June 13, 2024

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APC Dead In Bayelsa?

4 min read

John ODHE, Yenagoa

From all indications, all is not well with the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Since the main opposition party in the state was hit by a most debilitating, near-success-syndrome blow on February 13 last year, the APC in Bayelsa State has not remained the same.

Recall that the APC would have been in Creek Haven by now but for the devastating Supreme Court ruling on February 13, 2020, which upturned Chief David Lyon’s governoship election victory on the basis that his running mate, Senator Biobarakuma Eremienyo-Degi had presented false documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Consequent upon that reason, the Apex Court ruled that Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second at the governorship election be given certificate of return and be sworn-in the following day, which was February 14, as the fifth elected governor of Bayelsa state.

The effect of that mortifying court ruling is still visible in the very fabrics of the APC in Bayelsa state, thereby leaving its members in a state of topsy-turvy.

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The real negative effect of the political plague that befell the all progressives Congress in Bayelsa state came to the fore following the party’s dismal performance at the recent bye-elections for Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial Districts.

At the end of the polls, the two candidates of the APC, Chief Peremobowei Ebebi for Bayelsa West and Chief Abel Ebifemowei, Bayelsa Central were roundly defeated in a dehumanizing fashion by the ruling PDP.

After the polls, some APC faithful, out of frustration, were heard casting aspersions on the leadership of the party in the state and playing the blame game.
Some even accused Chief Timipre Sylva, leader of the party, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, who is the major, if not the only financier of the party, of allegedly selling out to the opposition.

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Shortly after their poor outing at the senatorial bye-elections, chieftains of the party in the state began to shift camp to the PDP, citing different reasons for their actions.

Just recently, scores of former top members of the APC in the state have said they dumped the party for the PDP because of the absence of internal democracy.

Speaking during their formal reception into the PDP in Yenagoa, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Venezuela and ex-Secretary to the State Government, Senator Felix Oboro, described the APC in Bayelsa as a one-man party where the leader decided everything without recourse to the opinion of other members.

He said the ‘overbearing’ attitude of the leader of the party in the state left most of them unhappy and frustrated, leaving them with no choice but to look back to the PDP, which he described as home.

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Oboro, however, noted that the leadership style of Governor Douye Diri endeared him and his followers to the party, saying they are back to join the governor to develop the state.
Also, a former commissioner for Finance, Mr. Solomon Apreala, a former Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters, Mr. Steven Diver and a former Special Adviser on Security, Chief Richard Kpodoh, all said the performance of governor Diri within one year in office, despite the numerous challenges he had contended with, attracted them back to the party, which they said was home to them.

Other APC stalwarts who have defected to the PDP in the state include, former Commissioner for Capital City Development, Zugha Kenuga, Mr. Christopher Abarowei, and a host of other top members and their supporters.
Meanwhile, despite warning by governor Douye Diri, urging members of the PDP to receive and accord the APC defectors equal party rights, some PDP faithful have continued to mock and describe them as fair weather politicians only seeking for ‘stomach infrastructure.’

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A chieftain of the PDP who fear possible query and preferred anonymity said “we know them. They are fair weather politicians who cannot endure tough times.
“We know their antecedents. They are like the catfish in the river that does not stay in a particular position because it is always in search of new water whenever rain falls.

“If they like, let them empty themselves into our party because they feel that all is now well but what l know is that they will remain second class citizens in our party because there are people who have been on ground, come rain, come sun, to ensure that the party remains afloat,” the party chieftain said.
The state secretary of the APC, Alabo Martins did not pick or return the phone calls put to him by our correspondent for comments on the state of the party in Bayelsa state.

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