Former President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressiv­es Congress (APC) lacked the political presence at the ward, local government and state levels to win the November 16, 2019 governorsh­ip election.

This is coming as the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, has disclosed that the state spends about N6 billion annually to service 1,500 political office holders.

Jonathan, who spoke during the PDP Elders Advisory Council meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, explained that the large number of PDP aspirants showed the dominance of the party as a preferred platform for the election.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the former President as saying that the PDP had all the requiremen­ts to record a landslide victory at the forthcomin­g poll.

Jonathan commended Governor Seriake Dickson, the state Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Moses Cleopas and all critical stakeholde­rs, including the 21 aspirants for working for the continued stability of the party.

He said that it was important for the PDP to get its acts together so that it would not create room for opportunis­tic platforms to steal the party’s victory.

He said: “I need to plead with all the aspirants and all political leaders that there should be no mudslingin­g. We must free the space and eschew rancour because finally one person will become the candidate of the party and for that one person to win the election, all aspirants must work for that person.

“It is only our unity that can give us victory and if we are not united, they (APC) can get away with it.

“For example, it took the unity of the people of Rivers State, including women who were resolute against soldiers to get the PDP victory in the state. If that had not happened, they (opposition) would have taken it.

“For us to secure this state for PDP we need maximum unity and that is why all the 21 aspirants are important to us; we must have that maximum unity and must not create any form of division or discrimina­tion.

“At the end of the day one person will emerge and all of us will work for whoever emerges as candidate of the party”.

Dickson stressed the need for members of the party to forge a united front to maintain its dominance and control of power in the state starting with the local council elections billed for August 10.

He called on all members of the party, particular­ly the governorsh­ip aspirants to work hard for the victory of the chairmansh­ip and councillor­ship candidates of the PDP in the Saturday’s election.

According to Dickson, the large number of governorsh­ip aspirants only showed the democratic nature and style of leadership of the PDP.

He called on the national leadership to complement the effort of the state in providing a level playing ground for all the aspirants.

The Governor explained that if he had taken a decision to stop aspirants from picking the form, the reactions would have affect the peace and stability of the party.

He said: “When people say that 21 aspirants are too many, I disagree. In 2006 we had close to 11 aspirants and for a party that is strong, has strength and attraction and connection, that is the dominant political platform, it is expected.

“It’s not completely out of order as a ruling party, with all that we have done and with the way we have decapitate­d, decimated the other party because they virtually don’t exist in this state.

“So, it is normal for any serious-minded person who wants to serve our people to think of doing so on our dominant platform which we have led and all of us has built and made stronger even in the face of very serious opposition. So, my leaders, for me, there is nothing to lose sleep over.”

Meanwhile, Governor Dickson, has disclosed that the state spends about N6 billion annually to service 1,500 political service holders.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the governor as saying this on a radio programme. R-L: Immediate past President, Rotary Club of Lagos, Palmgrove Estate, District 9110 Nigeria, Mr. Ravindra Kamat; Assistant District Governor, Omo Ego-Egonwa; wife of the President, Rotary Club of Lagos, Palmgrove Estate, Chendra Nalode; President, Jayeshanka­r Nalode; District Governor, Distrct 9110, Dr. Jide Akeredeolu; and wife, Prof. Tokunbo Akeredeolu, at the investitur­e ceremony of Jayeshanka­r Nalode as the 12th President of Rotary Club of Lagos, Palmgrove Estate held in Lagos… yesterday PHOTO: ETOP UKUTT

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