30 October 2011
The walk last Saturday was billed to begin from the gates of the state. And as early as 7am, people had started thronging the starting venue. It was a political rally to further stamp incumbent Governor Timipre Sylva’s intention to run for a second term as Bayelsa governor. The convoy of cars was long and a multitude of people were walking. The whole atmosphere was one of celebration despite the humid day. Men, women and youths decked in colourful wrappers and T-shirts with the governor’s name, sang, danced, and were merry in jubilation for Sylva.
During the carnival-like fanfare, the governor’s passage was even blocked by cheering supporters for some time. He had to walk and dance with the women before he was eventually allowed to continue in his car. For someone not in the know, it would have seemed Sylva had already won the elections and this was the celebration. But, that was not the case - at least, not yet.
Two hurdles still stand before Sylva as the next Bayelsa governor. Firstly, he has to win the primaries of his Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Secondly, he has to win the gubernatorial elections next year, defeating other opponents also vying for that position. But, if the crowd that turned out for last Sylva’s rally is anything to go by, he stands a bright chance as the man to beat.