By Emem Idio
BARRING any last minute change, all card carrying and registered members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Bayelsa State, will congregate at the 105 electoral wards across the eight local government areas of the state on Saturday to elect the standard-bearer of the party to fly the flag of the party in the November 16, using the direct primaries.
However, some party chieftains and governorship aspirants are not favourable disposed to the direct primaries mode and are rooting for the indirect mode. However, the state party leadership has already sanctioned the direct primaries mode, a situation that is generating disaffection among party stalwarts with some instituting legal action against the direct primaries mode.
Be that as it may, the APC primaries will be a battle to wits between Chief David Lyon the anointed candidate of the Minister of State for Petroleum, and former Governor Timipre Sylva. With the emergence of Sylva as federal minister, many had thought that the race would be a smooth sail for the immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Heineken Lokpobiri, until Sylva brought in Chief Lyon, an oil mogul and philanthropist from Olugbobiri Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
As the leader of the party in the state and one who installed the state leadership of the party, Sylva wields enormous influence in the party in the state and it may take a miracle for any other aspirant aside his group to clinch the party ticket. Already, Chief Sylva according to some influential party source has already mobilised his structures within the party to work for Chief Lyon.
Odds against David Lyon
Chief David Lyon might be a household name in the state because of his generosity and philanthropist activities but in the political circles his name does not ring a bell apart from been a close ally of Chief Sylva and financier of the party in the state. However, he rose to political prominence during the 2019 general elections where he sponsored a candidate for the House of Representatives, Mr. Preye Oseke, who roundly defeated the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the person of the immediate past Speaker of the state assembly and third time member Mr. Konbowei Benson.
His critics are also of the view that aside being a successful business man and oil contractor that he has not held any political office apart from being a community youth leader and chairman of Rural Development Area, arguing that he lacks the requisite experience expected for the position of an executive governor.
Moreover, apart from being a close associate of Sylva, they argued that he is not a party man and lacks the personality clout of a governor as he is barely heard in public. But his ardent supporters, including the party hierarchy, ex-militant leaders, and of course the leader of the party Chief Sylva and his foot soldiers are convinced that he remains the only one that can challenge the PDP establishment. But by and large, to many, the party ticket has already been won and lost and Chief Lyon is expected to capture it and any upset most unlikely.
Lokpobiri waiting on the wings
While other aspirants Mr. Preye Aganaba, Prince Ebitimi Amgbare , Ms Diseye Poweigha and Professor Ongoebi Etebu are perceived as outsiders, a formidable opposition to Chief Lyon’s candidature is the immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Heineken Lokpobiri.
Lokpobiri, a grassroots politician who is believed to be pushing for Indirect Primaries is not a push over and is one that will likely fight to the finish with Chief Sylva’s structure. He has all it takes to challenge for the ticket and clearly understands the opposition that he is up against. Lokpobiri could be on the wings to clinch the ticket. However, the odds against Lokpobiri are the fact that he comes from the same Senatorial District with the incumbent Governor Seraike Dickson and many people are of the opinion that power must shift to another senatorial zone and that is the advantage that Lyon has against Lokpobiri.