Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is anxiety as the Governor Ishaku Darius-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee commences the screening of the governorship aspirants for Bayelsa State ahead of the primaries slated for September 3.
There are fears that some aspirants might be disqualified, a fallout of the power play involving different power blocs in the state chapter of the party.
Apprehension had heightened in the state chapter as the plot thickens over moves by powerful forces bent on stopping Governor Henry Seriake Dickson from installing his preferred candidate on the party.
Already a group of stakeholders under the aegis of PDP Action Group (PAG) has appealed to the national leadership of the party to adopt the principle of fairness in screening the aspirants.
PAG urged the party to thread with decorum and absolute fairness in the entire process of conducting standardised primaries that would have universal acceptance.
The group in a statement in Yenagoa signed by its president, Preye Ekeigha, said any plot to abandon fairness would send a wrong signal and cause chaos capable of negatively affecting the party’s chances in the general election.
Ekeigha asked the party to avoid divisive actions realising that the aspirants for the internal poll were many who are qualified in their own rights to govern Bayelsa State.
He said the party should not in any way undermine Governor Seriake Dickson in the entire process following his tremendous roles in sustaining the unity and successes of the party in the state, noting that without the governor’s deftness and experience, the party would have been history in the state.
He reminded the party leadership that the PDP is an opposition party at the federal level and should shun any decision that could cause disunity among its members.
Ekeigha said: “It is in this light that we admonish the screening committee to ensure due diligence but ensure that none is deliberately witch-hunted or screened out to satisfy one personal interest at the detriment of our great party.
“The committee and our great party must note that our leader and governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has worked very hard to sustain the unity and success of our dear party, therefore such tremendous and great sacrifices must be appreciated and supported to sustain our victory and unity.
“While the committee has the prerogative to screen the candidates in line with our laws and conventions, we must be mindful of such decisions that will threaten our corporate existence and collective objective at all times. We cannot mortgage our political future to the opposing party.
“Our Party must understand that as we begin the process of having a free, fair and standardised primaries that will have universal acceptance, we must thread with decorum and absolute fairness in our conduct.
“This is bearing in mind that the number of candidates are many and they are all qualified in their own right to become governors of the state.”