The police yesterday averted what would have been an obvious riot at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national secretariat at Wadata Plaza, Abuja, following clashes by different camps over the incumbent Governor Timipre Sylva’s ambition to lead the state for a second term.
This is just as reports from the national secretariat of the PDP suggest that former NDDC Boss, Mr. Timi Alaibe and permanent secretary in the ministry of water resources, Amb. Godknows Igali, may not contest in the November 19 primaries of the PDP in Bayelsa State. The development was said to be sequel to their inability to secure waivers from the party and attend the screening exercise, respectively.
It took the intervention of the police to bring the situation under control as the different camps clashed at the secretariat, with minor casualties recorded. The two different groups yesterday in Abuja were demonstrating in support and against Governor Sylva ahead of the governorship election, scheduled for February 12, 2012.
The leader of the anti-Sylvia group and president, Ogbia Youths in Abuja, Osain Azibalu, told journalists that their demonstration was to prevent the re-election of Sylva, saying that Bayelsans were not getting good governance from the Sylva-led government, alleging that the poor state of infrastructure was visible all over the state. ``There is nothing to write home about Sylva on the aspect of development,’’ he said.
But the chairman of the Ijaw community in Abuja, Mr Freeman Ovuru, urged the National Working Committee of the PDP to support Sylva after clearing him to contest. He said the demonstration against the governor was the work of detractors.
Ovuru condemned the action of the anti-Sylva group, describing it as unfortunate. ``It is unfortunate we are displaying our dirty linens in the capital city; any grievance our people are having against our governor should be done in our domain. This is not the best way to test popularity; if you are saying that Timipre Sylva is not the best candidate, you have to rise up as the electorate to vote him out,’’ he said.
Indications also emerged last night are that Silverbird Group chairman, Mr. Ben Murray-Bruce might have also failed to secure a waiver of the PDP for the forthcoming primary in the Bayelsa State.
Yesterday, at the national secretariat in Abuja, where Sylva, Alaibe, Francis Doukpola and Boulabo Orufa, who were the aspirants that faced the Appeals Panel, headed by Hon. Abiola Olujinmi, the situation was moody, as Alaibe came out of the secretariat looking moody and not willing to talk to journalists. He simply walked away refusing to talk to them.
On his part, Governor Sylva said he had been cleared by the party but was at the secretariat as a loyal party man to answer some allegations against him as requested by the party. He described the issues raised against him as pure ‘baloney’. He insisted that he was optimistic of a fair primary despite the change in the leadership of the state’s PDP.
He said: “I have been cleared and the party just invited me to clarify some issues which I have clarified. I am not in a position to say what we discussed. It is the party that will tell you as the party is the custodian of the issues.
‘’My clearance has always been subsistence, so there is no problem; nobody has taken away the clearance. I am not aware of any petition from any side, but of course everybody has a right to explain my position from any side, but of course everybody has a right to complain about something but it is also my right to explain my position to the party and I believe that the party is very satisfied with it.’’
Also, a group, the Bayelsa Restoration Agenda, has called for a robust debate amongst all governorship aspirants in the state, saying the development would provide the platform for the indigenes of the state to assess them and further be intimated of their action plan for the state.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday and signed by Fred Agbedi, the group’s director-general, the group said: “Bayelsans need someone who has a unique understanding of the issues and priorities of the people; one who will rally support for the development of Bayelsa State and restore the honour and dignity of the Ijaw Nation.’’
The group invited Bayelsans to the official launching and commencement of the Hon. Seriake Dickson Campaign for governor of Bayelsa State under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday, 5th November 2011 in Yenagoa.
“We therefore invite all Bayelsans and non-indigenes living in the State, the Ijaw ethnic nationality, the organised private sector, NGOs, business men and women, women and youth groups, religious organisations, and all those who have the interest of Bayelsa at heart, to join the Restoration Team to build a united, prosperous and glorious Bayelsa of our dream, ‘’ the group said.
Meanwhile, the Gubernatorial Screening Appeal Committee of the PDP for Bayelsa State gubernatorial election has cleared Hon Dickson, Hon Christopher Enai and Youpele Kalango.
The committee stated this in a statement yesterday by its chairperson, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi and the secretary,Alhaji Abba Anas Adamu.