As the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) governorship primary in Bayelsa State comes up on November 19, the convoluted drama going on in the state over the choice of who becomes the party’s flagbearer is getting interesting daily.
The out come of the first hurdle which is the screening had already complicated the issue the more,thereby creating doubt and suspense among the contestants and their supporters.
For weeks now ,the issue of who becomes the governorship flagbearer of the most popular party in Africa has dominated the public space and discussions with so much frenzy and anxiety.
The party screening committee failed to clear Governor Timipre Sylva ,former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mr Ben Murray Bruce, and the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Timi Alaibe,to contest its forthcoming primary election for the governorship race in the State.
The party, subsequently released the names of aspirants it had screened and cleared for the race and the names of Governor Sylva,Alaibe and Bruce were missing.
The release of the list of cleared aspirants followed an emergency meeting of its National Working Committee (NWC), which was held on Monday in Abuja to consider reports on the preparations for the forthcoming gubernatorial primary in Bayelsa State.
According to a statement issued last Tuesday in Abuja by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali, the NWC also received the report of the Screening Appeal Panel, headed by Mrs Abiodun Olujimi, former deputy governor of Ekiti State.
It said “after a thorough review of the reports of the Screening Panel and the Screening Appeal Panel, “the leadership of the party has so far cleared the first batch of contestants for the primary in the state”.
The statement gave the names of those cleared as Oruta Justine Boloubo; Henry Seriake Dickson; Enai Christopher Fullpower and Kalango Michael Youppele.
The PDP statement added: ”The NWC session to conclude the review exercise continues in order to consider cases of other aspirants on their individual merits. All party members, particularly stakeholders in Bayelsa State, are to please note that the NWC is handling this exercise painstakingly and shall communicate all its decisions in due course.”
It therefore advised party members to await the decisions of the NWC on this issue and mobilise all their supporters for the success of the forthcoming primary.
However, reports revealed that though the PDP stated that the names released were just the first batch, Governor Sylva’s case is as good as closed, following the alleged endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan of his exclusion from the race.
The party leaders were said to have sought and received the president’s approval. Evidence suggested that Sylva may have violated rules guiding the party and security mix up.
Bruce was said to have been stopped because he holds dual citizenship of Nigeria and the Britain.while the former NDDC boss,Timi Alaibe who was expecting a waiver was denied the opportunity which was given to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar before the April presidential elections.
The long expectation of Governor Sylva may not come as the macabre dance of Nigeria political intrigues is about to play its ugly head again in the oil rich state of Bayelsa. The last time we experienced such case was in 2003 Governorship election in Anambra State.The first term of Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju was coming to an end and he was warming up for re-election in spite of the fact that many in and out of the state knew he had failed to perform for the first tenure.
The then Governor who had failed to provide infrastructures in four years for his people, unsettled civil servants salaries for about six months, schools were on prolonged strike was shamelessly thinking to come back to continue impoverish and underdevelop the people.but as God may wish,he was at the same time not in good term with his political godfather,Chief Emeka Offor. And Offor had the ears of the authorities in Abuja .Mbadinuju was muscled out of the peoples Democratic party Governorship race and he accepted his fate and went and licked his wounds
The incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State may get the Mbadinuju measurement with the way things are going on in the race to fly the PDP ticket in the February,12 election.
Governors from the South South geo-political zone on Friday met with President Goodluck Jonathan in a last minutes bid to secure the clearance of the embattled Governor,Chief Sylva to contest the primary in two weeks time.
Although the out come of the meeting was not known,but disappointment could be seen in tthe faces of supporters of the incumbent Governor and his camp.
The leader of the team and the Chairman of the Governors Forum (NGF) Governor Chibuike Amaechi,along side his colleagues, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom,Liyel Imoke of Cross Rivers State and Timipre Sylva were reported not happy as they came out from the meeting, an indication that all is not well with Sylva
As Sylva camp is fighting to regain power at the state level,the camps of opposing contenders for the race are jubilating and working hard to ensure that Sylva does not get cleared.
Sylva had raised alarm over what he described as “a desperate attempt by unnamed forces to exclude him from contesting the governorship primary of the PDP,” alleging that he has not been told that he has been disqualified by the party.
At a press conference in Abuja, , the embattled Governor said the party had cleared him and had issued him a provisional clearance certificate, with serial number 0000012, dated October 28, 2011.
According to Sylva, whose statement was read to newsmen by Nathanial Egba,the commissioner for Information in the state,said the reports of his disqualification were, therefore, unfounded.
Sylva said his encounter with the PDP gubernatorial screening committee held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was warm and friendly, adding that his subsequent appearance before the gubernatorial screening appeal committee in Abuja did not give him any cause for concern.
The PDP NWC is expected to either ratify or reject the report of Abiodun Olujimi-led appeal panel, which recommended Sylva’s disqualification.
No reason has, so far, been given as the official position upon which the disqualification was hinged, but there were strong indications that it was not unconnected with some classified reports which security agencies reportedly shared with the PDP’s panel on alleged treasonable utterances of Governor Sylva, who allegedly threatened the life of President Jonathan and his immediate family.
Notwithstanding the development, Sylva said his reported romance with other political parties “is another segment of blackmail” against his person, saying that he remained in PDP even if the NWC ratified his disqualification.
Against the widespread rumour that he was on his way to joining the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) or All Progressive Grant Alliance ( APGA), Governor Sylva affirmed his commitment that he remained in the PDP.
