Stakeholders in the Bayelsa West Senatorial District have urged Senator Seriake Dickson to forget his decision of seeking re-election in the spirit of the existing zoning agreement between the Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas of the state.
They described Dickson’s insistence to retain his seat as a violation of the long-standing zoning arrangement on alternating the Senate and House of Representatives seats, adding that his move was capable of causing confusion in the area.
The stakeholders spoke in Yenagoa while handling a completed nomination form bought by them to Frederick Agbedi, the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, to contest the senatorial election in 2023.
The presentation of the already filled form to Agbedi took place a few days after some persons from the senatorial district purchased a nomination form for Dickson, a development that seems to be threatening the purported zoning arrangement in the district.
Speaking on the zoning formula, a House of Representatives aspirant for Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Barnabas Edure, urged Dickson, who is also from Sagbama to rescind his second-term ambition in the interest of peace.
He expressed worry over the inordinate ambition of some politicians leading to cracks in the wall of unity of the district.
Barnabas said, “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 sets 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 the 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 standing and speaking 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, Jeremiah Owoupele, said zoning of national assembly seats in the district had never been truncated and would not be truncated now.
He said, “Not too long ago we had an election. In that election, former Deputy Governor Peremobowei Ebebi (from Ekeremor) 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 organisation 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 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 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.”
Agbedi thanked the stakeholders for calling him out to go and represent them at the Senate, insisting that there is a 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, he said, “I am not aware that the former Governor is doing anything wrong.
“The only thing I know is that some people bought a 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.”