A stakeholders’ meeting convened on Tuesday by the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to decide on the mode of the party’s primary election for the November 16 governorship election in the state ended in deadlock.
It was gathered that the APC state secretariat in Yenagoa, the venue of the meeting, became rowdy following outburst by some members of the state working committee against the Chairman of the party, Jothan Amos.
The meeting reportedly had critical stakeholders of the Bayelsa APC including various camps of the governorship aspirants in attendance.
A former Governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva; a former Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri and a founding member of the party, Prince Preye Aganaba were frontline governorship aspirants, who attended the meeting with their supporters.
Also in attendance were State House of Assembly and National Assembly lawmakers elected on the platform of the party.
It was gathered that no sooner had Amos introduced the meeting with remarks that the stakeholders should adopt a direct mode of primary than some of his executive members descended on him with objections.
They were said to have told Amos that his approach was wrong and against the constitution of APC insisting that before the stakeholders’ meeting, the state working committee ought to have met to decide on the agenda.
Despite the stalemate, some of Sylva’s loyalists claimed that the stakeholders harmonized and adopted the direct mode for the primary election.
The camps of Lokpobiri and Aganaba, however, said that since the meeting ended in deadlock, the mode of primaries was never discussed by the stakeholders.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, the Director-General, Heineken Lokpobiri Campaign Organisation, Warman Ogoriba, said there was no discussion on mode of primary election.
Warman said: “The meeting ended in a stalemate. The party chairman ought to have met with the state working committee members to agree on the meeting and the agenda before coming to hold the stakeholders’ meeting. But the chairman failed to do so and our constitution provides for that.
“A number of the working committee members opposed the meeting and when he came up with the issue mode of primaries, it didn’t go down well with most of the stakeholders and that is the reason the meeting ended in a stalemate. No decision was taken because majority of the stakeholders felt that the chairman’s approach was wrong”.
Also, the Chairman of Aganaba Campaign Council and former Acting Governor, Chief Nestor Binabo, said though his preferred aspirant, Preye Aganaba, was not particular about the mode of primaries, no decision was reached at the stakeholders’ meeting.
He said: “We don’t have any preferred mode in our group. Any of the elections that we do, we believe we are going to win whether direct or indirect. We know that Bayelsans want our candidate.
“But the reality is that the stakeholders’ meeting was a farce because there was no agreement at the end of the day. The chairman didn’t conduct the meeting properly. There was no state working committee meeting before the stakeholders’ meeting. It is a key point.
“The chairman cannot call a stakeholders meeting without the state working agreeing on the meeting. So, there was an argument between the chairman and the deputy chairman, other members of the working committee also confirmed that they didn’t have a meeting. So there was no basis for that meeting”.
But Amos, in his opening remarks, told party faithful that the stakeholder meeting was summoned to discuss the mode of party primaries and suggested that it should be a direct mode.
Also a member representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Preye Oseke, called on party members not to allow mode of primaries to divide them.
Oseke said: “There is no need for us to quarrel over the issue of direct or indirect primaries. We have all agreed that we have a common goal which is the fact that restoration government must go.
“As politicians, we can fight and disagree, but we know that we have a common goal. Now is a better chance and must put our house in order”.
Also, Sylva spoke on the need to remain calm and reminded the stakeholders that Bayelsa was not the only state having a governorship election adding that there was no reason for rancour.
“This not the way of the APC, something has crept into it. APC is a family. I have said it times without numbers that whoever wants to aspire, can aspire and the party is to ensure that we win in November 16th election.
“We should not start insisting on procedures. I cannot attend a meeting of party family and be insisting. This is a family meeting and you cannot be insisting. Contact your people in Kogi state, nobody called them from the National to insist on procedure. It is a simple process and should not be rancorous”.