- Gov Diri Closes All Schools To Avert Imminent Danger to Life and properties…
As the battle over who wins the Bayelsa West Senatorial District bye-election rages between immediate past Bayelsa state governor, Hon Seriake Dickson, and a former deputy governor of the state, Rt Hon Perebomowei Ebebi, the coast has become somewhat hazy, foggy over whether or not the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) would proceed with the Senatorial bye-election in the midst of tragic and ravaging flood that have hit communities across the state.
However, as flood continue to ravage communities in the State, compelling the state governor, Douye Diri, to order an immediate closure of all primary and secondary schools across the state, doubts are being raised by stakeholders if the Senatorial bye-election could still hold as scheduled.
Repeated telephone calls to INEC’s National commissioner and chairman of Information and Voter education committee, Festus Okoye were not answered as at last night.
However, political watchers in Bayelsa state have been quite desirous of seeing the outcome of the senatorial bye-election between the two political titans in Bayelsa West politics. The bye-election is schedule to hold on October 31, 2020 going by INEC’s time-table.
Ex-Governor Dickson who has been dogged by avalanche of controversies in recent times including a very damaging podcast with stirring content released on him by his former commissioner for Lands and Survey, Furoebi Akene over a purported N177billion state debts, is flying the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). Rt Hon Ebebi, also a former Speaker of the State House of Assembly is running on the platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC).
While Dickson hails from Sagbama axis, his challenger Ebebi is from Ekeremor area of the Senatorial zone. The two political tigers are set to clash in a political war which analysts describe as the battle of the titans.
Recall that Ebebi was an ally of Dickson who decamped to the APC following disagreements over the manner Dickson allegedly rail-roaded Douye Diri as the candidate of the PDP in last year’s governorship primaries against the wishes of many stakeholders that Chief Timi Alaibe, a former managing director of the NDDC was most suited for that role.
Ebebi is regarded as a political wizard of both Ekeremor politics and the impregnable warhorse of Bayelsa West Senatorial zone’s political dynamics. On the other hand, Dickson is a strong grassrrots politician and a former two- term governor with immensely deep pocket from Sagbama local government area of the Senatorial zone.
The bye-election is to fill the seat vacated by Senator Lawrence Ehuwrujakpor, the current deputy governor of the State. For both Dickson and Ebebi, it has been war of words. Dickson argues that Ebebi is trying to destroy and violate a gentleman’s agreement that favours Sagbama to complete Ehwrujakpor’s term in the Senate. According to Dickson, there was an agreement since 1999 that both Sagbama and Ekeremor should respect zoning, stressing that currently the House of Representatives position is being held by an Ekeremor son in the person of Chief Fred Agbedi, a development he says makes it illogical for Ekeremor to also now aspire to produce the Senator at the same time.
However, Ebebi says those are stupid arguments that cannot stand in the face of logic, reason and truth. According to him Sagbama, had via the political gimmicks of Dickson, held so many juicy positions to the neglect of Ekeremor for eight years, arguing that Dickson’s Sagbama brother, Ehwrudjakpor, was the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, later Senator and now deputy governor, a move that clearly violates whatever gentleman’s arrangement that was previously in place.
Ebebi said: “Zoning has been destroyed by Dickson himself. Dickson was governor for eight years and Ekeremor, being brothers to Sagbama people, should have been considered for the deputy governor position. But he gave it to his former Commissioner for Works, who was already a Senator. He(Lawrence Ehwrujakpor) abandoned that senatorial seat to become a deputy governor.”
He added: “I am not against anybody’s ambition; there is nothing like zoning. If the former governor so valued zoning and saw Ekeremor as his brother, he was a governor for eight years, his kinsman was a commissioner for works for eight years, that same person went to Senate and is now the deputy governor from the same Sagbama. Dickson, in 2019, had the governor, senator, and deputy governor. We are not fools.”
With the war of words raging, the bye-election scheduled to hold on October 31 promises to be an epic war that could swing either way. While Ebebi is believed to have the grassroots support, Dickson is said to hold the cash!
Recall that Governor Diri while closing down all schools in Bayelsa state on Sunday said he took the decision to save further lives and properties. Diri who embarked on the spot assessment of the situation in flood ravaged communities especially in Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw local government areas reiterated that all primary and secondary schools should be closed across the state with effect from Monday, October 19.
A statement by the governor’s media aide, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, explained that the closure is premised on the serious level of ruination and devastation occasioned by the flood. According to the governor, the closure is to prevent further imminent danger to lives and properties.
He said: “Due to the devastating effect of the flooding that I have seen, I hereby direct the Commissioner for Education to immediately shut down all secondary and primary schools pending when the floods would abate. We do not want to lose lives and we do not want reptiles to cause injuries to our wards. Painfully, we have to take this decision because the schools were just resuming from COVID-19 closure and here we have another natural challenge arising from flooding. I will continue with this visit to empathise and sympathise with our brothers and sisters. Let me assure all of them that as a state we are with them.”
Recall that president Muhammadu Buhari while appreciating the enormity of the national disaster had directed the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA to convey relief materials to the impacted states. The states include Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Delta, Kano, Jigawa, Rivers, Bayelsa, Sokoto, Kaduna and Adamawa.