Bayelsa West stakeholders protest, insist on zoning arrangement

Bayelsa State map

Some stakeholders in the Bayelsa West Senatorial District have opposed moves by some politicians from the area to return Senator Seriake Dickson for a second term at the National Assembly in the 2023 general election.

They, therefore, staged a demonstration against such moves which they described as attempts to undermine the existing zoning agreement between the Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas to alternate the Senate and House of Representatives seats.

They embarked on the protest at Sagbama town, the headquarters of the Sagbama LGA, on Saturday, following attempts by some persons during a stakeholders’ meeting to pass a vote of confidence in Dickson.

They insisted on the zoning arrangement, stressing that it was the turn of Ekeremor to produce a senator while Sagbama would go for the House of Representatives seat at the National Assembly polls next year.

The angry stakeholders chanted solidarity songs and carried placards with inscriptions like, ‘Zoning is what we stand for’, ‘Zoning must stand’, ‘Ekeremor/Sagbama stand for zoning’, ‘We say yes to zoning’, and ‘Zoning will bring peace to Niger Delta’.

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The leader of the protesters, Barnabas Edure, who hails from the Sagbama LGA as Dickson, said that it was wrong for any group of persons to endorse the former governor at a time he should leave the senatorial seat in line with the age-long agreement.

He cautioned against the plot by the senator’s supporters to truncate the zoning formula, noting that such a confidence vote was totally unacceptable and morally wrong.

Edure, a former chairman of Sagbama council, said, “We have been operating zoning in Bayelsa West for over 40 years. Nobody can truncate the zoning agreement no matter how highly placed. Dickson is a beneficiary of zoning.

“A breach in the zoning formula of Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency is a breach of the trust and support of the people.

“Disregarding the zoning formula for personal ambition is an indication of bad representation and a leader who wants to truncate the zoning system does not have the interest of the people at heart.”

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He called on the people of Bayelsa West district to reject plans by some politicians to jettison the zoning agreement in the interest of peace, justice and equity for the two local that make up the district.

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