NEDU MARK, Yenagoa
Frontline aspirant in the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bayelsa State Governorship election primary, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe, has officially withdrawn from the race to pick the party’s ticket for the December 5 poll.
Citing intimidation and harassment of his delegates by party thugs and supporters loyal to his major rival, Chief Timipre Sylva, the former Managing Director Niger Delta Development Commission (NDCC), announced his withdrawal from the exercise, Wednesday.
With his withdrawal, former governor Sylva may have seen his closest challenger exit the contest and consequently winning the party’s sole ticket to contest the state’s December 5 poll.
In an official statement released, Wednesday, Alaibe said the decision to pull out of the race was informed by the need ‘to avoid a situation of crisis that the PDP might inadvertently reap from,’ which, according to him, ‘cannot be over emphasised.’
“It is with all nostalgia that I recall the zeal, enthusiasm and hope with which thousands of Bayelsans made a statement in the direction of change in August, 2015. I can also vividly recall a mental replay of the occasion wherein a qualitative representation of the leadership of our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) ushered in respected leaders and members from their then party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“That singular event has been phenomenal just as it’s true meaning and direction have all exuded confidence, unity of purpose, cohesion, collectivism and courage. That day undoubtedly marked the beginning of a people’s journey from hopelessness and quandary as enunciated by the accidental PDP-led government in Bayelsa state to that of quality leadership that an APC government will represent.
“As one of such leaders who took that historic decision, I thought of giving a further bite to my burning desire to extricate the state from abysmal leadership failure. Therefore, my aspiration to be governor after series of consultations was to rekindle our collective hope and lift the state beyond its current state of decay under the PDP.
“Regardless, I am not oblivious of the fundamental fact that we all need a virile, united, cohesive and collaborative APC to bring about our desires to fruition. Not only do we need this, APC deserves every sacrifice, including personal interests, to arrive at the envisaged destination come February, 2016.
“This is more so that both as individual leaders and as a party, the need to avoid a situation of crisis that the PDP might inadvertently reap from cannot be over emphasised.
“As a result, having carefully examined the circumstances that have trailed the Governorship primaries of our great party in Bayelsa state, I have come to the conclusion that pushing my Governorship ambition beyond this point carries alongside it some collateral consequences.
Continuing, Alaibe said: “Succinctly, two options are available to me. Whereas I am confident that I have the required support of my admirers and supporters as well as the needed backing of Bayelsans to govern them, the hurdles set on the way of this noble project are seemingly tempestuous and capable of overheating the APC in Bayelsa.
“In another vein, the virtuous path to take is that virtuous one in which personal interest are sacrificed for the common good, whether for the APC or the state in general. This is the path I chose in the light of the prevailing circumstances. I therefore withdraw from the governorship primary contest.
“This decision is taken in the interest of our party especially as we face the task of the common challenge of unseating the PDP in the state come December 5.”
Four other aspirants in the primary have also registered their grievances against the exercise, as they equally expressed dissatisfaction with the primaries, arguing that they were not duly informed of the venue of the election.
The aggrieved aspirants include; Pastor Tonye Aprela, Tarila Tamipa, Diekivie Bovie Okiogha and Austin Febo Ogonwo.
The aspirants who walked into the venue of the election located at the party’s Secretariat, Yenagoa insisted they were not communicated on the change of venue for the poll.
Further insisting that the party officials did not follow the due process, the aggrieved aspirants called on the National Working Committee of the APC to intervene in their case.
Describing the election as ‘guerrilla primaries’, the aggrieved aspirants arrived the venue at 11.30 am mid way to the conclusion of the primaries.
Delegates from the eight local government areas of the state are participating in the rescheduled APC primaries election holding at the party secretariat in Yenagoa.
As at the time of his reports, heavy presence of the security agencies including the police, Men of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Service (DSS) were seen at the venue to check possible break down of law and order.