Ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primary election in Bayelsa state, the state’s governor, Seriake Dickson has accused the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Timi Alaibe of employing blackmail to secure the party’s ticket.
Dickson in a statement on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei decried Alaibe’s antics.
Soriwei said: “It has come to the attention of the government that the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe, has been spreading manipulated audio recordings of Governor Dickson’s public utterance during meetings.
“It is curious that Alaibe would rather dissipate energy to the propagation of mischief rather than focusing attention on his gubernatorial campaigns.
“We wish to reiterate for the umpteenth time that the governor, as a major stakeholder in the issue of the governorship primaries, is entitled to his own political views and decisions. And that does not preclude any politician with genuine interest from testing his popularity with the delegates.
The governor’s accusations elicited a response from the Alaibe’s camp. Responding, the Administrative Secretary of Alibe’s Campaign Organisation, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, said that the organisation “took serious exception to the wrong use of tar-brush and gutter language to describe the person of our principal (Alibe) with the intent to incite the public against him; particularly over an issue he knows absolutely nothing about.
“Neither Alaibe nor any member of his Campaign Organisation was at the meetings referred to in the public statement issued on Wednesday. If any of us has access to the recorded discussion mentioned in the public statement, such access can only be traced to the originators of the statement.
“Our focus is to conduct our campaign on issues that will lead to the development of Bayelsa State through a shared economic prosperity and not waste energy and time on commonplace matters.”
Brisibe said that the campaign organisation would not continue to bear in silence all the provocative and insulting statements by certain individuals and groups against the person of Alibe and therefore, chose to say for the first time that enough is enough.
“Our silence should not be misconstrued to mean timidity, fear or any such thing. It was basically and still a measure of the respect we and our principal have for the person and office of the Governor. Unfortunately, that respect has not been reciprocated,” Brisibe said.
He added that: “At the point of expressing interest in this race, we were enjoined by the party leadership to run a clean campaign. We have been faithful to that directive and will continue to be.
“This is an internal contest in which the eventual choice of the party would need the support of other contestants to win the governorship election. It would therefore be unhelpful to take up issues with anyone as though winning the party ticket is a matter of life and death; certainly not with the governor who is neither a contestant in the race nor expected to sponsor any of the aspirants.
“Let it be known that we are not desperate but determined to win this race, by the grace of God. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted neither shall we engage in any indecent act or sinister strategies for the sake of this race. We are too focused to be distracted.