OKECHUKWU JOMBO x-rays the crisis rocking the Bayelsa state chapter of the All Progressives Congress which has culminated in the suspension and counter-suspension of some chieftains of the party
The crisis in the Bayelsa State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) sunk deeper in a pool of crisis that has engulfed the party since the last gubernatorial poll that brought back Sariake Dickson of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as second term governor.
Rather than abate, the crisis escalated when a faction of the party headed by the state’s Chairman, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, suspended its governorship candidate in the 2015 election, Chief Timipre Sylva alongside four others.
The other four are Joseph Fafi, the party’s senatorial Vice Chairman Central Zone; Fortune Panebi, Publicity Secretary; Tonye Okio, organizing Secretary; and Edison Sogwe – for allegedly conniving with Mr. Sylva, a former governor of the state, to destabilize the party.
A statement recently jointly signed by the APC Chairman in the state, Timipa Orunimighe and Secretary, Daniel Marlin, said the decision to suspend the five was taken at an emergency state executive meeting of the party after due consultations with its senior officials and elders in the state.
Orunimighe described the decision to suspend Sylva as “painful but necessary” following the pending investigations brought to the party against him.
Sylva was said to have been suspended for anti party activities.
“We have it on good record Timipre Sylva, last week Tuesday precisely, paid a clandestine visit to one of the south-south Governors of the PDP; this is just one of the series of correspondences between them and we find it grossly unbecoming.
It said the action of the former governor was in direct breach of Article 21 under ‘Offences’ in the party constitution which states in section 2, ‘Anti-Party activities or any conduct, which is likely to embarrass or have adverse effect on the party or bring the party into hatred, contempt, ridicule or disrepute’ is punishable.
It also said by trying to form a parallel executive committee, Mr. Sylva’s action “is in complete defiance of Article 21, under offences which states, ‘Factionalization or creating parallel party organs at any level’ is punishable by the extremists of means.”
The party said the former governor’s “antics betrays the present posture of Buhari’s regime which has cardinal virtues of honesty, sincerity and transparency.”
It also accused Mr, Sylva of engaging in corruption, indiscipline and trading of political offices.
“We find it deeply embarrassing his relentless efforts to commercialize political offices.
“Worse still, is that, members of the opposition who vehemently stood against the change ideal and still do not believe in our party’s course are with him on the bargaining table.
“This is not in fidelity with the party’s constitution which states in Article 21, section 1, subsection 3 of the party constitution.
“We have tried on countless occasions to advise him on the dangers of his untoward behaviours, but each time we are faced with threats and insults,” the statement said.
“The party will not tolerate acts of Indiscipline from anyone no matter how highly placed the individual”, the statement added.
Earlier on , Orunimighe and the Secretary of the party,, Marlin Daniel, were suspended by the executive members of the party in the state.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Panebi Fortune, who is among four other persons suspended alongside Sylva described their suspension as a huge joke, saying Orunimighe and Daniel had no powers to suspend them
The APC accused the State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, of being the brains behind the crisis rocking the party in the state.
APC in a statement signed by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Panebi Fortune, said there was an underhand dealing between the suspended Chairman of the party, Chief Tiwe Oruminighe and Dickson.
Oruminighe and few membes of the state Executive Committee have been directely attacking the state leader of the party, Chief Timipre Sylva, accusing him of selling appointments to his cronies.
Dickson in the heat of the crisis released a statement purportedly supporting the faction of the APC Executive Committee led by Oruminighe.
The party said: “It has become compelling for us to expose the under hand dealings between the governor, Hon Henry Seriake Dickson and the suspended state chairman of the APC, Chief Tiwei Oruminighe alongside two of his accomplices.
“In the last few days, the state and indeed the entire nation has witnessed the outright misdemeanour on the part of the suspended party and two members of the state exco. As a party built on the principles of discipline, justice and fair play, 25 out of the 31 member state exco of the party supended Orunimigha and his co-travellers for gross indiscipline and misconduct.
“However, our attention has been drawn to a statement laced with lies and outright misinformation purporting and insinuating financial dealings between two leading lights in our party, that is our leader, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Hon Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri prior to the appointment of the latter as minister. We find these lies very disgusting and ignoble, hence seen as the ranting of a bunch of misled ingrates.
“But our curiosity is that the statement emanated from one Daniel Iworiso-Markson, chief press secretary to Governor Dickson. The question of who is behind the suspended chairman and his ‘boys’ does not need to be asked. What rather baffles us is the rationale behind this incredulous act of anti party and unconscionable desire for monetary gains in the name of politics.
“We wish to state unequivocally that the entire membership of the state exco aside the suspended trio of Oruminighe, Julius Eddy and Daniel Marlin is solidly behind our leader, Sylva as well as the minister of state. We call on the relevant security agencies to unravel the source of the attached email statement from Iworiso-Markson”.
Former senior aide to Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State on Inter-Party Relations, Mr. Ebikibina Miriki, , said that the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state was self- inflicted. Miriki, a former National Youth Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, attributed the current crisis in the state chapter of the APC to the unpopular way it was set up in the state.
He said though the party lured many of its members with cash and other political promises ahead of the December, 2015 governorship election, the lack of political presence and followership after the governorship election was expected to trigger crisis that would destroy the APC in the state. Miriki, who also served as a former Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, at an interactive session in Yenagoa, , said that the failure of the party leadership to sustain equity and transparency could spell doom for the party in the state. He said:
“The crisis rocking the APC in the state is expected. For a party that had its affair in Abuja and all key officers are not seen but reside in Abuja, the presence of the party in the state is completely alienated from its members.
“The lingering crisis which has now snowballed to counter accusation and denial of corruption, bribery, mismanagement of party funds and suspension, is unfortunate and a clear indication that the party lacks internal party democracy and discipline