Efforts by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to reconcile aggrieved members of the party in Bayelsa State, especially front line aspirants in the party’s concluded governorship primary poll, has hit the brick wall.
It was gathered that the National Working Committee (NWC) led by Adams Oshiomhole was making frantic efforts to reunite the aspirants, who faulted the process that led to the emergence of the party’s candidate for the November 16th governorship election, Chief David Lyon.
But it was learnt that the main aspirants, especially a former Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and a founding member of the APC, Preye Aganaba, remained adamant insisting on pursuing their cases in court against the party and Lyon.
Other aspirants also complained about the alleged arrogance of the state leader of the party and Petroleum Minister, Chief Timipre Sylva, saying that the former governor was carrying on as if he would win the election without them.
One of the them, who spoke in confidence, said: “Can you believe that since the controversial emergence of David Lyon, the state leader and Lyon himself have not deemed it necessary to reach out to me?
“Arrogance has always been the reason why our party in the state lacks unity. It is not only me, I also know that they have not made efforts to reach others, who were rigged out of the primaries. They are behaving as if they can win the election without us”.
It was further learnt that Lokpobiri shunned a recent meeting between Oshiomhole’s NWC and the aggrieved aspirants and rejected reports that the grievances had been resolved following the meeting.
Lokpobiri in a statement signed by his campaign organisation’s Director, Media and Publicity, Pere Peretu, confirmed that he had nothing to do with the stakeholders’ meeting.
The statement said: “The true situation is that dissatisfied with the outcome of the party’s governorship primaries in Bayelsa state, Senator Lokpobiri headed for the court to seek redress. The matter is being handled by a competent court of justice.
“We, therefore, advise members of our Rescue Mission to remain steadfast and await the outcome of the issue in court. Senator Lokpobiri is committed to the ideals of the APC and is assured of the party’s victory in the state with him as its flag-bearer in the November 16th governorship polls in the state”.
Speaking on the stakeholders’ meeting, Aganaba said he only attended out of respect for his party insisting that his case against the party would continue at the court.
He said aspirants bought forms to contest the primaries because they believed in the promise of the national chairman of the party that he would do the right things in Bayelsa.
He said the issues were serious since they bothered the internal democracy in political parties adding there was no need to trivialize them.
“People bought forms because they trusted the chairman to do the right thing. The meeting went well. Normally if your party invites you, you go. It is not war, it is politics.
“The cardinal point of these issues is justice, free and fair primaries and internal democracy in political parties because individuals cannot aspire to be anything during any election, you have to pass through a political party.
“So, the issue of internal democracy is something that political parties should hold in highest esteem. It is not something to laugh about. So parties must make sure that they provide level-playing field to everybody. But that was not done.
“It is not something you call a meeting and start laughing about it or make it look trivial. The chairman promised he was going to do the right thing in Bayelsa because he was also a victim in 2015. That I attended the meeting out of respect, does not mean that I have conceded my position”.