Segun James in Lagos and Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Following the declaration of Senator Douye Diri as the winner of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries for Bayelsa State governorship election conducted on Tuesday night, one of the leading aspirants, Chief Timi Alaibe, has faulted the process, saying it was not in conformity with the provision of the party’s constitution.
But he urged Bayelsa people and his supporters to remain calm and focused admonishing them not to do anything that would undermine the party even when the outcome of the primaries did not represent the voice of the people.
“The delegates—whether coercively or voluntarily—have spoken even if their voices do not represent the voice of the people,” he said in a statement.
Alaibe said although he ran a clean campaign, he could not believe the depth of desperation and deadly manoeuvring that he encountered along the way, adding that he was called unprintable names and even labelled with criminal tags.
He said he was disappointed with the outcome of the exercise, but however, told his supporters to take it equanimity.
He said: “To my supporters and friends, let it be known that no one could have been more disappointed with the outcome of our governorship primary that held on Tuesday September 3 than me. I know you are awfully disappointed too. But our disappointment is certainly not that the outcome was against our wish to obtain the mandate of our great party, but because of the obviously flawed process that led to the primary.”
He stated his case: “We all know that the basis of our party is the Constitution in addition to the rules and regulations that we set for ourselves from inception in 1998 and the fact our party has become reformed. Consequently, for anything to be legitimate it must derive authority from our Constitution. Unfortunately, certain aspects of the processes of the just concluded primary election rudely violated the provisions of our Party Constitution.
“For instance, by the provisions of Section 50(1) of the Party Constitution, the authority to formulate guidelines for all matters relating to the governorship primary is vested in the NEC of the PDP. The election of Ad-Hoc delegates is one of such matters. Strangely, the panel set up to undertake this exercise simply imposed on us a list of electoral and returning officers prepared by the state officers of the party who are avowed members of the orchestrated Restoration Team. Thus, the process was deliberately handed over to the Restoration Team. Our protest was ignored.
“This issue of election of local council chairmen and councillors that were allowed to participate in the primary despite a court order was another setback. You would recall that we protested to the appropriate organs of the party. As it turned out, the national leadership of the party would seem not to have been persuaded by the strength of our argument for obedience to the supreme law of our great party. Even the powers that be in state unsuccessfully challenged the superiority of our position in court.”
Alaibe, however, said in spite of their grievances, his supporters must retain faith in the party.
“While we must put on record our disappointment with this willful disregard to our Constitution, we must take no further steps that would merely equalize the disregard for the same Constitution. In the circumstances, we express our serious reservations about the process that led to the primary for its unconstitutionality and its outcome completely unacceptable because of its illegitimacy,” he said, adding: “However; we must move on.”
Diri, a senator representing Bayelsa Central and preferred candidate of Governor Seriake Dickson, early yesterday morning emerged the party’s candidate for the November 16 governorship election.
The senator, who hails from Kolokuma/Opokuma local government, scored 561 votes to defeat his closest rival, Alaibe, who polled 365 votes.
Mr. Keniebi Okoko, a businessman and philanthropist, came third scoring 142 votes.