Bayelsa guber: APC members, stakeholders doubt party’s preparedness for poll

Yenagoa—Ahead of the November 11 Governorship election in Bayelsa State, there seem to be divergent views about the chances of the main opposition candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to defeat Senator Douye Diri of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Several reports have alleged that there is uncertainty among some APC members and stakeholders over the difficulty in addressing issues of subsisting disunity in the party which they say stands as a stumbling block to its success.

It is also alleged that Sylva, who is the immediate past minister of state for petroleum resources has not shown seriousness in consulting the party’s leaders but is rather depending on his closeness to politicians in Rivers and other States to secure victory for the guber poll.

It will be recalled that Sylva’s emergence as flagbearer led to the disenchantment of other aspirants who took part in the party’s primary which they said was flawed.

One of the aspirants, Barr. Festus Daumiebi had expressed that on the day of the election when members turned out at various wards to cast their vote in the election, officials of the party who were sent to conduct the election failed to turn up. Neither were the electoral materials seen.

According to him, the election was marred by irregularities and was heavily compromised, accusing party officials of failing to abide by the party guidelines and agreed processes.

He said, “Upon reaching the Party secretariat on Saturday 15th April, I was shocked to observe that ‘heavy numbers have been concocted for their preferred aspirant and then a return was made in the open as programmed.”

Another aspirant, Chief David Lyon who also rejected the results of the party’s governorship primary election described it as “irresponsible and criminal.”

While condemning the process, he called on the National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to reject the results as declared by the primary election committee.

“It is a well-known and accepted fact by every well-meaning member of APC in Bayelsa State that the Gubernatorial primary election scheduled for the 14th day of April was not conducted all over the 105 wards of Bayelsa State.

“People waited from morning till night on the day of the election and there was no distribution of election materials neither was there any presence of election officials,” he said.

On May 13, 2023, the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC inaugurated a reconciliation committee led by Senator JK Brambayefa to address the grievances of party members. However, since its inauguration, the committee is yet to make any statement as regards the progress made.

Speaking on the matter, a source close to Sylva who craved anonymity quoted him as being disturbed that APC had lost too many members to the PDP in the past three years with more still willing to decamp.

The seemingly disheartened APC member claims that Sylva knows in his heart that Diri has done well in infrastructural development and security as well as in the area of engendering peaceful coexistence among Bayelsans.

Sylvia thinks Diri could have done better given the circumstances and the November 11 election will be difficult for him and that’s why the former governor is reaching out to people outside the state who can help him win the election, the source added.

Calls, text and WhatsApp messages sent to Sylva’s media aide, Julius Bokoru to get his response were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.

Sylva, while a minister, said in a live radio programme that he will not contest the Bayelsa governorship again, but later joined the guber race and clinched his party ticket.

In a recent interview with Sun Newspaper, Sylva argued that he has done nothing wrong in changing his mind to contest again for the governorship of the state, claiming that the present administration is incapable of putting Bayelsa on the path of prosperity.

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