Sunday, September 06, 2015

DEC. 5 POLL: Alaibe finally joins Bayelsa guber race

At the last count, 13 persons have obtained the
expression of interest and nomination forms to vie
for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC,
ahead of the December 5 Bayelsa State governorship
election. Prominent amongst them is a former
Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development
Commission, NDDC, Mr. Timi Alaibe.

His entry into the race may have altered the equation.
It may also rattle incumbent Governor Seriake
Dickson. Sunday Vanguard was present when Alaibe
returned his expression of interest and nomination
forms to the APC National Headquarters on

Perhaps, the import of his legacies at the Niger Delta
Development Commission, NDDC, had never dawned
on him until Monday last week. On that day, his
people from Bayelsa State stormed the National
Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in
Abuja to purchase the expression of interest and
nomination forms for the governorship election in
the state for him.

As a former Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr.
Timi Alaibe spent time and deliberately articulated
programmes and polices that rubbed off positively
on the nine states of the Niger Delta.

And just when he had thought that he was done with
public service especially after his stint at the NDDC,
his people reached out to him to render more

That was exactly the message Senator John
Brambaifa, who represented Bayelsa West in the
Senate between 2003 and 2007, dropped on Monday
when he led a group of Alaibe's supporters to obtain
the expression of interest and nomination forms for
him. That message was remarkable. Candidates
seeking political offices, in most cases, wait for no
one to call them. They advertise themselves, their
wealth, rented crowd, etcetera when picking
expression of interest and nomination forms. But
here you had people who came to pick the forms for
their candidate. Smacking a nostalgic thought of how
representative democracy started in the ancient
Greek, one thing became sure of the development:
Alaibe has got a demonstrable endorsement of his
people who prefer him to Dickson and, indeed, any
other aspirant for the Bayelsa governorship.

Again, the development signposts danger for both
the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and incumbent
governor. How? Prior to now, Alaibe, Brambaifa and,
of course, many of the teeming supporters that made
it to the APC secretariat on Monday used to be in the
family of the PDP as Bayelsa was almost 100 percent
PDP. But that is not the case now. To them, change
has come and Bayelsa must embrace it. With their
exit, PDP and Dickson have been left in the cold.
Brambaifa said after obtaining the forms for Alaibe:

"We have decided to buy the forms for him and
present him to our people as the most favourable
candidate because he will be the best to take the
mantle of leadership in Bayelsa.

"APC guidelines do not stop anybody who is a
member of the party from contesting an election.
Even if you joined yesterday, you have the same right
to contest the election as somebody who joined two
years ago.

"Don't forget that Alaibe has a track record of
achievements when he was in NDDC. At that time, he
managed nine states. I don't think one state will be a
problem for him. So, we are confident that he stands
the best chance to pick the APC ticket and win the
election scheduled for December 5″.

The former senator, who is also a grassroots
politician, having previously superintended over the
affairs Sagbama Local Government Council as an
elected Chairman, also fired back at Dickson who
was quoted as calling the defectors hungry

He said: "Dickson is not a candidate of the APC and
he has a right to his opinion, but I want to assure
you that there is nobody, including Dickson himself,
who can stand the APC candidate Alaibe; there is
nobody in APC or anywhere else in an election in
Bayelsa. So, whatever he is saying, that is his own
personal opinion and that is a political statement."
Alaibe heeded the clarion call. Three days after, he
led the group to return the forms at the secretariat.

Unlike other aspirants who returned their forms in
vexing razzmatazz, the NDDC boss, on Thursday,
silently entered the APC National Secretariat to drop
the forms. But for the eagle eyed journalists who
cover the party's activities, he would have left
unnoticed. But the journalists insisted he should say
a word.

And just like Brambaifa posited on Monday, Alaibe
echoed that Bayelsans were tired of visionless

He said: "You were here when the elders of Bayelsa
came to purchase the forms, asking me to contest
the governorship of the state. In answer to that call
and following my acceptance, I have come here to
submit the expression of interest and nomination

"We as Bayelsa people are tired of accidental
leadership. We are tired of visionlessness and you
know that I come with a lot of experience, goodwill,
integrity and reputation. As one of the major oil
producing states in this country, Bayelsa has not
been able to see structured development in terms of
infrastructural development and even in terms of
environmental development as "consequence of oil

Reminded that he has always faced opposition by
some elements in his former party which forced him
to step down for Dickson in 2011, Alaibe said he was
a loyal party man who was not desperate to become
governor even though his people crave for him.
Basically, the former NDDC boss submitted that he
stepped down for the governor to show his worth,
not knowing that Bayelsa would have paid the steep
price for cluelessness and under development.

"I am a party man and that is what I have always
been. I have had cause to step down for people by
following party directives those days. So, I am a
party man but, in spite of how we try to support
them, the leopard and his skin refused to change;
you can not give what you do not have", he said.

Alaibe also dismissed the insinuation that Bayelsa
had a difficult terrain which challenged physical
development, stressing that he had built roads,
schools and shops in the state before.

"It is like talking about Netherlands, city of water,
and you can see infrastructural development. If you
know what to do, let us not use the excuse of terrain,
that is deceit, that is not the problem. How does the
excuse of terrain make you not to resolve the
drainage problem in Yenagoa town?

"How does the excuse of terrain make you not to
clear refuse? It is leadership we are talking about,
leadership with vision, leadership that gives
direction, leadership that knows critical issues of
infrastructural development and empowerment,
leadership that connects with the people, that is what
is absent and that is what we want to fix", he said.

Meanwhile, the APC governorship primary election
has been slated for September 19 just as the
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,
has scheduled the election for December 5. It is left
to be seen what the days would bring forth. But then,
Bayelsans appear to have chosen change against
ineptitude and godfatherism.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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