Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has urged Nigerians to disregard what he described as “a sinister blackmail orchestrated by the former Managing Director òf the Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe” against his person.
The Governor said that Alaibe has been circulating a manipulated version of addresses he delivered during political meetings and other fora with the intent to blackmail him.
However, in a swift reaction, Alaibe said he was too focused on the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be distracted.
A statement by Dickson’s Special Adviser, Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as saying that the former NDDC was resorting to blackmail out of desperation to win the governorship primaries of the PDP.
The Governor said that it was absurd that Alaibe would go to the extent of manipulating audio recordings of his speeches for distribution to respected Nigerians with the intent to blackmail him.
He maintained that he regards all the aspirants including Alaibe as his brothers and friends and would not do anything to destroy any one of them.
Dickson noted that Alaibe was at liberty to play the same game that he has been playing against all the governors of the state.
He said that Nigerians and leaders of the PDP should expect more of such blackmail as the state moved closer to the September 3, 2019 party primaries.
The Governor enjoined Alaibe to focus his attention on the Bayelsa people, especially the delegates who are empowered by law to decide who should be the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP.
He posited that while he remained a major stakeholder in the governorship contest in Bayelsa as the leader of the party, it was his own right to decide who to support and vote for.
“It has come to the attention of the government that the former Managing Director òf the Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe, has been spreading manipulated audio recordings of Governor Dickson’s public utterance during meetings.
“It is curious that Alaibe would rather dissipate energy to the propagation of mischief rather than focusing attention on his gubernatorial campaigns.
“We wish to reiterate for the umpteenth time that the Governor as a major stakeholder in the issue of the governorship primaries is entitled to his own political views and decisions. That does not preclude any politician with genuine interest from testing his popularity with the delegates.
“It is important to stress also that the Governor’s decision not to reward disloyalty with the candidacy of the party is an informed decision of conviction.
“Alaibe would do well to focus on the campaigns to actualize his aspiration rather than the spreading of a campaign of calumny against a man whose name is not on the ballot.”
Alaibe, through his Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation, dismissed allegation.
In a statement by the Administrative Secretary of the campaign, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, the organisation said it would not tolerate the use of gutter language to describe its aspirant.
The statement reads: “For the records, let it be stated that we as a campaign organisation, take serious exception to the wrong use of tar-brush loaded words and gutter language to describe the person of our Principal with the intent to incite the public against him; particularly over an issue he knows absolutely nothing about. This is unacceptable.
“Neither Alaibe nor any member of his Campaign Organisation was at the meetings referred to in the public statement issued on Wednesday. If any of us has access to the recorded discussion mentioned in the public statement, such access can only be traced to the originators of the statement.
“Our focus is to conduct our campaign on issues that will lead to the development of Bayelsa State through a shred economic prosperity and not waste energy and time on commonplace matters.
“Since the beginning of the search for a successor to Dickson, and in spite of provocative and insulting statements by certain individuals and groups, including serving commissioners in the state, this is the first time we have decided to say enough is enough.
“Our silence should not be misconstrued to mean timidity, fear or any such thing. It was basically and still a measure of the respect we and our Principal have for the person and office of the Governor. Unfortunately, that respect has not been reciprocated.
“At the point of expressing interest in this race, we were enjoined by the party leadership to run a clean campaign. We have been faithful to that directive and will continue to be. This is an internal contest in which the eventual choice of the party would need the support of other contestants to win the governorship election.
“It would therefore be unhelpful to take up issues with anyone as though winning the party ticket is a matter of life and death; certainly not with the governor who is neither a contestant in the race nor expected to sponsor any of the aspirants.
“Let it be known that we are not desperate but determined to win this race, by the grace of God. We will not allow ourselves to be distracted neither shall we engage in any indecent act or sinister strategies for the sake of this race. We are too focused to be distracted.”