Guber aspirant: We’ll not be distracted
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
A battle of attrition is raging between the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, and a Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Bayelsa State Governorship Aspirant and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe.
The bone of contention is an alleged manipulation of Governor Dickson’s speeches for political benefits by Alibe
The Governor accused Alaibe of circulating “cynically manipulated” audio versions of addresses he delivered at political meetings to respected Nigerians with the intention to blackmail him and win the gubernatorial primaries of the PDP at all costs.
However, Alaibe has denied this allegation which he described as a surprised and unwarranted attack from the governor’s camp to distract him from running a clean gubernatorial election campaign.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, accused the former NDDC boss of resorting to blackmail to win the gubernatorial primaries of the PDP at all costs, adding that the governor regarded all the aspirants, including Alaibe, as his brothers and friends and would not do anything to destroy any one of them politically.
Soriwei said that Alibe’s desperate resort to mudsling was unnecessary because only one governorship candidate would emerge from the 21 aspirants to fly the PDP’s flag in the oncoming governorship election in the state.
Soriwei said: “It has come to the attention of the government that the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe, has been spreading manipulated audio recordings of Governor Dickson’s public utterance during meetings.
“It is curious that Alaibe would rather dissipate energy to the propagation of mischief rather than focusing attention on his gubernatorial campaigns.
“We wish to reiterate for the umpteenth time that the governor, as a major stakeholder in the issue of the governorship primaries, is entitled to his own political views and decisions. And that does not preclude any politician with genuine interest from testing his popularity with the delegates.
A response from Alibe’s political camp, which was given by the Administrative Secretary of Alibe’s Campaign Organisation, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, said that the organisation “took serious exception to the wrong use of tar-brush and gutter language to describe the person of our principal (Alibe) with the intent to incite the public against him; particularly over an issue he knows absolutely nothing about.
“Neither Alaibe nor any member of his Campaign Organisation was at the meetings referred to in the public statement issued on Wednesday. If any of us has access to the recorded discussion mentioned in the public statement, such access can only be traced to the originators of the statement.
“Our focus is to conduct our campaign on issues that will lead to the development of Bayelsa State through a shared economic prosperity and not waste energy and time on commonplace matters.”
Brisibe said that the campaign organisation would not continue to bear in silence all the provocative and insulting statements by certain individuals and groups against the person of Alibe and therefore, chose to say for the first time that enough is enough.
“Our silence should not be misconstrued to mean timidity, fear or any such thing. It was basically and still a measure of the respect we and our principal have for the person and office of the Governor. Unfortunately, that respect has not been reciprocated,” Brisibe said.
He added that: “At the point of expressing interest in this race, we were enjoined by the party leadership to run a clean campaign. We have been faithful to that directive and will continue to be.
“This is an internal contest in which the eventual choice of the party would need the support of other contestants to win the governorship election. It would therefore be unhelpful to take up issues with anyone as though winning the party ticket is a matter of life and death; certainly not with the governor who is neither a contestant in the race nor expected to sponsor any of the aspirants.
“Let it be known that we are not desperate but determined to win this race, by the grace of God. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted neither shall we engage in any indecent act or sinister strategies for the sake of this race. We are too focused to be distracted”