Former President Goodluck Jonathan was conspicuously absent on Wednesday at the grand finale of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship campaign in Bayelsa State.
The absence of Jonathan, who failed to send either a written message or a representative, at the rally attended by some PDP governors, further lent credence to the breakdown in relationship between him and the state governor, Seriake Dickson.
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike, whose state shares border with Bayelsa, was also missing in action at the mega rally that was held at the Ox-Bow Lake Pavilion, Yenagoa, the state capital.
But the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus led other national executive members of the party to the occasion, which was attended by mammoth crowd of party faithful.
The Governors of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwa; Bauchi, Bala Mohammed, who is the Chairman of the PDP Campaign Council; Imo, Emeka Ihediogha and Delta states, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, graced the occasion.
Also present were some of the PDP National Assembly members, various youth and women groups, who turned the event to a carnival.
Secondus, who presented the flag of the PDP to the party’s Governorship Candidate, Senator Douye Diri, described Bayelsa as a PDP state and warned security agencies against compromising the election.
He said the PDP was on ground in the state alleging that there was no federal presence of the APC in Bayelsa.
He said the APC took the control of the Federal Government from former President Goodluck Jonathan, a son of Bayelsa and appealed to voters to shun the APC.
Secondus, who derided the APC Candidate, Chief David Lyon, said there was a huge difference in qualification between him and the candidate of the PDP.
He said while Diri was tested, trusted and educated to govern Bayelsa, Lyon lacked the academic qualifications to represent Bayelsa as a governor.
He said: “There is a great difference between our candidate and their candidate. Lyon cannot represent himself. It is not enough to say I want to be a governor. It is not a village affair. We don’t want people who will go there and will not represent Bayelsa.
“If they wished Bayelsa good, will they bring that kind of candidate? Douye Diri has been tested and has performed. He will not hire professors. He is professor himself. With Douye and his running mate, what else are you looking for? Don’t be deceived.
“The leader of APC wants a man he can control. Are there no professors in APC. The APC and its leaders must apologize for bringing such a candidate. We call on security agencies not to allow themselves to be used by the APC to rig this election. We know that the APC is not on ground but they are planning to come with evil”.
Speaking after receiving the flag, Diri promised to consolidate on the achievements of Dickson in education, infrastructure and health.
He said his administration would surpass Dickson’s achievements and create prosperity for everybody in the state.
In his reactions, Tambuwal, said the crowd at the event was a clear testimony that Bayelsa belonged to the PDP and urged the people to come out en masse and vote for the PDP.
He said; “We are aware of their plans to rig the election as they are not on ground. Please come out en masse, vote and protect your votes so that Diri would be elected governor and take over from Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
“You have witnessed what Governor Dickson has done since 2012 so you must not allow those who would come to promote violence to come back to government”.
Dickson, his part said the event was an opportunity for the people to thank the PDP for being their part.
He said: Today is another opportunity for us in Bayelsa State and Ijaw nation to thank PDP for being our party. Thank you for being our umbrella that has shielded us from all rain and sun.
“PDP has been the only party since independence and party politics that has given us a face and a voice. That is why we in this state and in the Ijaw nation would continue to say, PDP is the Ijaw’s people’s party.
“In 2015 when political calamity struck at the Federal level, the storms came, the political storms came. Decamping even in greater numbers came but the people of this state and those who mean well for this state stood by me and we won election in all the eight local government areas.
“Why I have gone down memory lane is to let you know that what is going on is normal. We weather it. We defeated the so-called federal might in 2015, ward afterwards, local government after local government and by the grace of God these people you see here and our teeming supporters in the state are poised to repeat that on November 16. Those with us are much more than those against us.
“Nobody should believe the propaganda, the sponsored decamping and continued vilification of the leadership that has done so much for our people. Nobody should believe because 15 political appointees out of over 3000 appointees that PDP would shake.
“We are too formidable. The ongoing campaigns have shown the underbelly of the lies of APC in their campaigns. Inwards afterwards, local government after local government, communities after communities even in their own communities, the people have demonstrated again and again that they are with the PDP and not with the APC.
“Let me tell the whole country and the whole world that the APC has as at today is not in any position to win any unit in a free and fair election. The statistics is there for those who are ready to distort history and spread propaganda to justify rigging. We have started operation deliver your unit, your community and constituency.
“A message to the men in uniformed services who would be told to come here to rig election, kill and maim our again, know clearly that the people telling to come and rig are not in a position to win any election. Our people are determined to vote for stability; our are determined to vote for stability; our people are determined to vote for investment and development in all its ramifications”.