A former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Nditimi Alaibe, has reconciled with the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, after two years of soured relationship following the controversial governorship primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the State about two years ago.
Governor Diri had won the governorship primary with 561 votes while his main rival, Alaibe scored 365 votes.
Alaibe, however, rejected the outcome of the primaries and pursued his case up to the Supreme Court where he also lost out.
Alaibe, however, extended an olive branch to Governo Diri after exhausting his legal options but his peace moves were rejected by Governor Diri, who described such peace offering as belated.
They are both from the same Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area and have been political associates for over 20 years.
However, LEADERSHIP gathered that the governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, played a major role in reconciling the duo. Wike was reported to have prevailed on Governor Diri, during his last week visit to Yenagoa, to end the cold feud with Alaibe.
A PDP source told LEADERSHIP that Diri accepted Wike’s reconciliatory offer but said all is left for Alaibe to make such peace move.
It was clear that during the closed-door meeting between the two governors at the Bayelsa Government House, the reconciliation matter was discussed.
Wike immediately nominated the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Okpara, and a former Transport Minister, Abiye Sekibo, to meet with Alaibe and reconcile the duo.
“Okpara and Sekibo met with Alaibe and discussed the issue. They told Alaibe that the reconciliation is important for Bayelsa and national PDP politics. That the State is losing the clout and knowledge of politics associated with a politician like Timi Alaibe. Many other things were said by Timi Alaibe but it is not for print,” the source said.
Meanwhile, Chief Alaibe, who on Sunday evening visited Governor Diri at his residence in the Bayelsa Government House in open acceptance of the reconciliation effort initiated by Governor Wike and peace in the state, confirmed the development in a statement issued few hours later, insisting that the reconciliation was achieved after repeated interventions by mutual friends, business partners and political associates.
According to him, “I finally considered it necessary to put an end to the ugly past, drop political differences and re-establish age-old friendship with my brother and State Governor, Douye Diri. That happened on Sunday January 16. Let me state here that Governor Diri and I have come a long way. We have not only been political partners, there is a deep sense of brotherhood in our relationship. Somehow, in 2019, political differences thrust a sharp knife into that bond; and as the late Chinua Achebe would say, things fell apart and the centre could no longer hold.
“But then, blood is thicker than water. We both knew that what happened was temporal. Our mutual friends decided to wade in; especially those who knew what happened and believed that Governor Diri could not be held directly responsible. He only had favour thrusted upon him. I must admit that out of a deep sense of humility and friendship, Governor Diri had, at several times, shortly after taking office, personally reached out to me. I chose to remain silent as I reviewed the situation. But all that is now history.
“Time has healed the wounds and I have chosen to do the right thing. There is no doubt that the reconciliation will surprise a lot of people; particularly some political jobbers who profited from our temporary silence. What has happened might also be misinterpreted and given various coloration by different people. But the truth is that I have chosen to listen to the voice of wisdom and re-establish a cherished relationship; which politics tried to destroy.
“To demonstrate the sincerity of my intentions and reciprocate the same humility, which Governor Diri had displayed previously, I refused to meet him on a neutral ground. Instead, in company of close friends, I went to the governor’s official residence in Yenogoa and I was warmly welcomed by him and his team. I am thoroughly impressed by the sincerity displayed of my governor. So, the past is behind us. Politics has taken the backstage. Friendship and the collective interest of Bayelsa people are in the centre-stage now. We are back to work together in love and unity. Join us,” Alaibe stated.
In his response, the Bayelsa State governor also confirmed the reconciliation and end to the cold war between him and Alaibe, saying: “A great day indeed when I received my brother, the man we call “Principal”, Chief Timi Alaibe, proud son of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
“We have been in this political journey together for over 20 years and I am glad to reunite with him for the love and development of our dear State of Bayelsa. It’s indeed a new dawn! A whole new chapter has been opened as we all reflected on the past. Together, we can make that difference for our people.”