*Sylva meets Ateke Tom in Port Harcourt

By Olayinka Latona

Barely  one week to the rescheduled governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, wife of the immediate past  President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, and his (Jonathan) political associates have moved to stop the re-election of Governor Seriake Dickson by mobilizing support  for Chief Timipre Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the January 9  poll.

INEC had, on December 5 last year, conducted election  in seven out of eight local government areas of the state, out of which the governor and candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) overwhelmingly won in six while Sylva  took  one.    Both the PDP and APC have shifted the battle to Southern Ijaw. Though Dickson is leading with over 33,000 votes, the APC is bent on upturning the governor’s victory.

Sources close to the former first family confirmed  that Mrs. Jonathan had brokered a peace meeting between Sylva and  a former militant leader, Ateke Tom. The meeting was said to have been  held behind closed doors on new year’s day in the Port Harcourt palatial home of Tom where Jonathan allegedly  persuaded the militant leader to “come to Southern Ijaw and help Sylva.”    Aside the former first lady, key political associates of Jonathan, it was learnt, have renewed their resolve to gang-up against Dickson on January 9.

It will be recalled that while some of Jonathan’s men had defected to the APC to fight Dickson, many of them remained in the PDP to work for the election of the APC candidate, Sylva. Prominent amongst those who defected are Senator Clever Ikisikpo (Bayelsa East), immediate past senator representing the former president; Chief Ikiogha Diekivie,  a  former Chief of Staff Government House and close ally of the president from Yenagoa; a  former Commissioner for Lands and confidant of Jonathan, Surveyor Furoebi Akene; a  former    Commissioner under Jonathan and current FERMA  Director, Finance, Bishop Deggi Eremienyo. The FERMA top official defected to APC just eight days to the December 5 election and worked against Dickson in Nembe.

Others are a  former Chairman of the NDDC and bossom friend of Jonathan, Dr. Tarilla Tabepah, who hails from Kolokuma/Okpokuma; Hon Ayobegha James, Chief Numoipre Wills, a Nembe high chief, who was appointed Executive Secretary, National Boundaries Commission by Jonathan.

 

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