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He was a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission under the Goodluck Jonathan administration between 2007 and 2009. Prior to that, he had occupied the strategic position of Director of Finance and Administration in the same commission. These two positions arguably made Mr. Timi Alaibe a household name in the Niger Delta, perhaps for things he achieved than those he did not.
Those close to the Kolokuma/Okpokuma-born politician will readily confirm that Alaibe, who was also chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, has an age-long governorship ambition which he digs up from the archives every four years since 2010. He has been resolute in his pursuit of this smoldering passion to occupy the Creek Haven, as the Bayelsa Government House is called, since he resigned from the government of Jonathan where he was Special Adviser on Niger Delta. In fact, keen followers of Alaibe and his foray into the political terrain in Bayelsa would readily agree that he belongs to the most ranking among those aspiring to become the next governor.
Since Alaibe’s entry into the Bayelsa’s governorship race, he has changed political parties a couple of times. He defected from the Peoples Democratic Party and joined the Labour Party in 2010 for the contest in 2011. He had to jump ship later after that election and returned to the PDP. His romance with the PDP again came to an end in August 15, 2015 when he moved to the All Progressives Congress just to clinch the party’s ticket for the 2015 governorship poll in Bayelsa. He lost the ticket to former governor Timipre Sylva. Although he lost the primaries, Alaibe remained in the APC to team up with Sylva in the fierce election which Governor Seriake Dickson of the PDP won.
While defecting to the APC in 2015, Alaibe took the PDP to the cleaners describing it as a party of stagnation, oppression and deceit. “I have joined the APC and we are going to sweep out deceit, oppression, economic stagnation and undemocratic ways of the PDP come December 5,” the former NDDC boss had said.
But Alaibe sang a different tune with a redefined sonority where he told the same PDP family, led by incumbent Governor Dickson that the party was indeed home to him on return from his third political voyage on October 5, 2018.
“The PDP for me, as an individual, is home. My political life was defined by the PDP. My political public service, work and all the political positions that I have held were facilitated by the PDP. And for a lot of us here, it was the PDP. So for us, the PDP is home. It is a good-come-back home. The PDP is an Ijaw party. It talks on issues of restructuring. It communicates on the issues that affect the Niger Delta. That is why we are all ‘Atikulated’.
“We want to assure you that at some point in the course of our political life, just like a child will not know the richness of his mother’s soup until he tastes his neighbour’s, we have gone out there and we have tasted our neighbour’s soup, and we have made comparison and our own soup, the soup you pilot, is sweeter. And that’s why we are here,” Alaibe had said.
However, the unfolding political scenario in Bayelsa indicates that those who embraced the virtues of perseverance and resilience to cling unto the PDP and remained in it in thick and thin are not readily taken in by new refrain from the former NDDC boss.
Some political watchers in the state see this as a display of mastery at reconciling contradictions from two extremes, inspired only by his ambition to wrest the party’s ticket to deprive the household of restoration.
This school of thought believe that by his actions and frequent defections, before and during election years, Alaibe seems to portray himself as one politician who does not see a political party beyond a temporary tool for political contest.
Developments around the former NDDC boss indicate that he is working yet another tightrope in the mission to occupy the Bayelsa Government House.
The signs are ominous as the political elements are not smiling in his favour. It is the prevalent belief that Alaibe’s tendency to change political platforms remains a big river between him and the Creek Haven. How he crosses that river remains to be seen.
The media reports that he is the preferred choice of former President Goodluck Jonathan has raised concerns among other aspirants who have remained in the Restoration Team of the PDP to discreetly pursue their ambitions to succeed Governor Dickson come February 14, 2019.
Clearly, for Alaibe to make headway in the state political arrangement, observers argue, he needs the support of Dickson who controls the Restoration Team.
While no one knows the thoughts of Dickson towards the ambition of Alaibe, at least, openly, it was learnt that the former Jonathan adviser might not enjoy the support of the incumbent in his desire to get to the Government House in Yenagoa in 2020.
Ironically, media reports seem to suggest a brewing confrontation between these two powerful forces in the state politics. Definitely, if the reports are anything to go by, Alaibe might have another big hurdle to surmount this time round.
Despite, these hurdles, an aide to Alaibe, Peterson Egon, said, “Of course he is contesting and will only unveil his plans after the party has revealed its programmes and time for the primaries.”
But the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, said that the governor had no anointed candidate in the governorship poll.
He said, “The governor has always said that he will consult widely with all stakeholders on the issue of his successor because of the enormity of the decision and its possible impact on the people.
“The governor had told all aspirants to interact with the delegates who would elect the party’s candidate in a free, fair and credible election.”
Source; Punch Newspapers