As the Bayelsa State governorship election scheduled for 2016 gets closer, indications have emerged that the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has decided to dump her godson and Presidential Aide, Waripamowei Dudafa, for a former chairman of Niger-Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe.
Dudafa is Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Matters and Social Events.
This was one of the decisions reached during an emergency meeting held in Abuja last night.
The meeting was attended by some select members of Bayelsa State Council of Elders and top politicians from Kolokuma-Opokuma LGA.
Sources at the meeting said the leaders categorically told the First Lady that they were more comfortable with Timi Alaibe instead of her preferred godson, Waripamowei Dudafa, whom they claim is rather too young and lacks the experience and maturity to hold such a sensitive office.
“The First Lady at first kicked against it insisting that the choice of Dudafa is not negotiable but when the elders threatened that rather than support Dudafa, they would go back to Yenagoa to pledge their loyalty to the incumbent governor, she had to soft-pedal and pitch tent with Timi Alaibe”, a source said.
Just last week, Bayelsa Elders Consultative Forum (BECF), led by Chief Prince Abeki, had hinted that Alaibe will declare his interest in the governorship race by June, even though he is set to run under the platform of All Progressives Congress.
Alaibe, who was reputed to be one of the major financiers of OBJ’s third term bid, has been holding several nocturnal meetings with key politicians in the state, mostly from his Kolokuma-Opokuma clan.
The agenda is to support someone from Kolokuma-Opokuma to take over from Dickson. To this end, prominent politicians from KOLGA have thrown their weight behind Alaibe.
A very close ally of Alaibe said he has been meeting with some Northern APC leaders to woo them on his governorship ambition.
“Alaibe wants the APC leaders to ‘sell’ him to the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd). He is counting on his friendship with the North to return the favour he showed to them while as NDDC Chief Executive. But Alaibe is not trusted back at home because of his attachment to friends, who are mostly non-indigenes”, another source stated.
Already, there are fears and apprehension among Bayelsans that Alaibe as governor will lavish Bayelsa’s resources on his friends like he did in NDDC, rather than develop the state
The spokesperson of Bayelsa Young Professionals, Tarabina Jones-Peters, said in view of the drop in federal allocation, which has hampered the spate of developmental projects in the State, Bayelsans need a leader who will put the state first above his personal friends and personal interest.
He said, “Unfortunately, we do not see Alaibe as that kind of leader. Therefore, those who are rooting for Alaibe’s candidacy should have a re-think. Bayelsans are not happy with Alaibe because as NDDC Chief Executive, he did not do anything to develop the state.
“Instead he was busy dishing out favors and loads of money to militants and northern politicians in a bid to curry their favour to entrench his position as NDDC helmsman and to maintain his ‘good boy’ image at the national level.”
As at the time of this report, Alaibe has not denied any of the reports linking him with contesting the governorship in Bayelsa come 2016.