Otiotio clinches Bayelsa APC Chairmanship position

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…faction shelves congress over court order

From Bassey Williams, Yenagoa

Barr. Dennis Otiotio has emerged as  the Bayelsa State Chairman of the All Progressive Congress(APC) at a rancour free election held at the State party secretariat in Yenagoa amidst tight security.

There was heavy security presence at the Bayelsa State Secretariat of the All Progressive Congress, APC, venue for the state congress of the party.

A detachment of combined security personnel comprising of the Department of State Security, DSS, mobile policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, ensured that there was tight security within and around the venue of the congress.

A section of the road leading to the state party secretariat located along Melford Okilo Road and other adjoining streets in the state capital were cordoned off by the security operatives while the gate to the party secretariat was manned by security operatives who screened the delegates and others entering the venue.

Accreditation and voting exercise was done simultaneously and was observed by officials of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, led by the State Administrative Secretary, while a retired Deputy Commissioner of Police, Yusuf Aurelius Adejo, from the National Headquarters of the APC. Before the election commenced most of the  opponents who contested for similar positions publicly stepped down.

According to the formal results announced by the Returning Officer,DCP(rtd) Yusuf Adejo, Chief Dennis Otiotio was elected the State Chairman of the party who defeated his rival  with a wider margin of 508 votes to eight while  Comr.Kolokolo Francis was elected  as the Vice Chairman and  a former member of the State House of Assembly, Hon.Fekoweimo Ebipadei was elected as State Secretary.

Other key officers elected includes, Hon. Doifie Ola Bukoribo,Publicity Secretary, Barr. Bipeledei Efieseimokumor, Legal Adviser, Ebimene Emmanuel , Treasurer, Mrs.Akpobasa Ebiere, Woman Leader, and Abi Morris, Welfare Secretary amongst others.

Meanwhile, the faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa State Chapter, led by former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, had cancelled its allegedly planned parallel state congress over a subsisting injunction before a Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

It would be recalled that two separate notices filed before the Court of Appeal have prevented a Bayelsa State High Court in Yenagoa presided over by Justice Iniekenimi Uzaka from proceeding with the hearing in a suit before the court stopping the APC from conducting its ward congresses in the state.

Uzaka had on July 31, the eve of the ward congresses, granted an interlocutory injunction following a motion filed by some aggrieved members of the APC in the state who sought the order of the court to halt the exercise.

He eventually adjourned the case to August 9 for continuation but when proceedings commenced, counsel to the APC, Shuaibu Aruwa informed the Judge that there were two separate notices before the appellate court seeking orders to direct the lower court to stay execution on its interlocutory order.

However, the appellate court had fixed 19th October, 2021 for hearing on the two separate notices filed by the both factions of the APC.

When our reporter visited the secretariat of the Senator Lokpobiri led faction along the Isaac Boro Expressway in Yenagoa, the venue was deserted and devoid of any activity.

When contacted for comment, the State Chairman of the Senator Lokpobiri led faction, Fala Itubo, said “how can we conduct congresses when there is a subsisting court injunction? You remember what happened in River State? We don’t want to make that same mistake.

“As for the reconciliation committee set up by our party leadership at the national level, whatever they want to do must not be about the Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, and Senator Lokpobiri alone but should involve all stakeholders of the party. I wish to appeal to all party faithfuls to remain calm.”

When contacted also, a chairmanship candidate in the Lokpobiri led camp, Chief Peres Peretu, said “we met and thought it wise not to go ahead with the congresse because of the subsisting injunction. For all I know, the other party is disobeying court order.”