2011: MASS DEFECTION HITS PDP, BOOSTS ALAIBE'S CHANCES
A wave of mass defection has hit the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State with many aggrieved members decamping to the Labour Party (LP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The aggrieved members who were moving with their supporters had boosted the chances of Mr. Ndutimi Alaibe the gubernatorial candidate of the LP ahead the 2011 general elections in the state.
Among those who had concluded plans to move to the LP were the immediate past chairman of PDP in the state, Chief Rufus Abadi, a former Director of Due-Process and e-governance bureau in Governor Timipre Sylva's government, Mr. Patterson Ogon and former chairman, Yenagoa branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rex Ogbuku.
Many of the members who were in serious talks with the leadership of the LP in the state were shut out of the ad-hoc congresses and were not cleared by the screening panel for aspirants in the National Assembly and state House of Assembly.
They were further irked seeing the brazen way loyalists of Sylva hijacked the primaries to pick candidates in the state House of Assembly, preventing party members from exercising their rights to vote.
At the LP secretariat, it was a beehive of activities as many of those who had been denied participation in the congresses and primaries by the PDP leadership in the state were sighted seeking inquires on procedures to contest elections on the platform of the party.
But the leadership of ACN and LP had said while the parties were ready to welcome members from PDP, there would be no automatic ticket for anybody to contest the 2011 elections.
The National Youth Leader of ACN, Mr. Mriki Ebikibina said though the party National Executive Committee was meeting in Abuja to examines such cases, the party would welcome new members from the PDP and would only allow them to participate in the robust internal democracy existing for the nomination of candidates for election.
'We are aware of the plan by many of the aspirants of the PDP to defect into the ACN. This is confirmation of our earlier stand that the PDP lacks internal democracy and cannot take Bayelsa to the expected land of development with proper accountability.'
The Chairman of the LP, Adou Bobo also confirmed the defections, noting that there had been increase pressures and inquiries from aggrieved PDP members in the state on the procedures to be followed for the party tickets for the 2011 general elections.
He, however, noted that the party would ensure party procedures were followed, as it was not spare tyre to any party in the state.
'What I know is that the party is ready to welcome new members but the issue of tickets for elective positions is closed as the required dates for intention and procurement of nomination forms are over. We are not a spare tyre party but one dedicated to liberating the people of the state,' he said
Meanwhile, a group, Dream Bayelsa has said the entrance of Alaibe into the governorship race in Bayelsa was a welcome development 'that will allow Bayelsans a window to exercise their rights to a choice which has been on a strait jacket since the democratic dispensation began in 1999.'
The group in a statement signed by its Chairman, Amaebimowei Clarkson, a copy made available to Daily Sun noted that the 'monopolization of the political space in the state by the PDP is largely responsible for the deplorable state of development in the state.'
It stated that those with impeccable records had been forced out of the party through crude intimidation leading to general apathy among members who had the mental capability to move the state forward.
The statement reads in parts: 'The Alaibe entrance is a welcome relief to the people of the state. It will no doubt reawaken political interest in the productive segment of the society who hitherto were frustrated by the suffocating policy and antics of the government. Alaibe is a rally point for all progressives to accelerate the rather stagnated development foisted on the state by those who had managed the affairs of the state.'