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Barely a month to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries scheduled to hold on September 3, 23 aspirants have so far indicated their ambition to contest the governorship under the party in Bayelsa State.
Under the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, only the former Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobri has indicated his interest to contest the election.
This followed the nomination of the state leader of the party, Chief Timipre Sylva as a minister by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although the news was rife that Sylva may again contest for the seat he once occupied from 2007 to 2011, the former governor was yet to pick the form to contest.
In the PDP, the three leading aspirants are said to be Chief Timi Alaibe who is believed to be the candidate of choice of former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his political group, Green Movement.
There is also Chief Frederick Agbedi, a member of the House of Representatives who is believed to be the choice of Governor Seriake Dickson’s Restoration Family; and a former chief executive officer of the National Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Franklyn Osaisai.
As at the time of writing this report, the PDP has raked over N520 million in nomination and expression of interest forms. The state chapter of the party also collected N3 million from each of the aspirants raking in over N70 million.
Among the aspirants who have collected and submitted their forms are Keniebi Okoko, the son of Prof. Kimse Okoko, a former president of the Ijaw National Congress; Joshua Maciver, the first ex-militant to accept presidential amnesty pardon; Benson Agadaga, a childhood friend of President Jonathan; Reuben Okoya; Senator Douye Diri; Talford Ongolo, chief staff to Governor Dickson; Kemela Okara, the secretary to the state government; Gboribogha John-Jonah, a retired naval Rear Admiral and incumbent deputy governor of the state; Konbowei Benson, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly; Dr. Godknows Igali, former Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Netherlands; Johnson kiyaramo; Senator Emmanuel Paulker and Tariela Oliver.
Others are George Ikoli Anthony, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria; David Alalor; Roberson Etolor, a former local government chairman; Tari Oliver; Igiri Ziperedein, Dr. Nimibofa Ayawei; Prof. Steve Azaiki, a member of the House of Representatives; Udengz Eradiri, a former president of the Ijaw Youth Council and Doodei Week.
On the side of the APC, only Lokpobiri has signified interest.