By Akanimo Sampson
In a bid to rally the Red Chamber of Nigeria’s bicameral Legislature behind Senator Ahmed Lawan, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be ignoring President Muhammadu Buhari’s signature anti-corruption war with its alleged unrestrained cash inducement.
Insiders say the ruling party and Senator Lawan are allegedly sharing money for senators in order to secure their votes for this Tuesday’s election of the principal officers of the 9th Senate.
The seeming snub of the Buhari anti-graft war in the Senate is playing out as Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State is busy boasting that there is no vacancy for the APC in the Government House, Yenagoa.
The out-going governor is claiming he will lead the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the support of leaders of the state towards ensuring that the baton of leadership is handed over to another PDP governor.
Governor Dickson made this known at a PDP stakeholders meeting in Yenagoa, the state capital, while advising the PDP governorship aspirants to stop scheming and causing divisions in their own party.
Dickson reminded the power seekers and the electorate in the state that this year’s general elections showed how the Federal Government deployed its might to undermine the security of the state in favour of their party members.
He is, therefore, urging PDP power seekers in the forthcoming Local Government and Governorship polls to embark on massive mobilisation of voters across the electoral wards to achieve victory for the party.
While also claiming that the PDP aspirants have a better platform to contest elections because of the landmark achievements of the party in the state, he equally stressed that the PDP was the only political party with the popularity and strength to win free, fair and credible election in Bayelsa.
Dickson accordingly cautioned that the governorship election in Bayelsa will be a clash of two systems: the PDP/its massive supporters and the APC backed by the Federal-controlled armed security forces that will attempt to wrest political control in the state.
He, however, urged the people resist any attempt by ‘’cultists as political to return to power in Bayelsa to retard the process of growth in the state. Another PDP governor will be elected in the next election’’ and urged all stakeholders to step into the communities and mobilise voters, adding, “It will be my pleasure to lead the PDP with your support so that another PDP governor will be elected.’’
While calling on the people not to use former President Goodluck Jonathan’s name to destabilise the party, Governor Dickson pleaded with the stakeholders of the party to enforce the 30 percent affirmative action accorded women for councillorship positions.
He also raised an alarm over the gradual decline of revenues from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), saying the state’s earnings for March alone was more than N3.00 billion less, in spite of the increase in crude oil price.
According to him, ‘’the economy is so terrible. We are praying that the country doesn’t go into another recession with the way they are going. Crude oil is being produced; the quantity is high and the price is even better. Since January your allocation has been going down.
‘’In January we had a shortfall of over N1billion, in February it was N2bn and we recorded a shortfall of N3 billion in March. That is what we are going through. Throughout this year, your government has actually been in the red.’’
Meanwhile, a seeming public-interest senator-elect said that Senator Lawan has been meeting nocturnally with senators-elect from the PDP to canvass for their votes.
Senator Ali Ndume, his major obstacle to the exalted Senate presidency, has also been meeting with the PDP senators and promising them key committee chairmanship positions if he is elected the number one senator.
Apparently not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, the Senator Lawan camp allegedly started to go on a $100,000 spree to each of the PDP senators-elect, in a seeming desperate move to get their votes.
As a senator from Lagos State was allegedly said to be coordinating the cash rain among the senators, a high-ranking PDP senator allegedly expressed concerns about the financial inducement even as he told his colleagues to vote for the candidate that is best for their constituents and Nigeria.
The way the battle for the senate presidency stands, PDP senators-elect will determine where the political pendulum swings this Tuesday between Ahmed Lawan and Ali Ndume, all of the APC.