The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State reached a crescendo on Wednesday with the party governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva [image above], calling on the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, to order the immediate arrest of APC state chairman, Tiwe Oruminighe.
Recurring protests at the party secretariat, it was gathered, is the basis for the call for the arrest.
Oruminighe is believed to be the person behind the protests and Sylva has moved fast to put a stop to it.
Since Sylva named an 80 year old retired educationist, Wilberforce Igiri, as his running mate, there had been protests at the APC secretariat allegedly sponsored by Oruminighe, causing faceoff between him and the candidate.
The Bayelsa APC chairman was said to have been promised the slot of running mate by Sylva but later reneged.
According to a reliable source, Sylva’s request for the arrest of Oruminighe was contained in a letter to the IG, stating the repeated protests, destruction of properties at the party secretariat and the danger to public peace.
The party chairman was also accused of planning to further sponsor a mass protest against the candidature of Sylva, purportedly on the premise of anti-corruption protest to call for the former governor to be dropped as candidate.
Sylva has allegedly claimed in the letter that the planned protest was a plot to disturb the peace in the state
“What is playing out is normal in politics. Sylva is only engaging in power show. You recall Sylva promised Tiwe the deputy slot but why not fulfill his promise? So you can see that Tiwe is only protesting that action and it will surely continue no matter the call for arrest. His deadly boys, about 1000 armed boys, are slated for the planned protest and it will be difficult for anybody to stop it because of their leader, Tiwe,” a source disclosed.
However, supporters loyal to Tiwe have debunked Sylva’s claim, saying that the planned protest would be peaceful and mainly to call on the EFCC and President Buhari to stop the APC from fielding Sylva as candidate in the December 5governorship election in Bayelsa State.
They stated that their concern was in the interest of the party as fielding Sylva in their estimation will spell doom for the party at the polls.
Another source among Tiwe’s supporters, however, informed our reporter that the objective of the protest was also to checkmate Sylva as he was said to be “desperate” to rid Tiwe of his chairmanship of the party in the state.
“We are prepared to resist every move to short-change our chairman after all he (Tiwe) has done to support Sylva in clinching the governorship ticket”, the source claimed.
Meanwhile, a faction of APC supporters loyal to the governorship aspirant, Timi Alaibe, was said to have indicated interest in supporting the PDP candidate, the incumbent Seriake Dickson.
Sources hinted the faction told party leaders at a recent meeting that its action was necessitated by the emergence of Sylva as candidate which, it claimed, had effectively shut out other key interest groups in the race.
“Now that the APC has succumbed to Sylva, Bayelsans have a right to wonder whether this is the kind of change the party promised Nigerians. And if not, whether the welfare of Bayelsans is of no consequence? Why must the APC now seek to restore Bayelsa to a state of anarchy where warlords now have full reign?” he asked.
While awaiting the worst, Oruminighe and his supporters are believed to be on top of the protest plan to hold in Yenagoa, the state capital early next week.
Among inscriptions on their already prepared placards which our reporter saw were issues on Sylva as liability to the APC, bothering on lack of performance in his 5-year sojourn as governor, diversion of money for civil servants salaries, N300 billion World Bank Agric loan, N3 billion MDG funds, N125 billion bond wastes and a legacy of high profile debt.
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