, has it that National Assembly positions would rotate between the two local government areas every eight years.
This, by implication, means that, if Sagbama takes the senatorial position for eight years, Ekeremor would be at the lower chamber for the same eight years, after which the positions would be swapped.
However, the alleged move by Dickson to truncate the arrangement is stoking crisis in the senatorial district with the potential to make Dickson and Agbedi poke hands into each other’s cornea.
Agbedi was the Director General of Dickson’s campaign in his second term as governor and also former chairman of PDP in the state.
Following the documented zoning arrangement, stakeholders in Bayelsa West Senatorial District purchased and completed a senatorial nomination form for Mr. Frederick Agbedi to contest the senatorial election in 2023.
This was after some persons from the Bayelsa West Senatorial District purchased a nomination form for Chief Seriake Dickson, the incumbent senator representing the district.
Speaking to journalists in his house in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Agbedi, who thanked the stakeholders for calling him out to go and represent them at the Senate, insisted that there is signed and documented zoning arrangement in the district between Sagbama and Ekeremor local government areas.
The two-term House of Representatives member said he was still consulting; stressing that the people’s charge is what is good for any responsible person and not to do the contrary.
Reacting to a question on why Dickson chose to go against the agreement, Agbedi said: “I am not aware that the former Governor is doing anything wrong. The only thing I know is that some people bought form for him just as the people presented a completed form to me. But Dickson’s own, they bought a blank form and gave it to him. Whether he has filled the form I don’t know.
“Today I was invited to Yenagoa, the state capital, to be handed over a completed nomination form. They put their resources together to not only purchase the form, they filled it and handed it over to me. That is where we are. Any other thing, I don’t know yet.
“As for zoning of National Assembly seats in the district, if any person says there is no zoning, that is the person’s opinion. But I know that there is a written document signed by Sagbama and Ekeremor. That is why the Ekeremor people called on the Senator and myself to ensure that we maintain this zoning. I signed that document in affirmation of the zoning arrangement.
“If the former governor fails to respect the zoning arrangement, it is not an issue for discussion.”
Meanwhile, a House of Representatives aspirant for Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituncy, Mr. Edure Barnabas, expressed worry over the inordinate ambition of some politicians leading to cracks in the wall of unity of the district.
Barnabas, who called on Dickson to rescind his decision of seeking re-election in the spirit of the zoning arrangement, said: “With the current happenings, the senatorial district is not together because some persons are trying to truncate an agreement that was reached over the years between Sagbama and Ekeremor.
“The development has created some pockets of problems here and there in the district. We started our zoning arrangement even before the Bayelsa East Senatorial District; we have been working together as a people.
“The agreement has been such that when Sagbama produces the Senator for eight years, then Ekeremor produces Reps member for eight years. That is the way we have been alternating until now a few set of people are trying to truncate this agreement.
“Concerning the re-election bid of Senator Dickson, it is all over the place that some persons, his former political appointees contributed money to buy form for him. However, that is not the general opinion of our people.
“If you have empowered some people that are commissioners and lawmakers in your district and they have bought a form that you should contest election, it the duty of a leader of that level to say ‘no’. That is why we are saying that there is no point for him to continue. We are begging him to rescind his decision in the interest of peace and unity of our district.
“Some of the leaders in the district are fomenting trouble. Instead of them to stand up and speak the truth, they are dancing around the issue. As for me, the popular opinion is that they are doing a wrong thing and it should be corrected.”
Another aspirant for Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency who spoke at the venue, Mr Jeremiah Owoupele, said zoning of National seats in the district had never been truncated and would not truncated now.
He said: “Not too long ago we had an election. In that election, former Deputy Governor Peremobowei Ebebi contested. Ebebi is not just anybody; he is a man of strong political calling. But at the end of the election, what happened? he lost woefully.
“So, in my own opinion, the senatorial district is in unity. When the election comes, the obvious will happen. It is known that in every organization or group, when there is an agreement, there are a few individuals that are dissidents.
“But the majority will have their way. If Ebebi would lose in all units in Aleibiri, a constituency that since 1999 till the time, he never lost, he had always held sway, it tells you that there is a strong resolve on the part of the people.
“For us, it is to appeal to them that there is a decision and the decision is put in black and white. We just have to appeal to the people that they have shown a strong resilience in ensuring that this unity of purpose of our people as being kept over the years is respected. I don’t believe we have a contestant from Sagbama. We know what to do at the appropriate time”, he maintained.