Alleged N100m endorsement of Gov. Diri tears Bayelsa LP apart


By Nathan Nwakamma

Crisis has hit the Labour Party (LP) in Bayelsa barely 24 hours to the governorship election in the state.

Some of the party leaders are said to have abandoned the LP governorship candidate, Mr Udengs Eradiri, and openly declared support for Gov. Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Others are said to be rooting for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief Timpre Sylva.

Already, some members of the Bayelsa Executive of LP led by its Financial Secretary, Chief Anthony Oboghor, and the Organizing Secretary, Chief Tovie Pelesai, have on Thursday announced their support for Diri.

They claimed that they were representing the state executive members of the party.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that another faction of the LP executive had also held a crucial meeting with Sylva, the APC candidate at his Yenagoa residence for possible endorsement.

In its reaction to the development, the Forum of Labour Party Local Government Chairmen in Bayelsa, accused those supporting Diri of receiving N100 million to turn their backs on the party.

Mr John Toby, the forum’s Chairman, told newsmen that they were not surprised with the development, claiming that they had known some of the executive committee members as Diri’s moles in the party.

He said:”As we predicted, these exco members went to the Governor and collected N100 million to endorse him and disown our candidate, Udengs Eradiri in a press conference.

“But God has already thrown heavy confusion in their midst because as we speak they are fighting over the money.

“They came back and declared N50 million to others and claimed that they sent N50 million to the national headquarters of our party.”

Toby however said the LP national chairman and  other executive members had denied endorsing the move or collecting such money.

“We want to alert members of the public to be wary of these characters and masqueraders.

“They are only after their selfish interests because they view each election as an opportunity to make money from the state government,” he added.

He claimed that the same individuals diverted and shared money meant for Peter Obi’s presidential campaign in the state and almost sabotaged the event.

Toby urged LP supporters not to be distracted from their support for Eradiri, the party’s governorship candidate.

He said that all grassroots members of LP and the Obedient Movement in Bayelsa were behind Eradiri and will emerge victorious on Saturday.

“All grassroots members of LP hereby disown these so-called party leaders. They are on their own.

“We want to make it clear that no amount of sabotage and sellout will stop the massive grassroots support already garnered by our candidate.

“Our candidate, Udengs Eradiri, has ignited the spirit of Adaka Boro in the minds of our people and they are ready to free themselves from the political stranglehold of incompetent and selfish leaders mortgaging our future and the future of our children.

“The people are ready to speak and they will speak with their votes against these characters,” Toby added.

Also, the state Chairman of LP, Mr Gideon Zidougha, while reacting to the developments in a telephone interview, said even though party’s candidate has allegedly been sidelining the executives, he has no hand in the backing of Diri and Sylva.

“We have issues with the candidate of the LP who had been sidelining members of the executives, what they did by pitching their tent with a candidate of their  choice lies within their powers but I did not authorise it as Chairman.

“The aggrieved members of the executive have complained of neglect and not being carried along by the candidate and I have been managing the crisis until it got to this level,” Zidougha said.

According to him, those supporting Sylva, the APC candidate, are members of the Lamidi Apapa faction of the LP at the national level.

“We are aware that a group that claimed to be Bayelsa executive of LP came and met with the APC candidate, but they did it for money, the Apapa faction is not recognised by INEC and lacks the legitimacy tó endorse anyone,” he claimed. (NAN)