Indications emerged on Sunday that the race for who picks the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the December 5 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State may have been settled between ex-governor, Timipre Sylva and former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe.
According to sources, if the arrangement sails through, Sylva will shelve his governorship ambition for Alaibe, but that will come at some huge concessions as Alaibe has allegedly offered a N5 billion cash inducement to Sylva as well as a firm commitment to ensure that the party leader becomes a minister plus nominates Alaibe’s deputy and five commissioners in his cabinet if he wins the election.
In what is said to be a secret deal, Alaibe reportedly told one of his aides that the deal concluded at a secret meeting in Port-Harcourt over the weekend involved some “significant tradeoffs”.
The source, who craved for anonymity, said the new development was arrived at as a “strategic means “of wresting power from the incumbent PDP government in Bayelsa state”.
In addition, the source claimed that Alaibe had also offered to weigh in through his top contacts to make sure that Sylva’s case at the EFCC was dropped because he has the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who would in turn talk to President Muhammadu Buhari to facilitate the ministerial position and close the EFCC trial.
But the political intrigues continued at the weekend as the Tiwe Orunimigha-led faction of the APC also endorsed Timipre Sylva as the candidate of the party for the election.
On his part, Sylva, curiously, was also said to have told Alaibe that he needed time to consult and would get back to him on his offer “very soon”.
However, it was gathered that the arrangement was already causing ripples amongst key stakeholders in the party, particularly those within the ranks of APC governorship aspirants and their supporters.
Sources hinted that other governorship aspirants have vowed to resist any kind of imposition in the party’s nomination process.
According to them, Sylva and Alaibe alone cannot guarantee victory for the APC by excluding other key stakeholders, saying they completely disagree with the deal between the two political heavyweights.
“If indeed the purported agreement between Alaibe and Sylva is true, then it means the APC has lost the election to PDP. Those of us who defected to the APC from PDP are not fools. The reason we gave for defecting was PDP’s lack of internal democracy. So I will advise Sylva not to fall for Alaibe’s antics of deception. It won’t serve a collective interest”, one of the governorship aspirants declared on Sunday.
Also, a former member of the House of Representatives, who was one of those who recently defected to the APC was blunt in his comments on the development, saying “it is preposterous to think that Alaibe is promising Sylva ministerial slot in exchange for the governorship ticket. Is he Buhari or what?
“The talk of getting former President Obasanjo to strike a deal with Buhari is a scam, a huge joke. Sylva should be careful not to fall prey to this kind of game. Evidently, Alaibe is desperate. He has never been a reliable politician but a businessman.”