An opinion poll conducted on the November 11, 2023, governorship election in Bayelsa indicates that incumbent Governor Douye Diri will win the poll in the eight local government areas of the state.
The opinion poll was conducted by a team of six researchers and 50 research assistants for two months, covering June and July 2023.
The survey, conducted across 211 communities and randomly selected from the 24 State Constituencies, administered questionnaires to 2,400 respondents who confirmed to have their permanent voter cards and intend to cast their votes during the poll.
Some 100 persons were selected in each constituency for the survey of samples drawn from men, women and youths, while 24 opinion leaders were also interviewed.
The poll was narrowed to the three major contenders in the election the incumbent, Mr Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the former governor and immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Udengs Eradiri of the Labour Party.
The survey was based on the antecedents of each candidate, the zoning arrangement, the impact on people over time, particularly in the rural communities, their popularity among the people, the performance of political parties in the last general election in Bayelsa’s key stakeholders/leaders backing each of the candidates.
Results from data analysis of the field report indicate that Mr Diri is expected to return the highest votes from his home local government area, Kolokuma/Opokuma.
It said 88 per cent of the respondents said they would vote for the incumbent; only five per cent of respondents said they would vote for Mr Sylva of the APC, and four per cent of respondents to vote for Mr Eradiri, while three per cent were undecided.
From Sagbama Local Government Area, home LGA of the immediate past governor and incumbent senator representing Bayelsa West, Seriake Dickson, 77 per cent of the respondents said they would vote for Mr Diri as against 10 per cent, which indicated willingness to vote for Sylva of the APC.
In Ekeremor Local Government Area, 72 per cent of respondents said they would vote for Mr Diri, while 11 per cent would vote for Mr Sylva.
The respondents said they will, through the ballot, reciprocate the kind gesture of the governor for the completion of the Sagbama-Ekeremor road, where several communities can now be accessed by road instead of travelling by sea.
The survey report indicated that Mr Diri is expected to win massively even in LGAs believed to have opposed him in the 2019 guber election.
The survey clearly puts the incumbent ahead in Nembe LGA with 70 per cent; Brass , 62 per cent; Ogbia, 66 per cent; Southern Ijaw, 63 per cent; and the state capital, Yenagoa Local Government Area, 70 per cent.
Some 36 per cent of APC members, who responded to the questionnaire, said they would vote for Mr Diri because of his peaceful disposition and for opening up several riverine communities with roads.
Mr Sylva of APC is expected to have his highest votes of 33 per cent from his home local government area of Brass, followed by Yenagoa LGA where 26 per cent of the respondents said they will vote for him.
The poll did not give Mr Eradiri of LP any chance as only nine per cent of respondents in Ogbia LGA, being the highest figure, said they would vote for him and followed by the eight per cent of respondents in Yenagoa LGA, despite being his home Local Government Area.
The 24 opinion leaders were also interviewed in each of the constituencies, and their responses corroborated the survey report to the effect that the incumbent governor remains the best choice for governorship at this time.
They hinged their opinion on the fact that Mr Diri has performed significantly well in the different sectors covering security, sports, education, health, roads construction, youth and women empowerment, skills acquisition and better welfare for civil servants, including the gradual payment of outstanding gratuities to retirees.
According to the poll, 15 of the opinion leaders particularly emphasised that the incumbent governor has become a symbol of peace in the state and has demonstrated genuine commitment as a bridge builder who has restored security across the state.
There were a few respondents still undecided on the candidate to vote among the three leading candidates.
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