With the recent announcement of November 2 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the date for the election in Bayelsa and Kogi States, the race for governorship election, especially in Bayelsa has finally begun and is already heating up. One man that has been considered the main gladiator in the race to the Creek Haven Government House is Timi Alaibe. To most people and Alaibe, this is his best time. The astute administrator’s recent move back to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is said to have upset the political calculations of other aspirants including Dr. Kemela Okara, the secretary to the state government, allegedly being positioned as the PDP governorship candidate by the State Governor, Seriake Dickson.
Alaibe is considered the most eligible having contested the position severally and has been unlucky. But this time around, the pundits are tipping him to get the baton. Despite that he has not officially announced his interest to run again, Spotlight gathered that the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has done a lot of legwork to smoothen the path for him when the time for the PDP primary comes. However, he has one real powerful force to contend with for the PDP ticket: Ambassador Godknows Boladei Igali. Spotlight gathered that the 59-year-old Eniwari townsman in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State-born Igali is a hit among the Ijaw mainstream leaders and other influential figures not excluding the former President Goodluck Jonathan whom he served as Chief of Staff as Vice President and acting Chief of Staff as substantive President. It was also gathered that Igali was actively involved in the issues of the Niger Delta at the peak of the militancy crisis. During this period, former President Obasanjo tapped Igali’s negotiation skills and placed him in charge of negotiations with various militant camps following the emergence of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND. Through his engagement with the militants and other stakeholders, the 2007 general election was able to hold in spite of several threats. Moreover, tens of kidnapped expatriates were released in the Niger Delta. This resume has placed Igali at a vantage position of who will likely take the baton from Governor Dickson. Notwithstanding, Alaibe’s supporters believe that with his wide network of contacts and deep pocket, he should be able to grab the crown this time around. How this will play out will be determined in a matter of weeks.