Street Journal’s investigations have revealed that the Appeal Committee set up by the National Working Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has made strong recommendations which might have led to the disqualification of some of the aspirants jostling for the party’s governorship ticket in Bayelsa State. True to the Chairman of the committee, Mrs. Olujimi’s disclosure, the panel was not given a mandate to disqualify anyone. Street Journal however found out that the committee’s recommendations were acted upon by the NWC. Street Journal gathered that the NWC arrived at a number of decisions after a meeting that ended very late on Monday.
Investigations revealed that Governor Timipre Sylva and Ben Bruce are those who fell on the negative side of the NWC’s decision.
Though Street Journal gathered that the Committee did not find Timipre Sylva wanting in any way, the NWC has decided that another person will fly the party’s flag in the elections. Street Journal’s findings revealed that Governor Sylva’s undoing was the many political battles he engaged himself in. In a matter of four years, Sylva has earned himself a lot of political enemies. He is also ever quick to blame his political opponents for every misfortune.
At a function attended by the President in Yenagoa, people damned the consequences and hurled objects at the Governor as he read his address. That was apparently to show the President how well Bayelsans “loved” their Governor.
A PDP source disclosed that “Sylva sealed his fate with the unguarded, treasonable verbal threats that he would kill the President.” Of course the President is a stakeholder in the PDP and whether one likes it or not, he would have a hand in who emerges eventually.
Ben Bruce on the other hand fell into disfavour just because of his dual citizenship of Nigeria and the United States. It will be recalled that the PDP in Oyo State challenged the election of the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate in the Governorship elections on allegation of dual citizenship.
One of the aspirants, Francis Doukpola had issues with his tax papers which the Appeal Committee found to be faulty. He was subsequently recommended for disqualification.
Ndutimi Alaibe on the other hand had applied for a waiver, having just rejoined the PDP from the Labour Party where he emerged as the gubernatorial candidate in a previous attempt at ruling Bayelsa State.
Honourable Henry Dickson Seriake too is one of those who are still believed to be in the race. He is a well known figure in Bayelsa politics. With over a decade of experience on the political field, he is obviously not a neophyte. He is the Chairman of the House of Reps Committee on Special Duties.
The battle for the PDP ticket seems to be between Honourable Henry Seraike and Timi Alaibe. Both are no doubt close to the President. Those who feel Alaibe fell out with the President after he decamped have been reminded that Alaibe recommended Kingsley Kembradagha Kuku, the man who replaced him as the President’s Special Adviser on Niger Delta. Street Journal also found out that Kuku has always been a loyalist of Alaibe and their relationship precedes Kuku’s election as the only Ijaw lawmaker in Ondo State.
Seriake too is not a man that can be written off. His political experience cannot be wished away. And in terms of closeness with the President, Honourable Seriake too has it. He was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa State while Dr. Jonathan was the Governor. He has also proved himself over the years to be a loyal party man.
It is being insinuated already in some quarters that the choice of the PDP for the 2012 governorship elections in Bayelsa might eventually follow the trend of what happened in Ekiti State just before the 2007 general elections. The Ekiti situation was peculiar then, in that the result of the shadow elections showed that Yinka Akerele won, followed by Professor Ojo while Engr. Segun Oni trailed them. Surprisingly, the party chose to field Oni as the candidate. Coincidentally, the Chairman of the Appeal Screening Committee that summoned the aspirants on Sunday is Hon. Abiodun Olujimi, who hails from Ekiti and served as a Deputy Governor.
In the Bayelsa situation, the determinants of who will eventually emerge include the President, the NWC of the PDP.