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Bayelsa: Sylva, Bruce, Alaibe May Be Out
As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) begins the sale of delegates nomination form today in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State to pick the 315 delegates for the November 19 governorship primary election in the state, it has emerged that the party may have finally dropped Governor Timipre Sylva from contesting for re-election on its platform.
Also yet to be cleared by PDP for the governorship race are former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Timi Alaibe, and President of Silverbird, Mr. Ben Bruce.
In the meantime, embattled Governor Sylva may have finalized arrangements to head for the Action Congress of Nigeria in the event that he is finally excluded from the PDP race.
A source close to the governor also stated that Sylva may formally declare his intention to contest the primary today whether he is cleared by PDP or not.
The declaration will hold at the Sports Complex in Yenogoa.
PDP has ruled out clearing Governor Sylva for the election, stating that his exclusion from the party’s governorship race would not pose any trouble for the party in the state.
The Chairman of PDP in Bayelsa State, Chief James Dogu, told newsmen that the sale of nomination forms for the delegate election would commence today.
He also said that three delegates would be elected in each of the 105 wards of the state.
But we has gathered that there is intense confusion and uncertainty over the President’s actual choice in the governorship race.
This is said to be a result of the letter by Bayelsa State caucus in the National Assembly with members namely Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa West Senatorial District), Senator. Clever Ikisikpo (Bayelsa East Senatorial District), Hon. Warman Ogoriba (Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency), Hon. Jephatha Foinghan (Brass/Nembe Federal Constituency), Hon. Nadu Karibo (Ogbia Federal Constituency) and Hon. Henry Ofongo (Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency) accusing the PDP National Working Committee of now assuming the powers to disqualify a governor, in this instance -Sylva .
A source said the letter by the National Assembly PDP caucus allegedly jolted the President.
As a result of that, the source said the President is joggling his list and may now pick between a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dickson Seriake, believed to be his original candidate, and a former Managing Director of the defunct African Continental Bank (ACB), Francis Doupkola, both of whom had been cleared.
Meanwhile, a group of elders from the state yesterday stormed Abuja, in protest against what they perceived as undue interference by the Governors’ Forum and members of the Bayelsan caucus in the National Assembly.
The aggrieved elders in a speech presented to newsmen by their Chairman, Col. Sam Inokoba (rtd), expressed dismay over an alleged move by the Governors Forum to pressurise President Goodluck Jonathan and PDP leadership to adopt Sylva.
They also questioned the moral basis behind the declaration of support for Sylva by some members of the National Assembly whose mandate is to represent the interest of the people.
Inokoba said the elders are worried that many interested parties outside Bayelsa had joined the fray and were trying to impose their wishes on the people of the state.
“What appears very disturbing about the Bayelsa situation is the attempt by the Governors Forum to interfere in the PDP governorship candidacy by putting pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the return of Governor Timipreye Sylva,” he said.
He said Bayelsa Elders and Opinion Leaders have viewed with grave concern, the ongoing debate concerning the upcoming governorship elections in the state and would like to decry undue meddlesomeness by various groups in the internal matters of Bayelsa State and the PDP.
According to Inokoba, PDP should be allowed to utilise its internal machinery to determine the right candidate for the party for the gubernatorial elections.
In the same manner, he said Bayelsa indigenes should be allowed to determine who governs them at all levels without interference.
He said the electability of Sylva as Governor of Bayelsa is a decision that the people of the state and his party, PDP, should determine.
“It should not be the decision of the President or any Governor or National Assembly members for that matter. The Governors Forum should mind its business and leave Bayelsans to decide the fate of their Governor. It is worrisome that the entire PDP governors will leave important state duties in their various states to converge in Abuja to lobby the president en-masse and try to convince him to ensure the return of Sylva irrespective of whether he has performed well or not in the eyes of Bayelsans.
“The chairman of the governors’ forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, as a democrat himself knows that this is not the best way to force through the candidacy of a colleague. The future of Bayelsa state should be left in the hands of the people of that state and not in the hands of other elected governors who in the name of camaraderie want to push at all cost the electoral fortunes of their colleague, “he said.
He said not until that decision is made, the governors have no moral right to influence his adoption by the party.
“The Governors Forum as a body especially the South-South Governors Forum should desist from applying undue pressure on the PDP and the President to subvert the internal democratic process of the Party which is crucial to the enthronement of enduring democracy,” he said
Also, a group known as ‘The Godknows Igali Solidarity Movement’ has called on all well-meaning Bayelsans to support and ensure that Dr Godknows Igali emerges as Governor of Bayelsa State in 2012.
In a press statement issued in Abuja yesterday and signed by its Chairman, Chief Lemmy Wainidi, the movement said Igali’s leadership would make possible the needed accelerated human and infrastructural development of the state.
Igali, according to the organization, is an ebullient and erudite diplomat whose exposure to other developed climes put him ahead of all other aspirants.