The leadership crisis rocking Bayelsa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reportedly escalated despite efforts by the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and former president, Goodluck Jonathan to broker peace ahead of the crucial December 5 governorship election.
PDP national leadership had sought to broker peace between Governor Seriake Dickson, who has struggled to rally the state party members to support his second term bid, and the suspended and expelled party’s State Working Committee (SWC) led by Col. Sam Inokoba (rtd).
Reports emerging from Bayelsa indicate that PDP leaders have continued to squabble since the party’s BoT Acting Chairman, Dr. Haliru Mohammed led a mediation team to resolve the protracted crisis on August 1.
The BOT reconciliation team, had during the meeting held at Jonathan’s courtyard at Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area, lifted the suspension and expulsion of the party’s leaders by the State Working Committee (SWC) and urged aggrieved party members to unite and work for the party’s victory at the election.
However, soon after the meeting ended, Governor Seriake Dickson’s camp and other aggrieved leaders engaged each other in a war of words. Tempers reportedly flared up again when Governor Dickson, through his Political Adviser, Mr. Fyneman Wilson, claimed that PDP’s embattled State Chairman, Col. Sam Inokoba (rtd), initially suspended by the SWC, was not among those reinstated by the BoT.
According to Mr. Wilson, the suspended state party chairman, Inokoba was advised by the BoT team and Jonathan to resign since his suspension was based on an alleged diversion of N40 million campaign fund. But PDP members, under the aegis of the Bayelsa Great House (BGH), on Sunday claimed that the Dickson’s camp lied, insisting that the BoT reinstated Inokoba as the substantive chairman.
BGH Chairman Ebinimi Owei and Secretary Victor Woyinkuro, who spoke in Yenagoa, described the statement credited to Wilson as a cheap political gimmick, insisting that there was no time any member of the BoT and Jonathan asked Inokoba to resign. “Bayelsans are all aware of the various acknowledgements, recognition and respect accorded Inokoba as one of the founding fathers of the party and as a focused leader. No wonder the National Working Committee (NWC) said he remains the substantive chairman, despite the illegality of the SWC,” Owei claimed.
“After the decision of the BoT, reinstating suspended and expelled members, the SWC issued a statement, claiming that the action of the BoT was subject to the ratification of the SWC. Which is superior: the BoT or the SWC? He queried.
Owei went further: “This simply shows the lawlessness of the present administration, the absence of the rule of law and the kind of persons running the affairs of the state.”
Owei recalled that during a meeting at the Government House on July 30, Dickson allegedly apologised and confessed to Inokoba that he (governor) was aware that Inokoba did not divert any money.
He said the governor blamed the allegation against Inokoba on sycophants in his administration, adding that PDP’s Acting National Chairman Uche Secondus and its national secretary were at the meeting.
By Olisemeka Obeche