The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State weekend conducted a peaceful and rancor free ward and Local government Congresses in the 105 wards and eight local government councils in the the state.
But the congresses which was largedly attended by the faction of the party loyal to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva was rejected by the faction of the party loyal to the Former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.
Niger Delta Herald gathered that the congresses which was well attended was held on Friday and Saturday with the adoption of consensus mode of election.
While the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva was reportedly absent due to official commitment outside the country, Chief David Lyon, the APC caretaker Committee/Extra ordinary convention planning Committee as Vice Chairman, South-South Zone was seen at Party secretariat at the end of the exercise.
It was also gathered that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff and security personnel were on ground to conduct a peaceful, free and fair elections. In Brass, the home council of Chief Timipre Sylva, Mr Baribote T Solomon emerged as the newly elected chairman .
The Caretaker Secretary of the APC in Bayelsa State, Comrade Alabo Martins, while confirming the conduct of the congresses on telephone adjudged it as peaceful and held in line with the party’s regulations.
He also confirmed the presence of officials of the INEC during the exercises.
However, Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu, a chieftain of the APC and member of the faction led by Hon. Ebierien Fala faulted the conduct of the congresses, describing it as a violation of a subsisting Court order before the State HIGH Court and the Court of Appeal in sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to him, the conduct of the ward and local government congresses was a clear affront to the rule of law and disrespect to the order of the court, dissociating the loyal party members from the actions of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and the suspended caretaker secretary of the Party in the state.
Frank-Oputu, who is a chieftain of the party in Southern Ijaw local Government area loyal to the faction led by Hon. Ebierien Itubor Fala called on the party leadership to sanction the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and the caretaker State Secretary of the Party, Alabo Martins over the conduct of the congresses against a subsisting Court order.
According to Frank-Oputu, “ In Bayelsa we had an interlocutory injunction subsisting. And as law abiding party members we were not part of the sham conducted and called congresses. It is shameful and unreasonable that Chief Sylva because of his ambition will go against the court order and tender his prepared lists to the national leadership. We learnt that they have arranged with some members of the national leadership to accept the illegality and money will be paid.”
“We are warning in strong terms, they should not drag Bayelsa to the repeat of what happened in Rivers and Zanfara states. I am also warning the national if they mean well for the party to sanction Sylva and his cohorts for disobeying the court and doing what no one has ever done in the history of politics in Nigeria. “
“We all know that when a committee is sent for congresses and after the congresses, Appeal committee are set up and they will visit the states for complaints submitted. And they will make the report available to the national. They will ratify that one before you go to the next level of local government congresses. And at the local government congresses, even if it is by consensus, there is going to be voice votes by the elected delegates from the ward. Because once the ward delegates are elected, they automatically become the delegates for all other congresses. But in this case, can you do ward congresses on Friday and do local government congresses on Saturday? That shows they don’t know what they are doing.”
Frank-Oputu said the punitive measure against Sylva and Alabo will clear the allegation against the party leadership that the illegal conduct of the congresses was carried out with the connivance of the National Caretaker Chairman of the Party and Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni due to gratification,” the party’s reputation is at stake and the party should redeem its image by doing the needful to those who perpetuate these illegalities.”
He called on party loyalists in the state not to be daunted by the actions of “Chief Timipre Sylva and his cohorts, the people of Bayelsa and the true progressives within the party should not be discouraged. They should be encouraged that the best is yet to come.”