Less than 10 days to the February 25 general elections, nine candidates for the Bayelsa West senatorial seat have stepped down from the race for the incumbent senator representing the area, Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party.
They announced their withdrawal at the end of a meeting with Dickson, who is seeking a second term, at Toru-Orua in the Sagbama Local Government Area on Thursday.
They also stated that they had collapsed their political structures into the Dickson Campaign Organisation and were ready to support his re-election bid.
The nine candidates are Ebikpolade Fuludu (ADC), Frank Odafe (AA), Alexander Pere, (ZLP), Dr Joel Tubonimi, (NNPP), Chief Ikporo, (SDP), Amb. Victor Ben (BOOT), Oweifabo Ebikeme (AAC), Dennis Michael (APN) and Salo Orlando of (APP).
Odafe, who spoke on behalf of others, said that their decision to back out of the race to support the immediate-past governor of Bayelsa state was informed by the exemplary representation he had provided at the National Assembly in the last two years.
He said that they had a fruitful deliberation with the “bold, dynamic and articulate PDP candidate who governed Bayelsa State for eight years”, and have agreed to give him all the support he would need to win the election.
The AA senatorial candidate described Dickson as the political leader in Bayelsa, a leader in the state and indeed the Ijaw nation, who brought so much development during his period as governor to the district.
Odafe further noted that it would be disrespectful to contest the election with the senator as he deserved all the support to continue with his quality representation.
He said, “We, the nine senatorial candidates of different parties in the forthcoming 25th February 2023 senatorial election, have stepped down for Senator Henry Seriake Dickson in the contest for the Bayelsa West Senatorial seat.
“We are announcing our decision after a meeting on Wednesday 15 February, 2023 with Senator Henry Seriake Dickson at his country home in Toru-Orua, Sagbama LGA. Our decision is based on our acknowledgement of the quality representation that Senator Dickson has provided within his brief period at the National Assembly.
“We hereby endorse him as the candidate to represent Bayelsa West senatorial district at the National Assembly and pledge our total support to him. Some of us have already sent letters of withdrawal from the senatorial contest to INEC while others will do the same following this meeting.”
Dickson, who spoke to journalists shortly after the meeting, appreciated the candidates for the decision to step down for him in the general interest.
He therefore directed the PDP Senatorial Vice Chairman, Mr Michal Magbisa to involve all party support in the final phase of the campaign in the various communities for the polls.