The Ekeremor Elders Stakeholders Forum (EESF) has urged the Bayelsa State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to uphold the existing zoning arrangement in the Bayelsa West Senatorial District ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The group insisted that the zoning formula, which alternates the district’s Senate and House of Representatives seats in the National Assembly between the Sagbama and Ekeremor Local Government Areas, should be strictly implemented at the forthcoming polls.
The chairman of EESF, Martins Agbede, stated this when he led other officials of the forum to a meeting with the State Working Committee of the PDP at the party’s secretariat in Yenagoa on Thursday.
He said that under the existing zoning agreement, it was the turn of Ekeremor to produce the senator to represent the district while Sagbama produces the representative for Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency.
Agbede, while presenting the zoning document to the PDP’s leadership, maintained that it had always been the will of Bayelsa West people that the Senate and House of Representatives seats be alternated between the two local governments that make up the area in the interest of equity.
He said, “If you want to call it zoning or understanding, fine; the two seats belong to the two local government areas. If one takes one seat for two tenures, it alternates to the other one. We have been doing this.
“You will realise that Sagbama and Ekeremor are one big family. That is what we have come to explain to the party, not to protest.”
Also speaking, the Deputy Chairman of EESF, Dein Benadoumene, said their decision to meet with the PDP SWC was due to the suspicious undertones of some persons who are scheming to violate the zoning agreement.
He called on the PDP to ensure that every member respected the sharing formula in order to promote peace and avoid giving the opposition a chance as the district was a stronghold of the party.
In his remarks, the state PDP chairman, Solomon Agwana, represented by the secretary, Gesiye Isowo, thanked the forum for their maturity while presenting the zoning issue in Bayelsa West.
He advised that sensitive family affairs like zoning should also be taken to the leader of the party in the state, Governor Douye Diri, who would galvanize a process for an amicable resolution of such issues at a different level, stressing that PDP’s victory was paramount.
“We appreciate you. Politics is about consultation, it’s about discussion, and when we discuss we will always agree on issues,” he said.