The absence of former President Goodluck Jonathan has put on hold a proposed stakeholders’ meeting by the Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson, to review the choice of running mate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the November 16 governorship election in the state.
There were outcries in the state chapter of the PDP following attempts by few party leaders to foist Senator Lawrence Ewrujakpor, who hails from Dickson’s Sagbama Local Government Area, on the party as a running mate to the governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri.
But Dickson, who listened to stiff opposition against Ewrujakpor, called for a meeting of top and critical stakeholders of the party to review the controversial choice of Ewrujakpor within the timeframe given by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for substitution of candidates.
It was, however, gathered that no date had been selected for the meeting because Dickson and other party leaders were waiting for the arrival of Jonathan, who was said to have gone outside the country for an engagement.
It was learn that Jonathan’s opinion would be sought on the issue, which was threatening the existence of the PDP and its chances at the forthcoming governorship poll.
A PDP stalwart, who spoke in confidence, said following widespread argument against conceding the running mate slot to Dickson’s West Senatorial District comprising Sagbama and Ekeremor, the position would be zoned to the East, Jonathan’s district comprising Nembe, Brass and Ogbia.
He said in view of the current political realities arising from the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to give Nembe its running mate slot, most of the PDP leaders were making a strong case that the position should be given to Ogbia as a mark of honour to Jonathan and to counter the raging influence of APC at the East.
The PDP chieftain said if the meeting eventually holds, Jonathan and Dickson will be expected to nominate their preferred persons in Ogbia for the running mate position while the governorship candidate, Diri, will select from the nominees of the two leaders.
He said: “But the dilemma here is that Jonathan has a father figure in his Ogbia Local Government Area and would not want to be seen as favouring one son above the other. Jonathan will not dabble into that kind of politics of selection. He will simply ask the governor to choose anybody in his team as far as the person is from Ogbia.
“We know that most of the people from Ogbia angling for the position lack electoral value and have shown disloyalty to the governor. Most of them were involved in anti-party activities and could not deliver their wards in the last general elections. But they are the ones desperate to become running mates.
“There are, however, persons in the restoration team from Ogbia with the capacity to drive votes and command the respect of the younger ones. People especially youths from across the state like these ones, who have shown loyalty to restoration ideals. We expect the governor to pick a running from this pack”.
Another source close to Jonathan said the former President was still busy with his international assignment and might not be available for the meeting.
“But he has made his feelings on the matter known. He is of the view that he will support anybody from Ogbia the governor and the party consider for running mate to the candidate”, the source said.
A former Chairperson of Brass, Mrs. Hellen Bob, said in a statement that the stakeholders’ meeting was unnecessary since the governor had the knife and the yam.