By Nathan Nwakamma (NAN)
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa has said his administration spends N500 million monthly to service political office holders numbering 1,500.
Dickson revealed this during a radio broadcast on Sunday nightmonitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa.
He said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration had invested the ‘political capital’ amounting to N6 bn annually to sustain its loyalists appointed to serve in his administration.
He said that the huge investment was responsible for the large number of aspirants jostling for the PDP ticket in the party primaries scheduled for Sept 2, ahead the Nov. 16 governorship elections in the state.
According to Dickson, 21 governorship aspirants collected and returned the party’s expression of interest and nomination forms at N21 million each.
He described the development as a welcome one for the party.
“The party leadership decided to make the contest open and all embracing and as a consensus builder I believe that every aspiration is legitimate, it is a right that they have to test their popularity at the primaries.
“The large number of aspirants is an indication that the party is a platform of choice for any politician to actualize his governorship ambition and looking at the rival party, they don’t have up to two aspirants.
“Nothing is happening there, the PDP is taking the shine and it is all happening because of the political capital we invested in building the party, if I lost my re-election in 2015, the party would have been dead by now in Bayelsa.
“The party that I lead in Bayelsa defeated the APC when it was still very popular with all the federal might and this time I will be leading the party but not as a candidate but as an outgoing governor.
“Although I won’t participate as a candidate, I am a stakeholder in the race, the biggest stakeholder, and consultations are ongoing amongst the stakeholders towards the emergence of the PDP flag bearer in the governorship elections,” Dickson said.
On the nomination of Chief Timipre Sylva as Minister, Dickson said that he was elated at the development and extended a hand of friendship by congratulating Sylva.
Dickson said that the rift between them which had lasted for about ten years had ended and wished that the bond of friendship which existed be rekindled.
“We used to be very close friends but we chose different paths in politics, the former Governor has worked hard for his party and adjudged loyal and nominated as a Minister, I love loyalty and rejoice with him.
“Soon I shall join the league of ex-governors, so out of political maturity I congratulated him and shortly afterwards he reacted positively and it was very gracious of him.
“I wish him well and hope that he will be a substantive Minister in a Grade A ministry, of course the choice lies at the discretion of the President, we don’t have the choice in assignment of portfolios,” Dickson said.