Re-run polls: Wamakko, Sylva set to return

  • Sunday, May 25, 2008 - By JOSSY IDAM
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Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s re-run gubernatorial elections in Sokoto and Bayelsa states are apparently gearing to return to the Government House they vacated following the nullification of their election in April 2007.

In Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylva, rattled and humbled by the Court of Appeal verdict which upturned his election, had to employ deft political moves within his party to return to power.
Aware of the forces against his candidature, Sylva had to sacrifice his long-time political associate, Dr. George Fente, to appease some aggrieved members of the party.

Also, Sylva, once a political adviser to former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, had to reach out to the Governor-General of the Ijaw nation to assist him get back to power.
Consequently, Alamieyeseigha was part of the PDP campaign machinery to the eight local government areas of the state.

In Sagbama local government, the former governor speaking in the local Ijaw language told the people that there is no candidate that can match Sylva in the election.
His efforts so far have been successful as many of those who still believe in him and had sympathy for Amagbare in the April 14 elections have queued up behind Sylva. He further dealt a blow to the base of the opposition led by AC by dangling the carrot of a unity government before them.

Though the leadership of the AC has rejected the moves, those of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) that would have supported AC to wrest power from the PDP have bought in into the plan. The governorship candidate of the ANPP in the April 2007 poll, Chief Bethel Amabebe, a serving commissioner, directed his party members to vote for Sylva.

Following the footsteps of Amabebe, the DPP governorship candidate, Senator Kojo John Brambaifa, less than 48 hours to the election also instructed DPP members to vote Sylva back to power.
In Sokoto, the party scaled the last major hurdle in its bid to return to Government House on Wednesday when a Federal High Court threw out an attempt by the major opposition party, DPP, to stop the election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also restated its readiness to go ahead with the court-ordered election. Justice Adamu Bello threw out the application on the ground that his jurisdiction to entertain the case was being challenged.

The election in Sokoto was described as a contest not between former governor, Aliyu Wamakko of the PDP and Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi of the DPP, but essentially between Wamakko and the former governor of the state and founder of DPP, Attahiru Bafarawa.
Although Bafarawa engaged the power of incumbency to support the candidature of Dingyadi in the previous election, Wamako still emerged victorious.
At press time, collation of results in both states was still on.

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