Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Massive protests on Thursday rocked Yenagoa, capital city of Bayelsa State as scores of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took to the roads to kick against the indiscriminate disqualification of some aspirants vying for party’s ticket for Bayelsa Central Senatorial district bye election.
The PDP Senatorial screening committee had on Wednesday disqualified former speaker and incumbent Majority leader of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon Monday Obolo Bobuo, former zonal youth leader of PDP, and former Director- General of the Bayelsa State Geographical Integrated Services (BGIS), Hon Igo Assembly Goin and former secretary to the state government, Hon Gideon Ekuewei.
The protesters armed with placards with inscriptions such “We will not accept another 8 years of incompetence been imposed on us”, “We will resist unlawful disqualification”, “Sole candidate of PDP will fail”, “Disqualifying others to favour one will destroy our party”, “ Warning: Dickson and Diri should not kill PDP” alleged that former governor Henry Seriake Dickson was arm-twisting the screening committee to disqualify other aspirants to pave the way for the emergence of former PDP state Chairman, Hon Cleopas Moses as the sole candidate.
Supporters of the party criticised Diri for not standing up as the leader of the party in the state and protect the interests of all party members.
According to investigations while Bubuo was disqualified for non-proper membership of the PDP, Ekuewei who was believed to have been promised the ticket by Diri was disqualified for not possessing a valid passport photograph on his expression of interest form and Goin disqualified for alleged low performance in the activities of the party in the state.
The aggrieved supporters of the aspirants called on the Appeal Committee of the party to cancel the results of the screening committee and allow for a free and fair election if the party is desirous to win the bye- election.
They also called on Diri not to allow himself to be hoodwinked into supporting positions at variance with his democratic principles.
However a source close to Dickson distanced the former governor from happenings in the state noting that Dickson is not a member of PDP screening committee and not the leader of the party in the state.
He explained that Dickson has no input in the running of the party affairs in the state and pleaded with aggrieved supporters of the party to be good party men.
It would be recalled that Diri had on Tuesday declared Dickson as the automatic candidate of Bayelsa West Senatorial district and inaugurated the campaign council headed by Chief Fyneman Wilson for his campaigns.