Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has said that his administration spends N500m monthly to service political office holders numbering 1,500.
Dickson, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), made this claim during a radio broadcast in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Sunday, August 4, 2019.
He said his administration had invested N6bn annually to sustain the loyalists of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, occupying key positions under his government.
Dickson said this huge amount spent to cater to political patronage was responsible for the large number of aspirants jostling to clinch the party’s ticket ahead of its primaries on September 2 where the winner will represent the PDP during the governorship election on November 16, 2019.
According to the Bayelsa State governor, the aspirants paid N21m each for the party’s expression of interest and nomination form, adding that this was a “welcome development” for the PDP.
He said, “The large number of aspirants is an indication that the party is a platform of choice for any politician to actualize his governorship ambition and looking at the main opposition party, they don’t have up to two aspirants.
“Nothing is happening there, the PDP is taking the shine and it is all happening because of the political capital we invested in building the party.
“If I had lost my re-election in 2015, the party would have been dead by now in Bayelsa.”
Confident of victory for his party during the November election, Governor Dickson said that he defeated the All Progressives Congress when the party was still a force to reckon with in Bayelsa.
He said, “The party that I lead in Bayelsa defeated the APC when it was still very popular with all the federal might, and this time I will be leading the party not as a candidate but as an outgoing governor.
“Although I won’t participate as a candidate, I’m a stakeholder in the race, the biggest stakeholder in fact.
“Consultations are ongoing amongst other stakeholders towards the emergence of the PDP flag bearer for the governorship election.”