Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa state and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has been re-elected governor of the state, but not without so much pain and drama.
After what seemed like an endless election, which held on December 5 and 6, 2015, followed by a supplementary poll on Saturday, January 9, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Dickson winner, saying he polled 134,998 votes to defeat Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who polled 86,852 votes.
However, while congratulating the people of Bayelsa state for their support for Dickson, PDP said the victory was “painful” because of the number of people who were killed.
“It’s painful that this victory has come with so much pain because we lost dear ones,” it said in a statement by its Jonathan Obuebite, its director of publicity, restoration campaign organisation.
“Those who died are our brothers. So many are yet in the hospitals nursing life-threatening injuries because our opponents wanted to win at all costs. We wish to express our deepest condolences once again and to assure them that their death will not be in vain.”
PDP thanked the people for renewing Dickson’s mandate for another four years, attributing it to the “resilience and uncommon courage” of the people.
It added that the victory was important because it came “even in the face of intimidation, tyranny, threats and violent attacks”.
“Despite the challenges, democracy won. We want to use this opportunity to sincerely thank all Bayelsans for their doggedness and patriotism because even in the face of such terrible intimidation and violence decided, out of their own volition, they came out to re-elect and return the countryman governor to office for the next four years. We are grateful for your remarkable decision as expected in a democracy.
“The people have spoken and we are indeed grateful. It’s your victory, you the good people of Bayelsa State. Without doubt, a new dawn is here. Bayelsans, through their uncommon courage, have defeated tyranny and oppression by voting for the continuation of the restoration of our dignity and pride as amply demonstrated through their votes.
“The victory was a sweet one which signposts the end of an era of a political class whose stock in trade is violence, brigandage, militancy and bloodletting as the only means of accessing power. Never again will Bayelsa State harbour criminals and rogue elements as contestants for power.
“Going forward, the Bayelsa political space will only be for those who have the intellectual rigour to trade their fine ideas in exchange for votes, not bullets. Our society must groom new set of leaders who will only access power through their superior ideas to regenerate society rather than through the barrel of the gun.”