ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The Labour Party in Bayelsa barely 24 hours before the State’s governorship election as some party leaders allegedly abandoned the Labour Party governorship candidate, Udengs Eradiri, declaring support for Governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Others are reportedly rooting for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Timipre Sylva.
Already, some members of the Bayelsa executive of the Labour Party led by its financial secretary, Anthony Oboghor, and the organizing secretary, Tovie Pelesai, on Thursday announced their support for Mr. Diri.
They claimed they were representing the state executive members of the party.
It was gathered that another faction of the embattled Labour Party executive held a meeting with Mr. Sylva at his Yenagoa residence for possible endorsement.
Reacting to the development, the Forum of Labour Party Local Government Chairmen in Bayelsa accused those supporting Mr Diri of collecting N100 million to betray their party.
John Toby, the forum’s chair, told journalists they were not surprised with the development, claiming they had known some of the executive committee members as Diri’s moles in the party.
“As we predicted, these exco members went to the Governor and collected N100 million to endorse him and disown our candidate, Udengs Eradiri, in a press conference. But God has already thrown heavy confusion in their midst because, as we speak, they are fighting over the money.
“They came back and declared N50 million to others and claimed that they sent N50 million to the national headquarters of our party,” said Mr. Toby.
Mr. Toby, however, said the Labour Party national chair and other executive members denied endorsing the move or collecting such money.
“We want to alert members of the public to be wary of these characters and masquerades. They are only after their selfish interests because they view each election as an opportunity to make money from the state government,” he stated.
He claimed the same individuals diverted and shared money for Peter Obi’s presidential campaign in Bayelsa and almost sabotaged the event.
Toby urged LP supporters not to be distracted from supporting Mr. Eradiri, the party’s governorship candidate.
He said all grassroots members of the Labour Party and the Obedient Movement in Bayelsa were behind Mr. Eradiri and will emerge victorious on Saturday.
Mr. Toby added: “All grassroots members of the Labour Party hereby disown these so-called party leaders. They are on their own. We want to make it clear that no amount of sabotage and sellouts will stop the massive grassroots support already garnered by our candidate.
“Our candidate, Udengs Eradiri, has ignited the spirit of Adaka Boro in the minds of our people and they are ready to free themselves from the political stranglehold of incompetent and selfish leaders mortgaging our future and the future of our children. The people are ready to speak and they will speak with their votes against these characters.”
Labour chair in Bayelsa, Gideon Zidougha, while reacting to the developments in a telephone interview, said that even though the party’s candidate has allegedly been sidelining the executives, he has no hand in backing Messrs and Sylva.
“We have issues with the candidate of the LP who had been sidelining members of the executives. What they did by pitching their tent with a candidate of their choice lies within their powers, but I did not authorise it as chairman.
“The aggrieved members of the executive have complained of neglect and not being carried along by the candidate and I have been managing the crisis until it got to this level,” Mr. Zidougha explained.
According to him, those supporting Sylva, the APC candidate, are members of the Lamidi Apapa faction of the LP at the national level.
“We are aware that a group that claimed to be Bayelsa executives of LP came and met with the APC candidate, but they did it for money,” Mr. Zidougha explained. “The Apapa faction is not recognised by INEC and lacks the legitimacy to endorse anyone.”