From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
After two years of cold war, former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Ndutumi Alaibe, has ended his feud with Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri.
The two politicians had been long-standing associates until 2019 when they parted ways in the build up to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary. The crisis started when former governor, Seriake Dickson backed Diri to win the primary which Alaibe insisted was manipulated to edge him out.
Diri had won the primary by 561 votes, but despite overtures from some close associates to let the matter be, Alaibe proceeded to the court to challenge the outcome, even to the Supreme Court, but failed to reclaim the ticket. Diri also rejected the Olive branch Alaibe extended to him after his appeal was dismissed by the apex court, denouncing it as “half-hearted.”
Daily Sun, however, learnt that Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike recently waded into the feud and reconciled the two politicians in the bid to strengthen the PDP in Bayelsa State.
It was learnt that Wike had visited Diri at Government House, Yenagoa in company of two former deputy speakers of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara and Chibudom Nwuche, former Rivers governor, Celestine Omehia and former minister of transport, Chief Abiye Sekibo, where he prevailed on Bayelsa governor to accept Alaibe’s peace moves and end the feud between them. Diri was said to have accepted Wike’s advice and promised that should Alaibe make the reconciliatory move again, he was going to accept it.
Sources said Wike in turn implored Opara and Sekibo to speak with Alaibe on the need to end the feud in the interest of Bayelsa and the national PDP politics.
Alaibe who heeded Wike’s advice over the weekend visited Diri in Yenagoa in company of Opara and Sekibo with a mutual associate, Olice Kemenanbo from Opokuma, and state lawmakers, Tonye Isenah and Wisdom Fafi.
In a Facebook post after the visit, Alaibe confirmed that he had reconciled with Diri explaining that he found it necessary “to put an end to the ugly past, drop political differences and re-establish age-old friendship with my brother and State Governor, Douye Diri.”
Alaibe who recalled that the duo have been political partners also admitted that Diri at several times reached out to him to make peace. “Time has healed the wounds and I have chosen to do the right thing. There is no doubt that the reconciliation will surprise a lot of people, particularly some political jobbers who profited from our temporary silence. What has happened might also be misinterpreted and given various colouration by different people. But the truth is that I have chosen to listen to the voice of wisdom and re-establish a cherished relationship which politics tried to destroy.”