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Bayelsa: Drama, as Alaibe, supporters part ways

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There was mild drama on Saturday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in the run up to the December 5, governorship election in the state as supporters of a onetime aspirant under the All Progressives Congress (APC) Timi Alaibe dumped him to forge their own path.

The supporters, over 100 of them defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against a call by Alaibe for them to support the APC after he was reported to have endorsed the APC candidate, and former governor of the state, Timipre Sylva.

The defectors, mainly supporters of the former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the aegis of Forum of Authentic APC Delegates embraced the umbrella party at the Peace Park in the state capital, Yenagoa.

Led by Senator John Brambaifa and Chief Alex Ekiotene, they defied the heavy downpour as they thronged the venue of the event, to show their solidarity and support, describing the APC as a party of impostors.

It would be recalled that Senator Brambaifa and Ekoitenne were among the arrow heads of the recent mass defection of PDP heavy weights to the APC at the Sampson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa.

In an address presented by the Chairman of Forum, Amos Iduotu Soko, the defectors said the choice of Sylva as the governorship candidate of APC could be best described as the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Describing APC primaries which led to the emergence of Sylva as a charade, he said “what was supposed to be a peaceful, credible, free and fair party primary was turned into a blood bath.

“Following the unacceptable travesty of internal democracy and in view of the fact that the so called winner sees every other person as conquered people, the Forum of Authentic APC delegates have decided to support Governor Dickson in the next election.”

In his address, Senator John Brambaifa, said “I have come here to endorse Governor Seriake Dickson as the governor of the Bayelsa state come 2016. I stand here to say without any doubt that I Senator J.K. Brambaifa supports that decision.’

Receiving the returnees, the national vice-chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, South-South, Dr. Cairo Ojugho directed that they should be re-admitted and revert to their former positions, adding that this must be backed up with necessary documentation.

Meanwhile, there were allegations making the round in the state, that the reported endorsement of Sylva by Alaibe, was as a result of a promise of board appointment and contract awards by the Federal Government.

A deal to this effect was said to have been sealed at a meeting in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir Lawal, in Abuja between Sylva and Alaibe.

The meeting which was initiated by Sylva, a reliable source said, had specific trade-offs that allegedly extracted commitment from Alaibe to support the former governor in his quest to return to the Creek Haven, the seat of government in the state.

Read also: Bayelsa: I’m not responsible for your woes, Dickson tells Sylva

According to the source, who pleaded anonymity, part of the deal was that Alaibe would be refunded a percentage of expenses he incurred during the primary election in addition to board appointment and contract awards.

On his part, Alaibe as a matter of commitment would have to ensure that his supporters now rally round Sylva and work for his election.

Accordingly, Alaibe was said to have directed his supporters to work for Syla but the challenge is that the supporters are not yielding to Alaibe’s directive.

It was gathered that most of Alaibe’s supporters have kicked against the deal with Sylva, expressing anger that they have been used and short-changed once again.

A staunch supporter of Alaibe who pleaded not to be mentioned, said the deal was not in the best interest of the followers of the former NNDC boss, maintaining that it was an arrangement with a personal interest and never that of party members who had suffered with Alaibe over time.

“The truth is that the deal is a personal benefit for Chief Timi Alaibe. In any case, we are not surprised by the deal because that is what Alaibe is known for. He has a way of abandoning his supporters after settling himself. This has been our experience over the years but it won’t work this time”, he stated.

He continued, that “We have been deceived long enough and this time we will not allow ourselves to be taken for a ride again for the usual selfish reasons. It is clear that our leaders in the APC are selfish, greedy and narrow- minded. Rather than allow ourselves to be deceived once again, we will consult amongst ourselves and take a decision on the way forward”, one of them said.

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