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PDP clears Alaibe, Jonah for Bayelsa poll

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Deputy Governor Gboribiogha John Jonah

• APC draws red line for gubernatorial aspirants
• Dickson seeks international support for election

Former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, has been cleared by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the Bayelsa State gubernatorial primary scheduled for September 3, 2019.

Alaibe was handed his clearance certificate yesterday at Wadata House, Abuja, by Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, who chaired the party’s screening committee. He will make formal declaration with the unveiling of his policy document on the ‘Blue Economy’ on August 27.

Also cleared was the deputy governor, RAdm. Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd.).

Speaking to journalists shortly after the screening, Jonah, who was the first aspirant to appear before the committee, said that he was in the race to render passionate service and to consolidate on the gains of the Restoration Administration of Governor Seriake Dickson.

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But Alaibe’s campaign organisation said its principal would recreate Bayelsa into a regenerative and sustainable economy that would thrive outside oil.

Over 20 contestants will slug it out for the PDP ticket on September 3.

In the All Progressives Congress (APC), a red line has been drawn: aspirants who are have not been financial members for up to one year may not take part in the primary, according to the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. This applies to both Bayelsa and Kogi states.

Oshiomhole, who inaugurated a 14-man screening panel led by Senator Hope Uzodinma, argued that it would be unfair to hand the flag of the party to a fresher when entrenched members were also angling for the slot.

The development may affect Frankland Briyai, who threw his hat into the Bayelsa governorship ring after resigning as Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) last week.

Meanwhile, Dickson has called on the United States Mission in Nigeria and other foreign bodies to prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security forces and other key agencies to be neutral in the November 16 governorship election in the state.

Dickson made the call yesterday while receiving the deputy chief of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, Kathleen Fitzgibbon, at Government House, Yenagoa, according to his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah.

Fitzgibbon said the delegation was in the state to ascertain the challenges that could hinder the conduct of the November 16 governorship election.

The governor thanked the U.S. and friends of Nigeria for their interest in the country’s electoral process, urging the international community to pay special attention to Bayelsa and not limit their scope to Lagos and Abuja.

He recalled the wanton destruction of lives and property as well as the unprofessional conduct of some election stakeholders in the last general election.

His words: “I know there are some challenges, and this is one of the states that have challenges during elections. Challenges of how to restrain the youths, of power, of how to support the institutions and agencies of state whose neutrality should be as clear as anything else (abound). Killings and all kinds of things take place in the name of elections.

“We know the importance of your visit. So, we call on your mission to show more support to the agencies of state, INEC and law enforcement agencies, to keep making the point about the need for neutrality, and to use your very wonderful network and access to raise this concern.”


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