Leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state led by the former Governor Timipre Sylva and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, are set to restructure the party in the state after the conduct of the ward, local and state congresses which will commence on May 2, 2018.
The conduct of the ward, local and state congresses are expected to adopt affirmative action on the amicable resolution taken among stakeholders.
The positions to be filled at the State Executive Committee of the party are expected to follow zoning. The positions are zoned according to local government councils of the state.
Already, five persons have been listed as contenders for the various positions in the state. This includes Mr. Yekini Nabena, a member of the National Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and four other members of the party in the state.
Other party members who declared their readiness to contest for the state chairmanship of the party are the incumbent acting chairman, Deacon Joseph Fafi, the one-time chairman of the Conference of Political Parties (CNPP), Hon. Sunday Frank Okputu, the former aide to Governor Timipre Sylva, Hon. Lucky Yeboa and one time state commissioner of Finance, Hon. Steven Oguola.
It was gathered that the party under the leadership of the former governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and many others have, however, met to deliberate on zoning of offices and party strengthening ahead of general elections in the state.
The meeting, held at an undisclosed location in Abuja, resolved to zone the chairmanship position to Sagbama local government. Sagbama local council is the home council of the incumbent governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson.
Also, the zoning of the position to the Sagbama local government has knocked off the ambition of the incumbent acting chairman, Deacon Joseph Fafi.
Deacon Fafi, who has received commendation for his calm and organised disposition to party affairs, lost out due to his suspicious closeness to a chieftain of the party linked with the former governor of Rivers state, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. The fear in Bayelsa APC is the alleged hijack of the party by the former Rivers governor and Transport Minister.
It was, however, gathered that among those listed as state chairman of the party, the battle is drawn between Mr. Nabena Yekini and Hon. Steven Oguola.
Sources, however, gave Yekini an edge due to his commitment and loyalty to President Muhammad Buhari, Chief Timipre Sylva and the APC.
The position of State Secretary and Publicity of the party are zoned to Ogbia and Brass local government council area respectively.
Sources at the meeting also hinted that names have been nominated to occupy such offices and are acceptable to all stakeholders of the party.
A senior party source, who pleaded anonymity, told journalists that the meeting was successful and the decisions were acceptable to all, saying: “The meeting was a success and we believe that the zoning adopted will allow for a stronger APC. We have learnt from the mistake of the past in which certain members of the party leadership became a mole.
“We are coming with a party structure that has a mixture of intellectuals and politicians. We are happy that the resolution on zoning was done amicably and without any form of bullying like in other party. ”
When contacted on the development, the duo of incumbent acting chairman, Deacon Joseph Fafi and Prince Lucky Yeboa declined to comment and pleaded for time to consult widely.
But Hon. Sunday Frank Okputu, one time chairman of the Conference of Political Parties (CNPP), while speaking on telephone, confirmed his interest in the chairmanship of the party.
According to him, his aspiration to the position of the state party chairman is based on the belief that internal party politics and rule of law, noting that the recent resolution reached by the National Executive Committee at a meeting with President Muhammad Buhari in attendance should be a yardstick for the conduct of the APC in Bayelsa.
According to him, the NEC agreed among other five resolutions that the status quo should remain on the issue of zoning to positions in state executive, “what you are seeing happening is that the decision is throwing former Governor Oshiomole to replace Chief John Oyegun. That is to maintain status quo. Am the only candidate from Southern Ijaw and the former chairman is from Southern Ijaw.
“What we are looking for in APC is a party chairman with a clear plan on how to lead the party members aright. We need to avoid what happened in the past in which the leadership depended on brigandage and failed.”