On Sunday, November 17, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon, as the winner of the Bayelsa state governorship election.
Since 1999 when Nigeria returned to Democracy, Bayelsa state has been governed by the PDP. However, the APC victory has put an end to the 20-year reign of the PDP in the state.
The piece examines the factors that led to PDP's defeat in the oil-rich state.
1. Weak, unpopular candidate
Right from his emergence as the winner of the PDP's governorship primaries, Duoye Diri had failed to gain popularity among the supporters of the party in the state.
It was gathered that Chief Timi Alaibe who lost to Diri was more popular among Bayelsans.
In fact, Timi Frank, a former spokesman of the APC, who has left the party, predicted in September that the PDP would lose the election. Similarly, his main reason was that the PDP candidate was weak compared to his APC counterpart.
2. PDP's internal crisis
Unresolved internal crises have been the undoing of the PDP since 2015. It is one of the major factors responsible for ex-president Jonathan's loss to President Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential elections that year.
3. Massive defection
As a result of the unresolved crises, some key members of the party defected to the APC few days/weeks to the election.
This, no doubt, weakened the party further and strengthened the APC's winning chances.
4. Governor Seriake Dickson's and PDP's alleged failure to carry everyone along
Shortly before the election, Senator Nimi Amange, a former senator who represented former President Goodluck Jonathan’s constituency on the platform of the PDP, predicted victory for APC.
Amange said he left the PDP because of Governor Dickson’s “unilateral style of leadership,” which he likened to an emperor.
Also, while leaving the PDP, grassroots politician and kinsman of Jonathan, Chief Robert Enogha, cited the party's dictatorial tendencies as the reason for his action.
Timi Frank had also echoed this when he said that Governor Dickson and PDP's NWC should be held responsible for the party's imminent defeat.
5. No strong support from ex-president Goodluck Jonathan
While he did not openly reject the PDP's governorship candidate, some pundits believe that former President Jonathan's body language did not show that he strongly endorsed Diri.
Apart from the fact that Jonathan's kinsmen massively defected to the APC before the election and he did not intervene, the outcome of the election gave weight to the speculations that the PDP candidate did not have strong support from the former president.
According to the results released by INEC, APC defeated PDP in Ogbia local government where Jonathan hails from.
Meanwhile, Jonathan curiously hosted two APC governors, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa state and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, at his residence in Otuoke, on Sunday, November 17.
Badaru is the chairman of the APC campaign council for the Bayelsa governorship election, while Bagudu is also on the campaign.
Recall that Jonathan and his wife, Patience, were accused of working for the APC in the buildup to the governorship election.
6. Timpre Silva factor
While the PDP candidate failed to get Jonathan's support, his APC counterpart was fully backed by Chief Timpre Silva, a former Bayelsa state governor and current minister of state for petroleum resources.
In the Nigerian political space, gaining the support of political godfathers and heavyweights is one of the most important factors for winning elections.
7. The advantage of figures
Lyon, the APC candidate, now governor-elect, hails from Southern Ijaw local government area which has the highest voting strength in the state.
A glance at the results of the election showed that the highest number of votes was from Southern Ijaw, and unsurprisingly, Lyon left only next to nothing for his PDP rival.
The APC polled 124,803 votes in the area, while PDP had just 4,898 votes
Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that a foremost Ijaw leader and a chieftain of the APC, Hon. Prince Kakas Amgbare congratulated the governor-elect of Bayelsa, Lyon for his victory in the recently concluded governorship election in the state.
He specifically commended former President Jonathan and the APC leader in the state, Sylva, for ensuring a change in government in Bayelsa.
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