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.
APC: C’River LP Disowns Decampees
The Labour Party (LP) has disowned one Mr. Maurice Ekeng, who claimed to be Chairman of the party in Cross River State, and his purported exco who defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC)
The party, in a press statement made available to newsmen, yesterday, described the action of Ekeng and others as “laughable and unfortunate for an old man who parades himself as an elder of the church”.
The statement signed by Comrade Dr. Ofem Lekam, State Publicity Secretary of the party said, “The attention of the leadership of Labour Party in Cross River State led by Ambassador Ogar Osim as Chairman and Comrade Asuquo Etim as State Secretary has been drawn to publications claiming that the State Chairman and members of his executive have decamped to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“Mr Ekeng is an impostor who was never made a State Chairman at any Congress. We challenge him to publish the names of his executive, pictures taken in 2021 extra-ordinary NEC meeting in Benin City where the National Chairman, Julius Abure and the Secretary, Alhaji Farouk Ibrahim were elected, as well as that of Home Land Hotel Calabar where the National Leadership represented by the Vice Chairman South South, Prince Reuben Nuka inaugurated the current State Caretaker
“The impostor from all available evidences is a member of APC sponsored to create confusion in a peaceful party of idealists who are making sacrifices in travelling round the nooks and crannies of the state to revive the structures of the party at all level in the state which is already making monumental impact in the state ahead of 2023.
“We want to put it on record that, Labour Party is intact, and is not contemplating merging with All Progressive Congress (APC) and any other political party; rather it is a party to beat come 2023.
“We appeal to the general public to disregard any news making the rounds that the LP Chairman and his executive have decamped, it is the imagination of political jobbers and mischief-makers whose occupation is to sacrifice their integrity and ideology just for peanuts.
“It is also instructive to advise Mr. Bassey Ita serving at APC Secretariat at Marian Road Calabar not to allow the temporary excitement of the moment to cloud his sense of reasoning by accepting people claiming a platform without verification.
“It is pathetic that Mr. Bassey Ita is yet to realize that with Governor Prof. Ben Ayade now as leader of APC CRS, the days of kangaroo administration of APC CRS should have been over by now in Cross River State.”
INEC To Deploy 5,346 Personnel For CVR
INEC said on Monday in Abuja that it would deploy 5,346 personnel to 2,673 registration centres for Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) resuming nationwide on June 28.
Its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the declaration at the presentation of INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) and online registration portal for the exercise at a meeting he held with media executives.
IVED is an Android tablet to be used in place of the existing Data Capturing Machine used for CVR in previous exercises.
Prof. Yakubu said that before now INEC had 1,446 registration centres where it registered 14. 2 million voters between 2017 and 2018.
“Learning from the experience of what happened, we have now almost doubled the number of those centres.
“Our hope is that unlike 14.2 million we registered in the previous exercise, we are targeting a minimum of 20 million registrants this time. It will take the number of registered voters to about 100 million,’’ Yakubu said.
He said that majority of the 5,346 personnel to be deployed would be INEC officials, while ad-hoc staff would be used where the Commission lacked the required number of personnel.
He said that the Commission was working with stakeholders for the security of personnel and equipment to be deployed.
Yakubu disclosed that the design for both the online portal and IVED were done by INEC engineers, taking into consideration Nigeria’s peculiarity, including weather, for its durability.
He said registrants would be able to know where machines for registration are located via the portal.
He also noted that the Commission was working on ensuring that Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for internally-displaced persons were reproduced for them so as not to be disenfranchised.
Many would have lost their cards while under siege, he said.
Prof. Yakubu also said that PVCs for newly-registered voters would be produced on quarterly basis after the registration, noting that the list of the registrants would be displayed at the registration units for claims and objections.
Presenting the online portal and IVED, INEC’s Director of ICT, Mr Chidi Nwafor, said that the online portal was designed to serve various needs of eligible Nigerians for the registration.
These, according to Nwafor, include new registration, review of registration, and review of personal details or voting centres, PVCs replacement or collection.
“As a new voter, you can pre-register online, or as a registered voter, you can revalidate your voter registration, request to update your information or transfer your voter registration to another polling unit, Nwafor said.
He said that registrants could register their details online before going to the nearest registration centre selected by them for photographs and finger prints capturing to complete the exercise.
Nwafor said that the portal was designed in a way that once an intending voter completed the online registration, an appointment for physical registration would be generated by the portal for the registrant.
He added that any registrant who could not meet up with the appointed date and time could reschedule the appointment via the same portal.
He said that the portal also made provision for people to contact the Commission in the event of challenges during online registration.
He noted that a registrant had 14 days to complete the online pre-registration and a year to complete the whole process.
He advised registered voters to make use of the portal to identify polling units or centres nearest to them.
Nwafor also assured that the Commission was putting adequate security in place to protect the device and the portal against hacks or cybercrime.
He also said that concerns about underage voter registration would be taken care of as those that registered online would still visit the registration centre before the process could be completed.
The media executives in a communiqué issued after the meeting suggested that the CVR be devolved to INEC LGA Council offices based on thorough appraisal of security situations and related factors.
They also recommended that the CVR be gradually devolved to other designated registration centres nationwide after assessments of security situations and other factors relating to safety of personnel and materials.
They tasked relevant stakeholders, especially political parties, traditional institutions, religious leaders and Civil Society Organisations to mobilise all eligible registrants to participate in the CVR.
PDP NWC Harps On Unity Over Anambra Guber Poll
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) has called for unity among stakeholders in Anambra state, ahead the June 26 primaries for the state governorship election.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, made the call during the NWC meeting with the party aspirants, leaders and other stakeholders from Anambra, held in Abuja on Monday.
Secondus said the meeting was called to enable the NWC to interact with stakeholders, as elections held off season were always very stormy and tough.
“We are here basically for us to make sure first and foremost that all our leaders and all our aspirants are in unity. It is very important for this trying period and you know the period, we are in,”he said.
Secondus said that unity was key, especially now that the country was passing through challenges including insecurity that must not be taken for granted.
He said the only way to get out of that was to make sure that things were done properly.
“Let there be fairness, equity and justice, which is in deficit in our country; and that is what the PDP stands for.
“We stand for fairness, equity and justice under the rule of law. This is a party that believes that all Nigerians are one. We must live together as brothers and sisters,” he said.
The party chairman said that Anambra was key to the mission of rescuing Nigeria and uniting the country.
“Anambra is the economic key of our country and we must conduct our affairs to show the world that PDP is different and ready to rescue this country.
“That is why we are to interact with leaders of our party, and at the end of this meeting, I think we will go home happy that on Saturday it will be the freest congresses ever that are conducted.
“So, Anambra, we want to advise, we want to call our people, the time to put down ourselves is now.
“This is the time to look at each other. We must not allow both Anambra and our country to fail. We must show that good example.
“You have been leading in several areas, you must lead politically now. Our leaders must be statesmen. They must look beyond an individual and narrow interest.
“It is time for us to look at Nigeria. If we get it wrong, the consequences will be great. It will reflect on other parts of the country,” Secondus said.
Also, PDP National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu, said the meeting was customary anytime PDP had major contests.
Akobundu said the meeting was called to ensure everybody was carried along in the primary to ensure peaceful outcome.
“It is for this reason that the NWC directed to meet with all stakeholders in Anambra.
“This is just a cross section of our quality stakeholders in Anambra that were invited to attend this meeting.
“It is simply to rub minds, have an interactive session and discuss ways and means that we can employ to have hitch-free primary with everybody on board.”
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