Angry APC members protest in Bayelsa over by-elections

Crisis has hit the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) barely two months to the two senatorial by-elections scheduled for October 31, 2020.

Some aggrieved leaders of the APC from Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West senatorial districts have forwarded a petition to the Chairman, Caretaker Committee of the party against the conduct of the state’s party leader and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva.

The leaders, who belong to the APC Constitutional and Due Process Vanguard of the state chapter include Godwin Sidi, Hon Dressman, Frank Oputu (Bayelsa Central); Peter Ozobo, Ebide Brown and Moses Hitler from Bayelsa West.

The angry APC members who wrote the APC Caretaker Committee chairman through their lawyer, Mr. Rueben Egwaba and Co, accused Sylva and his supporters of plot to impose candidates on the party without consultations.

The group, in the letter, called on the Caretaker Committee chairman to stop Sylva and a few others from imposing candidates of their choice on the party to avert what they described as an impending disaster against the party in the by-elections.

They alleged that neither Sylva, who is neither from Bayelsa Central nor West, where the senatorial by-elections are scheduled to take place, was working to impose candidates, who recently defected to the APC from the People’s Democratic Party and have not even spent the requisite number of days to qualify them for nomination for elective positions.

They alleged that Sylva’s style of leadership, especially his decision to work with a few members of the State Executive Committee and select only his cronies from his senatorial district for the few slots of federal appointments, was responsible for his differences with Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and others which have factionalised the party in the state.

They stressed further that while the lingering disagreements had not been resolved, Sylva was allegedly working to impose candidates of his choice on the party without consulting leaders and stakeholders from the affected areas.

They warned that the tendency to impose those who recently defected to the party when the party’s aborted victory in the governorship election was already on sight to the exclusion of committed loyalists, who had served the party with dedication, would be counter-productive.

The aggrieved members said further that the candidates being promoted by Sylva and his group were unpopular and would weaken the party’s chances at the poll.

The group also urged the Caretaker Committee chairman to take urgent steps to intervene in the plot by Sylva to impose a former Deputy Governor of State, Chief Peremobowei Ebebi, from Ekeremor Local Government Area as the party’s candidate for Bayelsa West in violation of an existing agreement on zoning in the district irrespective of party affiliation.

According to them, violation of the long standing agreement between Ekeremor and Sagbama to share the senatorial slot and the House of Representatives seat would not be in the interest of the APC.

They stressed that fielding a candidate from Ekeremor as the party’s candidate for the Senatorial election when an Ekeremor man, Fred Agbedi, occupies the House of Reps seat would put the party in a difficult situation.

They said that the Bayelsa Central Senatorial District had the same complaints about sidelining critical and long standing members in favour of defectors from the PDP.

The group, which threatened legal action against the planned willful imposition of candidates, alleged that “the Sylva loyalists are bent on pushing this provocation through fraudulent primaries where figure will just be collated and allocated to people.”

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