Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson-led Restoration Group has outwitted the camps of other governorship aspirants in the state during ward congresses held to elect delegates that will eventually nominate the governorship candidate.
Governorship election is will hold in the state in November, but that is after a primary election which is due next month. The Restoration Group is a caucus within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
The camps who failed to impress include that of former Managing Director of the Nigerian Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe. The just-concluded PDP ward delegate congresses held on Saturday.
It was gathered that Dickson’s caucus proved that it was in control of the structures of the party in the state by ensuring that almost all the ad-hoc delegates elected from the congresses belonged to the camp.
A stalwart of PDP, who spoke in confidence, said the results of the congresses showed the massive presence of the restoration team in PDP and at the grassroots of the state.
The source said that members of the Governor David Umahi-led Ward congress committee and other party officials were surprised that aspirants outside the restoration group could not stand the influence of Dickson’s caucus.
The source said: “The routing of Alaibe and other aspirants was such that they did not even have people to engage their major opponents. In fact there is no other tendency in Bayelsa that has the capacity to engage the Restoration Team in a contest at the Ward or State or Local Government level.
“They didn’t have people in every ward to stand up for them. It was resounding victory for the Restoration Team all the way, and that shocked everybody contrary to the brazen propaganda and attempt to create the wrong impression. Panel members and observers were shocked that when the time for the confrontation came, they were nowhere to be found.”
It was learnt that Alaibe could only parade some stakeholders who defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP in November last year.
The party leaders in Alaibe’s camp are Chief Rufus Abadi, a former Chairman of the APC, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe; Senatorial Candidate of the Action Democratic Congress (ADC) for Bayelsa East in the last general election, Sen. Barigha Amange, and Chief Barnabas Edure.
The source said: “The outcome of the congress has further reinforced the reality in the Bayelsa politics that the Restoration Team is the most politically combat ready, formidable, resilient body with an intimidating presence across the state.
“The Restoration Team which prosecuted and won all the political contests for the PDP controls 18 out of the 19 PDP Assembly members of the 24 member House òf Assembly, two out of three Senators and three out of the five members of House òf Representatives in the state.
“What has happened with this congress should give you an insight into the current state of the politics of Bayelsa. No group can defeat the Restoration Team, not even the Federal backed APC let alone a small tendency within the PDP
“We were all shocked that at the point of confrontation, that the Alaibe and King Turner Group fizzled out because they lacked the physical presence and the capacity to engage the Restoration Team.”
It was also gathered that the King AJ Turner Group, which aligned with Alaibe against the Restoration Group lost out completely and was planning a petition against the process.
The source added: “A number of factors were responsible for the dismal outing of the Alaibe group in spite of the propaganda and deliberate ploy to misinform the public of its non-existing political strength.
“With what has happened, it will be clear that contrary to the names that Timi Alaibe is dropping, contrary to the propaganda, he has no grassroots presence, no grassroot structures, outside of Governor Dickson and the Restoration Team.
“Alaibe has never been a candidate in any election. At best, he is an untested political quantity who has not been a candidate in an election. His strategy has been to fight an incumbent governor. All he has been doing is fighting within a party against an incumbent governor.”