As we expect the outcome of the Governors meeting with the president this week,if preference must be given,it should also be extended to others whose names were also missing in the list so that it does not turn a slap on democracy.Already,there have been multiple claims of being the president anointed among the aspirants.the current delays and suspends gives room for such claims to strive.
Many believed that if Governor Sylva is allowed to contest,waiver should be given to those who are seeking for it on merit and contributions for the party.A level playing ground should be given to all. Above all,the people should be allowed to choose who govern the state.
Tribunal Affirms Ihedioha’s Victory
The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Imo sitting in Abuja last Saturday affirmed the election of Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State.
Delivering judgment, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Mallami Umar-Dogondagi dismissed the petition of the candidate of the Action Alliance Party, Mr Uche Nwosu for incompetence.
In a unanimously decision, the three-member panel also struck out the petition of the All Progressive Congress, APC candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma.
Three petitions were filed by the governorship candidates of the Action Alliance (AA), All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), asking the tribunal to nullify the election of Mr Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the ground that he was unlawfully declared as the governor of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The tribunal held that the three petitions challenging the declaration of Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) lacked merit.
The petitioners, challenged the emergence of the PDP candidate as winner of the March 9 governorship election on the grounds that the election was marred by irregularities.
The tribunal held that candidate of the Action Alliance, AA, Uche Nwosu, Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress, APC failed to establish their petitions against governor Ihedioha.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on them by the law.
Umar-Dogodaji stressed that Sen. Uzodinma of the APC was unable to prove his allegation that wrongful collation of results by INEC led to Ihedioha’s emergence as winner of the governorship election.
Recall that Senator Ararume and Nwosu had approached the tribunal to cancel the election on the grounds that the declared winner did not meet the mandatory 25 per cent in two third of the local government areas in the state.
On his part, Senator Uzodimma approached the tribunal and asked that he be declared the rightful winner of the election, based on non-inclusion of results from 366 polling units out of the INEC approved 388 units in the state.
100 Days In Office: Wike’s Achievements Worth Celebrating -IPAC, Others
As part of their assessment of Chief Nyesome Wike’s 100 days in office of his second term, the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and Inter-Party Adversary Council in the state have said that govenor’s the achievements were worth celebrating.
The state Chairman of the SPN and Publicity Secretary of IPAC, Kukang Joseph gave the assessment during a live radio programme monitored by The Tide in Port Harcourt.
Joseph stated that it was no use engaging on unnecessary criticism all the time, noting that it was important to speak the truth when it is obvious, pointing out that IPAC was happy with the governor’s performance.
“As an individual, as a group and as IPAC, we are very happy with the governor’s performance. My assessment is 100 per cent for the Governor. He (Wike) has done well and his achievements in this 100 days in office of his second term was worth celebrating.
“It is needless engaging in unnecessary criticism all the time. I am here in a neutral capacity. Not for the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). I will say it the way it is. During the last administration of the APC when they did well IPAC commended them.
“Now that we are under the PDP government, where the governor is doing well, we must give it to him. Who was not in this state to see the state of resident doctors in Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH). If you go back there now and see the welfare lift His Excellency has given to the doctors there, you will be amazed.
“Is it the General Hospital, Bodo in Gokana Local Government Area and in other places, I mean the man has done creditably and we must give it to him. I don’t buy into unnecessary criticism because of politics. The governor has done well in terms of Healthcare in Rivers State,” he stated.
On security, Joseph expressed happiness that the new security architecture ‘Operation Sting’ launched by the governor was yielding positive fruits, especially in the Ogoni area of the state.
“Like I said the governor was on point when he launched the new security architecture called ‘Operation Sting’. Let me take it from Khana, Gokana and that Ogoni axis. You recall that in the past two, three months, the security situation was so bad that if you go to churches in Bori, that is the central town of the Ogoni people, you will weep for the displaced persons as a result of what these boys have done and the suffering of the innocent people.
Lawyer Urges Support For Wike Through Constructive Engagement
A Port Harcourt-based legal practitioner, Barr Precious Dike, has urged Rivers people to support Gov Nyesom Wike in his effort at developing the state by constructively engaging him and proffering wise counsel as when due.
Barr Dike who made the call while exchanging views with The Tide in Port Harcourt, last week described the state executive as a listening leader who is always inclined to giving heed to useful counsel.
While acknowledging that the governor was well within his constitutional freedom to bid his time in the assembling of persons to form the state executive council, the lawyer said the governor’s for “dedicated and passionate” individual to form his full cabinet was taking too long to materialise.
“The state has many committed, competent and loyal people”, he said, arguing that the delay in the appointment of commissioners in the state was slowing down the developmental momentum that had become the hallmark sort of the government in the past four years.
Barr Dike noted that permanent secretaries were limited in the scope of their duties and therefore could not do as much as commissioners, adding that the “the state has to come up with an economic blueprint which would attract investors”.
The Ubima born legal practitioner encouraged Governor Nyesom Wike not to lose stream in his drive that earned him many accolades including the sobriquet “Mr Projects” in his first term in office while urging him to turn his attention to executing legacy projects in the riverine communities in the interest of even development of the state in his second tenure.
“It would be fair that major infrastructural development are taken to the riverine areas, especially road and educational facilities”, he said, emphasising that the governor needs the cooperation and support of all Rivers people without distraction for him to fully realise his developmental agenda for the state in record time.
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