News Investigators/ Less than 24 hours to the governorship election in Bayelsa State, the opposition Labour Party (LP) has been enmeshed in internal crisis allegedly instigated by the governor, Douye Diri.
Mr. Diri, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is seeking a second term in the Saturday 11th November, 2023 had allegedly doled out N100million to LP State Exco members for endorsing his candidacy.
The aggrieved faction of LP leaders in Bayelsa abandoned the LP governorship candidate, Udengs Eradiri, and openly declared support for Governor Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Others are said to be rooting for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timpre Sylva.
Already, some members of the Bayelsa Executive of LP led by its Financial Secretary, Anthony Oboghor, and the Organizing Secretary, Tovie Pelesai, have on Thursday announced their support for Mr. Diri.
They claimed that they were representing the state executive members of the party.
Another faction of the LP executive had also held a crucial meeting with Mr. Sylva, the APC candidate, at his Yenagoa residence for possible endorsement.
In its reaction to the development, the Forum of Labour Party Local Government Chairmen in Bayelsa, accused those supporting Mr. Diri of receiving N100 million to turn their backs on the party.
The forum’s Chairman, John Toby, told newsmen that they were not surprised with the development, claiming that they had known some of the executive committee members as Mr. Diri’s moles in the party.
He said: “As we predicted, these exco members went to the governor and collected N100 million to endorse him and disown our candidate, Udengs Eradiri in a press conference.
“But God has already thrown heavy confusion in their midst because as we speak they are fighting over the money.
“They came back and declared N50 million to others and claimed that they sent N50 million to the national headquarters of our party.”
Mr. Toby, however, said the LP national chairman and other executive members had denied endorsing the move or collecting such money.
“We want to alert members of the public to be wary of these characters and masquerades.
“They are only after their selfish interests because they view each election as an opportunity to make money from the state government,” he added.
Mr. Toby further alleged that the same individuals diverted and shared money meant for Peter Obi’s presidential campaign in the state and almost sabotaged the event.
He urged LP supporters not to be distracted from their support for Mr. Eradiri, the party’s governorship candidate.
He said that all grassroots members of LP and the Obidient Movement in Bayelsa were behind Mr. Eradiri and will emerge victorious on Saturday.
Also, the state chairman of LP, Gideon Zidougha, while reacting to the developments in a telephone interview, said even though party’s candidate has allegedly been sidelining the executives, he has no hand in the backing of Diri and Sylva.
“We have issues with the candidate of the LP who had been sidelining members of the executives, what they did by pitching their tent with a candidate of their choice lies within their powers but I did not authorise it as chairman.
“The aggrieved members of the executive have complained of neglect and not being carried along by the candidate and I have been managing the crisis until it got to this level,” Zidougha said.
According to him, those supporting Mr. Sylva, the APC candidate, are members of the Lamidi Apapa faction of the LP at the national level.
“We are aware that a group that claimed to be Bayelsa executive of LP came and met with the APC candidate, but they did it for money, the Apapa faction is not recognised by INEC and lacks the legitimacy to endorse anyone,” he claimed.