Monday, November 7, 2011

U.S. Wades Into Bayelsa Governorship Battle

The Moment (London)
5 November 2011

THE political crisis in President Goodluck Jonathan's home state, Bayelsa, has attracted international attention, with the United States (US) reportedly intervening in the matter.

A leading oil-producing state located in the heart of the restive Niger Delta region, Bayelsa has lately been in the news for the wrong reasons following heightening intrigues ahead of the November 19 state governorship primaries of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The intrigues had climaxed in the outgone week with the refusal of party chiefs to okay the governorship ambition of three political heavyweights.

The names of the sitting governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, former Niger Delta Development Commission chief, Chief Timi Alaibe, and showbiz mogul, Mr. Ben Bruce, were left out of the tentative list of approved candidates released a week ago.

Tension has climbed steeply in Bayelsa as all three and their supporters insist that they are still very much in the race.

Now, the U.S. Government has taken an interest in the matter, according to, a frontline Nigerian portal known for occasionally breaking big stories.

The online paper newspaper reported late Friday that the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence P. McCulley, 'in a private phone call to the President raised a concern over the internal wrangling in the state while highlighting the sensitivity/volatility of the area, as per the stability of the business interests of the United States in the Bayelsa environs.'


However, speaking on phone with The Moment On Sunday yesterday, presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, denied knowledge of Washington's intervention in the matter. 'It is highly improbable,' he said. 'It is not standard diplomatic practice for a diplomat to interfere in the internal affairs of a country.'

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