Sporadic gunshots greet Bayelsa PDP guber primary
• Court okays council officials as delegates, gives APC green light
There was palpable tension yesterday at the delegates’ screening and accreditation venue of the Bayelsa State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary as sporadic gunshots rented the air in Yenagoa. Journalists, guests and security operatives scamper for safety on the strength of unabated gunfire near the Ijaw House premises of the exercise along the Sani Abacha expressway in the capital.
Policemen, stationed within the vicinity, cocked AK 47 riffles in readiness for a battle, but the repeated cocking only added to the growing panic.
Though the reason for the ceaseless shooting could not be ascertained, but security personnel were seen approaching the troubled area with caution. The ruling party in the state had kick-started the primary at 2:00p.m. with the accreditation of delegates.
The Governor Darius Ishaku-led PDP Governorship Primary Committee, while commencing the process, assured the aspirants of a level-playing field for a credible outcome.The delegates were accredited on the alphabetical order of their local councils.
One of the 21 hopefuls, Mr. Talford Onglo, was said to have stepped down and collapsed his political camp into that of Senator Douye Diri. Besides the cordoning off of all roads leading to the accreditation centre by armed personnel, there was also heavy security presence at venue of the exercise.
As at the time of filing in this report, screening and accreditation of delegates were ongoing with voting billed for the night.Meanwhile, the Sagbama High Court sitting in Yenagoa has dismissed a suit seeking disqualification of newly elected local government officials from participating as delegates in the exercise.
The court also held that the claimants lacked the locus standi to initiate the process.Aggrieved aspirants, including former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutimi Alaibe and Chief Fred Agbedi, had approached the court to bar the ad hoc delegates from partaking in the primary.
They had argued that since the elected officials failed to satisfy the 90-day ceiling in the case of local government officials and the one-month timeframe for ad hoc delegates in line with the party’s constitution, they were not qualified as delegates for the exercise.But Justice E.G. Umukoro, in his ruling, held that the court was constrained to dismiss the issue of jurisdiction before considering the substance of the case.
Moreover, the judge gave the All Progressives Congress (APC) the go-ahead to proceed with its primary today on the direct selection mode.He had restrained the party from conducting the exercise using the direct primary mode.Justice Umukoro said the interim order, which he earlier granted, could no longer stand following the argument canvassed by the respondent.