Indications emerged on Sunday that a fresh crisis is engulfing the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State over the choice of who becomes the running mate to its governorship candiadate, Timipre Sylva.
This is said to be causing a serious controversy among party leaders and the campaign organisation and may have been responsible for why Sylva is yet to name his running mate, contrary to his earlier promised in his address after emerging as candidate to name his running mate by last Saturday.
Highly placed sources within the APC in the state informed that the matter had become so worrisome that if care was not taken, it could lead to breakaway ahead of the December 5 governorship election.
“It is now a fight to finish”, the source said.
It was gathered that the trouble with the choice of deputy governorship candidate was caused by Sylva himself who, it was said, had promised too many political associates in order to elicit their support to clinch the gubernatorial ticket during the primary election.
“Having emerged APC flag bearer, redeeming his promise became a problem. No fewer than six persons were said to have received Sylva’s promise to become his deputy and who are all jostling for the slot now. This is why it had been a herculean task for Sylva and the party’s leadership to wade through since the primary was concluded”, the source stated.
The source informed that among the lot, two names who are now “major political headaches” in the cat and mouse game of selecting a deputy, namely the APC state Chairman, Chief Tiwe Oruminighe and PDP defector, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, are somewhat implacable about the development and spoiling for war.
Sylva was said to have earlier settled for the party chairman but was dropped because of what was regarded as “pressure from Sylva’s inner circle”, warning that Oruminighe had become “too powerful”.
The fear as narrated was that if he is made the deputy governorship candidate, he could plot against Sylva in case they win the election.
Orominghe is believed to be the brain behind Sylva’s emergence using his position as state chairman to ensure that the delegates voted for him at the primary.
He was also said to be Sylva’s political godson, having served under him as Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government and also played “strategic roles” in the controversial human rights record of Sylva as governor by virtue of his leadership of a dreaded cult group.
On his part, Senator Lokpobiri, who defected from the PDP and aspired to be governor but now the Director-General of Sylva’s Campaign Organisation, was said to be keen to become running mate but may have missed out due to similar reason against the party chairman.
Lokpobiri, the source said, would have been a good choice but Sylva and his ‘inner circle” were not comfortable with him because in their estimation, he could be “cunning and too independent-minded” and alleged to be a “violent politician” who could “match Sylva violence for violence”.
As things stand in the party, the choice of who eventually becomes the deputy governorship candidate remained a jigsaw puzzle which at the end may leave the party thoroughly fragmented.
“You know politics is all about interest. Sylva played a fast one on these close associates and things may never be the same again. Mass defection may be inevitable”, the source stated.
Four other persons who were initially promised the slot but now dropped were also said to be considering their next moves since they were said to have felt betrayed by Sylva.
They were said to have claimed that the former governor no longer has a mind of his own as some elements around him now dictate who gets what and how.
It was, however, gathered from a close source to the candidate that Sylva and his core loyalists were now considering “one of their own”, a former commissioner who played active roles in policy formulation during his first term as governor to be anointed for the slot of running mate.