Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa governor, says the state spends about N6 billion annually to service 1,500 political service holders.
NAN quoted the governor as saying this on a radio programme.
An analysis of the oil-rich state’s 2019 budget by TheCable shows that the budget for the entire health sector is N6 billion.
According to Dickson, the huge “political capital” investment is responsible for the high number of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirants in the state.
Dickson, who has been governing Bayelsa on the mantle of the PDP since 2012, explained that the opposition party had invested the money to sustain its loyalists appointed to serve in his administration.
He said 21 aspirants had collected and returned the party’s expression of interest and nomination forms at N21 million each.
The party’s primary election is scheduled to hold on September 2, ahead of the November 16 governorship election in the state.
“The party leadership decided to make the contest open and all-embracing and as a consensus builder, I believe that every aspiration is legitimate, it is a right that they have to test their popularity at the primaries,” Dickson 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 rival 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 lost my re-election in 2015, the party would have been dead by now in Bayelsa.”
In March 2019, Dickson signed N299bn for the fiscal year.
Presenting the appropriation bill in December 2018 to the state house of assembly, the governor had said that about N23 billion was earmarked for education while N6 billion was proposed for the health sector.