Former Director-General of the Governor Seriake Dickson campaign organisation and member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Fred Agbedi, has dismissed as untenable claims by some politicians in the state that the next governorship position has been zoned to the Bayelsa Central Senatorial district of the state.
According to Agbedi, there was never a time where elders, politicians and stakeholders sit to decide the issue of zoning or power rotation in the state.
Agbedi, who is representing Sagbama\Ekeremor federal constituency of Bayelsa at the National Assembly and one of the leading governorship aspirants in the state, said those advocating for zoning are ignorant of what they are calling for and that the state is not operated based on first and last born packages.
Agbedi, who led members of his Onward Restoration and Transformation Campaign Organisation to the secretariat of the Federated Correspondent Chapel(FCC), said I dont underatand why people are talking about zoning. They are saying it the Bayelsa Central’s turn to produce governor.
“The question I ask is whether there has ever been zoning in Bayelsa? The answer is ‘No’. It is very simple, in leadership, politics and governance in Bayelsa, there has never been zoning in the state.
“The state was created in 1996, we all know that. The state was created by the military. We all know that. We all also know we did not come through democracy, we came through the military that handed over in 1999.
“In 1999, I had already come back from the Federal House of Representatives and was also a member of the founding fathers of Bayelsa. I was also involved in taking Bayelsa people to meet Alhaji Usman Dagogo, the Chiroma of Katsina, who was the deputy chairman subcommittee on state creation in the Nbanefo Panel.
“I was involved in connecting Bayelsa to him in the quest to create Bayelsa state. So,I know how Bayelsa was created. I know how it was funded and realised. And I was one of those who came to launch Bayelsa. And I have been a leading politician if it was Bayelsa founding fathers calling a meeting on zoning.I would have been present.if they were politicians I would have been present.
“I challenge anyone to a public debate on the argument about zoning in Bayelsa.if you don’t know,the last election was between the Central and West senatorial districts. we know the history of party primaries in the state. We know who won the PDP primaries.
“But the general election was contested by the Bayelsa West and Central. If you zone election, it means all the contestants should come from the area it was zoned to. Because, there was no zoning, people contested from all senatorial districts.
“Some won the primaries and they were denied the ticket and given to other people. Of course,the general election was contested by people from all senatorial districts. And you know when Alameiseigha was declared winner of the election.
“So, where was zoning in 1999. And of course, when late Alameiseigha had issues, did anybody zone it to Dr. Good luck Jonathan? he was deputy governor and naturally he stepped in. You cannot talk about zoning when a man naturally stepped into office. You can’t talk about it.’
“And of course when Good luck was going as vice president, what were the issues? it was say let us zone. But did we zone? He handed over to Chief Timipre Sylva and it was not by zoning. And of course, Governor Dickson came in.
“Governor Dickson was not a product of zoning. Dickson was a decision of the Green Movement. The members of the green movement agitated that one of their own must become governor. And the lot fell on Governor Dickson. And he inherited the desire of the Green Movement to produce a governor’
“So, who or where was zoning? I challenge those people who now say zoning should be respected. For some of us, it is an insult. Maybe, they don’t know what they are talking about. They should come and ask some of us who founding fathers are if they are not founding fathers.
“They should come and ask us who political leaders are if they are not political leaders at that time. We will tell them the history. In any case, Bayelsa is not a state of first and last born parentage. All the three senatorial districts are equal.’
“It is only in parentage that you say this man is a first born and the other is a last born. And you say, first born chooses and last born takes last. Who is the first born in Bayelsa? who is the last born?
“Can anybody tell me? If it is not so,it will be nice for us all to taste first so that we can tell the story of the first born tasting first and the last tasting last. That is the way to go. Other than that, you know that it is a govt policy of right of first refusal .if you are resident in a house and government wants to sell, you that are resident will be given right of first refusal.
“It is only when you don’t want to buy, you can deny yourself of such right. The government of Bayelsa is domicile in Bayelsa west and we have the right of first refusal. And as the last to taste it, we should. That is why we are telling Bayelsa people that we are buying it.
‘When you talk about zoning, the entire state will sit to discuss. We are the last in the sharing and we will take. Do you know OSUSU, our traditional contributory scheme? It is not only you that have problem. Every other person has problem.
“So what we are saying is that it is the Bayelsa west. We are saying that Four local government areas have produced governors. My local government, Ekeremor, has not produced.
“Likewise, Yenagoa, Nembe and Kolokuma\Opokuma. So, four of us will go into the race. Any of those four should produce the governor. We should go by elimination. If Ekeremor produces, the next should come from the other three until we will come to ground zero. And we will all be happy that we have had a shot at the governorship.”