The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has anointed former governor, Timipre Sylca, as the party’s consensus candidate for the December 5governorship election in the state, it was learnt last night. The decision was said to have been taken in Abuja after series of meetings with both Sylva and his closest rival, former NNDC boss, Timi Alaibe.
However, Alaibe was said to have bluntly rejected the decision, daring the leadership that the question of who emerges as the governorship candidate can only be settled through a transparent primary election.
A source who was at the meetings but pleaded anonymity told our correspondent last night that the decision to finally give Sylva the nod was arrived at to avoid a possible bitter outcome of going into primaries with potential of tearing the party apart ahead of the election.
The source, who is an influential APC leader from Lagos State, also informed our correspondent that Sylva’s endorsement was unanimous given his role as a leader of the party in Bayelsa State and as a way of compensating him for his commitment and loyalty to the party aside being a former governor who was seen to be more on the ground than Alaibe and the other aspirants.
As a compromise, Alaibe was offered the ministerial slot for the state, already penciled down as minister for Niger Delta Affairs, the source disclosed.
But the decision to anoint Sylva as a consensus has triggered discontent as Alaibe and his supporters have kicked against the move seen as undemocratic and injustice.
Both our source at the meeting and a close political associate of Alaibe confirmed the development, noting that Alaibe was adamant to step down for Sylva except a free and fair primary was conducted to determine the party’ candidate.
“It is true former governor Timipre Sylva was unanimously adopted as our consensus candidate and the leaders present at the meeting gave reasons for their decision. You know we have about 9 aspirants in Bayelsa but Sylva and Alaibe are those with winning potentials. However, in the judgement of our leaders, Sylva was adopted. As a compromise, they also anointed Alaibe as minister but he bluntly rejected the offer. He said they should all go to primaries. That was all happened at the last meeting in Abuja where the decision was taken”, the source said.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that Alaibe was already considering the next move which may lead to joining another party.
A source close to the politician confirmed last night that he may end up running on the platform of the Labour Party if his request for a free and fair primary was not acceded to by the APC leadership.
“Without a free and fair primary, Alaibe will likely run on the ticket of the Labour Party. He cannot be made to step down at every election and I can assure you that he may eventually defect to Labour by mobilizing his supporters to realize his ambition”, the source hinted