By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa , Mr Moses Cleopas, has come under severe criticism after he openly accused two prominent aspirants, Mr Keniebi Okoko and Timi Alaibe, of sending fake alerts to some unnamed delegates to tomorrow’s party primaries in the state.
In a statement in Yenagoa, Okoko, a business and philanthropist, who expressed anger over what he described as the chairman’s ‘reckless’ utterances , said it was unbelievable that a man who’s supposed to be neutral in a contest as important as the primaries had become an active participant and taking sides with impunity.
Cleopas had in a statement last night accused the aspirant of sending fake bank alerts to the delegates who are currently camped in various hotels in the state pending the election tomorrow.
“My attention has been drawn to a statement by the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa, Moses Cleopas, accusing me of sending fake bank alerts to some unnamed delegates.
“As usual, we would have ignored such rambling as an attempt to tar my person and portray me in bad light in the eyes of my teeming supporters within and outside Bayelsa who are banking on me to create a new and sustainable future for this state when I become governor.
“But coming from no less a person than the chairman of our great party, the PDP, it behoves on me to respond to this grave allegation by one who ordinarily should be an umpire in this political game.
” Let it also be stated very clearly that we do not believe that the chairman is acting with the backing of our dear Governor , Seriake Dickson, whose love for the PDP and the Bayelsan people has never been in doubt. The governor we know will never support this level of impunity.
“First, as a pastor with a strong family name to defend, I have never and will never engage in this kind of act which the chairman who has thrown all decorum to the wind is publicly accusing me of.
” In my 13 years as a private businessman, I have never been accused of any fraudulent activity, unlike him that has always depended on the spoils of government to survive. I have built my reputation with my own sweat and any attempt by anybody, including Cleopas to smear that image will be resisted.
“The wicked is always afraid of their shadows. The same act which he has continuously deployed and all the illegal processes to sway delegates to his preferred candidate (s) is now backfiring.
“There is no hiding place for him and his cohorts, so they have to find someone to blame and that someone has to be Keniebi Okoko because he poses a potent threat to their devilish plots” he said.
Okoko added that it was unfortunate that a man who ordinarily should be neutral in a contest as important as the party primaries had decided to take sides with some aspirants against other governorship hopefuls in the party.
“It is obvious that this man neither has the competence nor the integrity to pilot this our great party through a smooth exercise devoid of acrimony and unnecessary bad blood.
” If anyone is trying to hoodwink the delegates, it is Cleopas who has shown gross irresponsibly in handling the affairs of the PDP in the state.
“Our advice to him is to thoroughly search his conscience and retrace his steps where he lost his path in the interest of our party.
” By his recent actions and utterances , it is obvious that Cleopas is bent on destroying our great party. We therefore call on the national leadership of the PDP to call to order this man who has taken sides in a contest in which he is supposed to be an umpire.
“He is neither fit nor proper to occupy that exalted position which he currently sits atop and is using to destroy our great party.
” Cleopas should do well not to tread this very dangerous route or he will have to explain the intimate details of his recent Lagos trip to the party and indeed Bayelsans.
“We are not surprised that the chairman has decided to toe this path. This is what happens when sudden power and influence fall on your laps. Cleopas was neither deserving nor prepared for it. He should be ashamed of himself!
” Like we stated earlier, Cleopas should be called to order by the national leadership of the PDP or he will steadily destroy this party built by the sweat of founders of this great party”.
Okoko, therefore demanded a 24-hour retraction of the statement issued by the chairman and vowed to use all legal means to clear his image if its not done within the stipulated time.
“I remain undeterred by this latest rambling of a confused man and will keep being focused on our mission to rescue Bayelsa from the pangs of poverty and backwardness in the comity of states.
” Finally, by this statement we are demanding a public apology from Cleopas which must be published in at least two national newspapers in the next 24 hours, failing which we shall explore all legal avenues available to us”, he said.