The crisis in the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress deepened on Saturday, with the party announcing the indefinite suspension of its governorship candidate in the December 5 election, Timipre Sylva, and four others for alleged anti-party conducts and other reasons.
The four are Joseph Fafi, the party’s senatorial vice chairman central zone; Fortune Panebi, publicity secretary; Tonye Okio, organizing secretary; and Edison Sogwe – for allegedly conniving with Mr. Sylva, a former governor of the state, to destabilize the party.
A statement jointly signed by the APC chairman in the state, Timipa Orunimighe and secretary, Daniel Marlin, said the decision to suspend the five was taken at an emergency state executive meeting of the party after due consultations with its senior officials and elders in the state.
Mr. Panebi had on Friday announced the suspension of Messrs. Orunimighe and Marlin as well as the deputy state chairman of the party, Eddy Julius, for alleged misconduct and embezzlement.
“The Bayelsa State Chapter of the party this day, therefore has placed the aforementioned individuals on an indefinite suspension pending the conclusion of the investigations,” he said.
Messrs. Orunimighe and Marlin, said they “took the painful but necessary decisions to suspend our guber’ flag bearer in the 2015 elections, Chief Timipre Sylva,” pending the investigation of the cases brought against him, including anti-party activities, attempt to form a parallel executive committee in the state and corruption.
On anti-party conducts, the party said, “We have it on good record Timipre Sylva, last week Tuesday precisely, paid a clandestine visit to one of the south-south Governors of the PDP; this is just one of the series of correspondences between them and we find it grossly unbecoming.
It said the action of the former governor was in direct breach of Article 21 under ‘Offences’ in the party constitution which states in section 2, ‘Anti-Party activities or any conduct, which is likely to embarrass or have adverse effect on the party or bring the party into hatred, contempt, ridicule or disrepute’ is punishable.
It also said by trying to form a parallel executive committee, Mr. Sylva’s action “is in complete defiance of Article 21, under offences which states, ‘Factionalization or creating parallel party organs at any level’ is punishable by the extremists of means.”
The party said the former governor’s “antics betrays the present posture of Buhari’s regime which has cardinal virtues of honesty, sincerity and transparency.”
It also accused Mr, Sylva of engaging in corruption, indiscipline and trading of political offices.
“We find it deeply embarrassing his relentless efforts to commercialize political offices,” it said.
“Worse still, is that, members of the opposition who vehemently stood against the change ideal and still do not believe in our party’s course are with him on the bargaining table.
“This is not in fidelity with the party’s constitution which states in Article 21, section 1, subsection 3 of the party constitution.”
The party said it tried to advise Mr. Sylva on the dangers of his behaviours to no avail.
“We have tried on countless occasions to advise him on the dangers of his untoward behaviours, but each time we are faced with threats and insults,” the statement said.
“The party will not tolerate acts of Indiscipline from anyone no matter how highly placed the individual.”
The APC explained that Mr. Sylva was suspended in order “to save the image of the party and restore confidence among members,” adding that the committee that would investigate the allegations against the former governor and “his cronies” would be inaugurated next week.
It said following a motion moved by its vice chairman of the Bayelsa East Senatorial District of the APC, Elder Alagoa and seconded by Mr. Daniel, an indefinite suspension was slammed on the four members who allegedly connived with Mr. Sylva and publishing an illegal statement on behalf of the party.
The party called the attention of its members and the public to a letter circulating in the social media purporting to suspend key leaders of the party, saying “It’s a classic case of an “APRIL FOOLS DAY” joke.”
While invoking Article 21 (d) of its constitution, they argued that only the national executive committee could suspend the chairman on the recommendation of the Zonal (South South) executive committee.
“Party members should also go about their lawful party activities as the state chairman has made adequate provision with the law enforcement agencies in the state to secure the party secretariat,” it said.
Repeated efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to reach Mr. Sylva were not successful.