- Alaibe set to pick ticket
Ahead of the Tuesday, September 22, Bayelsa State governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the bid by some national leaders of the party to settle for consensus candidate hit the rocks, as the aspirants insist on contesting for the ticket.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that series of meetings were held between the APC leaders and the two leading contenders for the ticket, former Governor Timipre Sylva and former Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC boss, Timi Alaibe to pick a consensus candidate.
Alaibe was said to have bluntly rejected the idea of imposing a candidate on members of the party and declared that it is only a candidate that emerges through a transparent primary election that would command the respect and support of other members of the party.
A source who was at the meetings, but pleaded anonymity told our correspondent last night that the APC leaders even offered Alaibe the ministerial slot for the state, with assurance that he was already penciled down as minister for Niger Delta Affairs, but Alaibe turned down the offer.
He said Alaibe and his supporters kicked against the offer seeing it as undemocratic and unjust.
Our source at the meeting and a close political associate of Alaibe confirmed the development, noting that Alaibe was adamant not to step down for Sylva except a free and fair primary was conducted to determine the party’s candidate.
“It is true some of the party leaders present at the meeting want former Governor Timipre Sylva as our consensus candidate, but Alaibe and some prominent elders from Bayelsa State, who support him, insisted they want to go into the primary because they believe they have the support of the delegates.
He disclosed that the APC leaders deliberated on the implications of shutting out any aspirant from the race and eventually told all the aspirants to go and get set for the primary election.
The decision not to impose any “consensus” candidate was said to have quelled the tension within Bayelsa APC where some members are already taking up arms over alleged plot to foist a candidate on them.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Timi Frank in a statement said, “I am directed to inform the Bayelsa State executive committee of the APC, all APC governorship aspirants and all our teeming members and supporters in the state that the governorship primary earlier scheduled for Saturday, the 19th will now hold on Tuesday, September 22, 2015.”
Meanwhile, APC elders in Bayelsa State led by Senator John Kojo Brambaifa said Alaibe is the only aspirants that can give the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP a run for its money during the general election.
Senator Brambaifa, who recently led a group of Bayelsa elders to the APC National Secretariat to obtain nomination and expression of interest forms on behalf of Timi Alaibe, to enable him run for the governorship of the state, said the Bayelsa elders are rooting for Alaibe because he is well connected to the grassroots in the state.
He also cited his antecedents as Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.