By Emmanuel Obe, Yenagoa
The governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Bayelsa State ended abruptly on Tuesday when supporters of one of the main aspirants broke into the Samson Siasia Stadium venue and disrupted proceedings.
The supporters numbering more a thousand overpowered security personnel at the gate of the stadium and pushed in, as they sang party slogans in praise of their candidate. They moved towards the raised platform where members of the congress organising committee were seated to register their protest. As this was going on, a band of armed policemen surrounded one of the aspirants, Timi Alaibe, and escorted him to a safe part of the stadium.
One of the party supporters moved up stage, seized the microphone and led choruses in support of one of the aspirants, Timipre Sylva. He accused the Chairman of the congress committee, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, of compromising the electoral process and aiding the destruction of APC in Bayelsa State.
Earlier in the day, a staccato of gunshots fired outside the venue had forced a temporary break in the meeting between the organising committee and the aspirants. For several minutes, the aspirants, the committee members, delegates, media personnel and security agents in the stadium looked around to know where the shots were coming from.
Normalcy returned after the leader of the security team, AIG O. Adenaike, calmed down everyone with an assurance that the matter had been brought under control. Signs that all might not go well with the exercise showed at about midday when some aspirants alleged fraud in the process.
The accreditation of delegates was halted after some aspirants questioned its credibility. By then, it was only Brass and Ekeremor delegates that had been accredited. Timi Alaibe, Preye Aganaba and Ebitimi Amgbare, alleged that the delegates’ list had been changed and called for the outright cancellation of the entire exercise. But Sylva did not agree with them. He said his agents did not tell him of any shortcoming.
On arrival at the venue, the Chairman of the committee, Oshiomhole, went into a closed-door meeting with the aspirants. Though Oshiomhole did not brief delegates or the press about the outcome of the meeting, Sylva and Alaibe said the meeting addressed the need to perfect the electoral process to make it credible.
The only APC member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Israel Igoli, accused the organizing committee of trying to destroy APC in Bayelsa State by subverting the delegates’ list. With the disruption of proceedings, everyone left the stadium, without the committee making any statement on what to expect next about the primaries.
Nineteen aspirants were to contest the primaries.
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