Bayelsa: APC Slips Into Crisis Over Botched Primaries | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bayelsa: APC Slips Into Crisis Over Botched Primaries

Posted: Sep 27, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma Yenagoa

Indications at the weekend were that the Bayelsa State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is deeply enmeshed in crisis, following disputes over the governorship primaries conducted in Yenagoa last Tuesday.

Timipre Sylva

Timipre Sylva

Initial reports had pronounced former Governor Timipre Sylva, winner of the exercise, but the party’s national leadership said hours later that the process had been nullified, and that it would announce a new date for a repeat.

But Sylva insists he remains the validly elected APC candidate for the December 5, 2015 governorship election, contending that any fresh primaries purportedly being planned by the party’s leadership would be illegal.

This was just as the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation said it would continue to abide by decisions of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) on the botched primary.

Also, the Bayelsa Youth and Student Volunteers for Progressives Change (BYSVPC), a pro-APC group in the state, applauded the party’s decision on the primary, just as it gave kudos to the Oshiomhole committee for insisting that the right things be done.

Trouble reportedly started soon after the declaration of Sylva as winner, when Edo State Governor and chairman of the organising committee, Adams Oshiomhole, declared that the primaries did not hold and that the purported declaration of Sylva as APC candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in the state on December 5, 2015, was a fraud.

APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, cancelled the outcome of the primaries, based on the Oshiomhole Committee report, a decision that has triggered controversies, eliciting mixed reactions among stakeholders of the party in the state.

The Sylva campaign organisation debunked insinuations in some quarters that Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State would be drafted to join the Oshiomhole electoral committee for a new primary, describing it as “cruel hoax”.

In a statement by Doifie Buokoribo, on Saturday, the Sylva campaign team maintained that that there is no way a fresh exercise could be organised on Tuesday, because “an APC candidate for the December 5, 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State has emerged and that candidate is Chief Timipre Sylva.

“No amount of media manipulation can change that. This is a society of law and order,” he stressed, adding that the latest disinformation only shows the level of desperation of those seeking the ticket through the back door.

“An election was conducted, Sylva won, the whole world has seen it.

“Besides, there is no way a hopelessly compromised Oshiomhole, who has also openly displayed his bias, can be asked again to go and conduct an election in Bayelsa State. Even his masters know that will be unacceptable to Nigerians.

“Similarly, as at Saturday, 26 September 2015, Tambuwal is in far away New York attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) while Amosun is attending Hajj in Saudi Arabia. Are they going to conduct a virtual election?

“Despite the orchestrated lies and disinformation, the Sylva Campaign will again urge our teeming supporters to be law-abiding, peaceful but resolute. Victory is sure”, it stated.

I Remain Loyal

A statement on Saturday by Patterson Ogon of the Alaibe campaign organisation said it has no problem with the decision of the party’s NWC to reschedule the primary.

“We are contesting (the governorship ticket) and the decision of where and when to hold the (primary) election is the prerogative of the NWC.

“We have no objection to whatever decision the leadership of the party comes up with.

“We are a loyal party people and will work in line with the decision of the leadership of the party”, the statement said.

The BYSPC in a statement by its National Coordinator, Ayere Egbetein, Secretary, B.J. John and Publicity Secretary, Jonathan Okwa, hailed the APC leadership’s decision to reject Sylva’s emergence as candidate, describing the exercise as fraudulent.

It said the cancellation is a good development for party and that those seeking power through the back door had been taught a lesson of their lives, even while condemning the intimidation and physical attacks on delegates and persons believed to be sympathetic to Alaibe, a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The group described the attacks as barbaric, depicting that the old ways of doing things, which Bayelsa youths want to change were still there.

Neutral Grounds

The group urged the APC’s national leadership to move the rescheduled primary to a neutral ground outside Bayelsa, to avert a breakdown of law and order and “ensure safety and bring about credible elections or in the alternative, we pray the leadership of the party to increase the security apparatus at the venue of the rescheduled date to boost delegates’ confidence and public participation and build confidence in the APC.

“The party should work out a more credible process of accreditation of authentic delegates and where possible collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy more of its staff on identification of cloned PVCs to avoid impersonation and pseudo-delegates who are only engaged to thwart the good reputation of the party.

“As youths and students, we are the worst hit in the emergence of any bad government. As people at the grassroots, we can only commend Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and the national leadership of the APC for taking the right step,” it added.