Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State are on warpath over alleged plot by Governor Serieke Dickson to install a senator, representing Bayelsa Central, Diri Douye, as his successor.
Daily Sun gathered yesterday that in the run-up to the November 16 governorship election, Dickson may have settled for Douye, as his preferred choice as the PDP candidate and ultimately his successor.
Sources say the development is generating ripples in the Bayelsa PDP as it has pitted the governor’s political family, the Restoration Group, against some governorship aspirants in the opposition party, who are not favourably disposed to Dickson’s succession plan.
There are 21 governorship aspirants, many of whom are said to be members of the Governor Dickson’s-led Restoration Group.
The aspirants, who are not part of the Restoration Group, which include the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, are alleging that there is no level playing field for all the contenders for the PDP ticket, ahead of the party’s governorship primary scheduled for September 3.
Incidentally, Douye, who was a member of the House of Representatives in the Eight Assembly, used to be an ally of the former NDDC boss.
Spokesman of the Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation, Philips Okolo, told Daily Sun that most of the returning officers used during the ward congress to elect ad-hoc delegates that will participate in the governorship primary, were either members or relatives of the Restoration Team.
Okolo said Alaibe and other PDP governorship aspirants, who are not members of the Restoration Team, have already petitioned the party’s Ward Congress Appeal Panel, requesting the panel to set aside the congresses held last weekend.
“Our concern is that the list of people submitted for the congress as returning officers are relations, in-laws, friends and associates of the Restoration Group.
“There are neutral people that could have been used for the exercise. That is the main concern,” he said.
Regardless, the campaign spokesman noted that they are confident the panel will upturn the ad-hoc delegates ward congress.
When Daily Sun sought to know what would be Alaibe’s next line of action, in the event that the appeal panel upholds the ad-hoc delegates ward congress, Okolo said: “We are not at that bridge yet.”
However, an aide of the governor, who declined to be named, simply told Daily Sun “we are not aware. It is a sensitive issue and the governor has never told anybody he has a preferred candidate.”
When contacted, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told Daily Sun that the party is still awaiting the report of the appeal panel before it can make any comment on the issue.
“We are waiting for the outcome of the appeal. The appeal committee has not brought its report.
“Until the committee brings its report, there is nothing I can say,” Ologbondiyan said.