7 Reasons Why Diri Won Bayelsa 2023 Governorship Election

7 Reasons Why Diri Won Bayelsa 2023 Governorship Election

Legit.ng journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 6-year-experience covering politics and elections in Nigeria

Yenagoa, Bayelsa state - The 2023 Bayelsa state governorship election took place on Saturday, November 11, in a poll that was substantially followed by Nigerians.

The incumbent governor, Duoye Diri, ran for re-election and was successful with his bid in Bayelsa. Diri, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), scored a total of 175,196 votes to emerge the winner while Timipre Sylva, an ex-governor, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) came second with 110,108 votes. None of the other 14 candidates scored up to 1,000 votes.

Bayelsa/Bayelsa state/Bayelsa state news/Bayelsa news today/Bayelsa news now
Duoye Diri (right) won the 2023 Bayelsa state gubernatorial election. Photo credit: Duoye Diri
Source: Twitter

What might have helped Diri to victory? Legit.ng examines.

1) PDP govt's performance

The governorship election in Bayelsa state was won largely on character, and to some extent the performance of Governor Diri.

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Diri was credited with having brought development to the three senatorial districts of the state, which endeared him to many voters, even though APC members insisted he under-performed, considering the amount that accrued to the state in his first tenure.

The outcome of the governorship poll is a manifestation of the ruling party’s wide acceptance among the people in the oil and gas-rich state where it has held sway since the return of democracy in 1999, a report on Vanguard noted.

2) Diri's non-violent disposition

Diri's demeanour and seeming non-violent disposition, even amid provocation and sometimes nudging from some party faithful also worked for him.

The election came at a time when many residents and indigenes were tired of violent polls.

3) Lawmakers' colossal support

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On their part, PDP lawmakers who constitute most of the state Assembly, worked hard to retain their constituencies as if it were their elections.

In fact, to them, it was a continuation of where they stopped in the March election. Working like foot soldiers, boosted the chances of Diri to Sylva's disadvantage, The Guardian noted.

4) Jonathan's backing

Days before the election, former President Goodluck Jonathan canvassed support for Diri, saying the governor helped stabilised Bayelsa state.

Jonathan said Bayelsa has made progress in the area of security and infrastructural development under Diri.

His words:

“I have been in touch with our governor, and I believe he should be encouraged to do his eight years. He has been able to stabilise the state."

Diri’s endorsement by Jonathan was able to swing votes to the governor, especially in Ogbia, where that move neutralised the efforts of the managing director (MD) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Samuel Ogbuku, a Sylva protege.

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5) Diri had the spread

In terms of spread, Diri was generally accepted, judging from the election, as he won six of the eight councils- Ekeremor, Ogbia, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Yenagoa, and Southern Ijaw- leaving two- Brass and his Nembe- to Sylva to pick.

The election showed the strength of the main contenders in their councils.

6) PDP's unity

While the PDP went into the race more united, same could not be said of the APC.

In the APC, dissent from the primary election was carried over and even reinforced ahead of the poll.

7) Opposition’s failure to give Lyon first-refusal option

Observers argued that the APC should have given David Lyon the option of “first refusal” for the opposition party's ticket given his impressive showing in the last governorship outing.

According to them, Lyon as APC flagbearer may have awakened the sympathy of the voting public due to the circumstances surrounding his removal by the Supreme Court in February 2020.

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Bayelsa election: INEC declares Diri winner

Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Diri was declared the winner of the Bayelsa state governorship election held on Saturday, November 11.

Governor Diri was declared the winner of the poll by Obo Effanga, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Reasons APC's Timipre Sylva lost

Legit.ng also analysed reasons that made Sylva emerge as runner-up.

Among other causes, the PDP in Bayelsa rode on the inability of the APC to resolve its internal crisis.

Source: Legit.ng

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