On November 11, Bayelsa State is poised for a significant gubernatorial election, representing the first off-cycle polls conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since the 2023 general election.
Established on October 1, 1996, by the military government of General Sani Abacha, Bayelsa State was carved out of Rivers State and is situated in the southern part of Nigeria. As the state prepares for the upcoming election, it reflects on a political history dominated by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Since its inception, Bayelsa has been led by notable figures, including Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Goodluck Jonathan, Timipre Sylva, Seriake Dickson, and the incumbent Douye Diri, all from the People’s Democratic Party.
With a population of approximately 1.7 million people according to the 2006 census, Bayelsa is divided into eight local government areas, each with its unique concerns influencing the political landscape.
The election narrative unfolds with the PDP striving to maintain control, challenged by the All Progressives Congress (APC), seeking a comeback following the 2020 Supreme Court decision favoring Governor Douye Diri.
In a field of 16 candidates, the contest narrows to a two-horse race between the incumbent Governor Diri and former Governor Timipre Sylva. Adding intrigue to the electoral landscape is the PDP’s federal legislature stronghold and the momentum surrounding the Labour Party’s Eradiri Udengmobofa.
Governor Douye Diri, assuming office in February 2020 after the Supreme Court nullified the election of David Lyon, has prioritized infrastructure, education, and healthcare during his tenure. A former senator, he emerged as a compromise candidate amid legal developments surrounding the 2019 gubernatorial election.
Timipre Sylva, Bayelsa State’s governor from 2007 to 2012 under the PDP, later joined the APC and remains an influential political figure, contributing to discussions on energy and development issues.
The November 11 election is a showdown between Timipre Sylva and Douye Diri, and no one else.