BY SAMUEL OYADONGHA
IF reports emanating from the camp of the Court of Appeal reinstated impeached Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Peremobowei Ebebi that he would be resuming today  is anything to go by, then the state may join the ranks of states that have at one time or the other had the governor and deputy belonging to rival parties.

This is because Ebebi had since decamped from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under which platform he was jointly elected with Governor Timipre Sylva to the Labour Party.

Though Ebebi has not publicly made known his intention to reclaim his seat as efforts to get him on phone to comment on his planned return proved abortive, his close associates told Vanguard that he would storm Yenagoa today to resume office.

“Ebebi will resume office Monday or Tuesday. The relevant authorities have been served with the court ruling and the processes completed in accordance with the law,” the source said.

However the source was not categorical on whether he would move to his Government House office or still operate from his private residence as was the case in the build up to his ouster by the state House of Assembly.

Ebebi had then said he was forced to operate from his private residence as his office inside the Government House was not conducive for work and not befitting the office of a deputy governor.

But the incumbent deputy governor, Werinipre Seibarugu, had, in an interview with newsmen in his Agudama-Ekpetiama country home, weekend, insisted he remained the occupant of the office.

The state executive council had at its weekly meeting last Thursday thrown its weight behind Seibarugu by passing a vote of confidence on him as the state deputy governor just as the state House of Assembly had approached the Supreme Court for a stay of execution of the Appeal Court ruling.

Seibarugu had, on Friday, laid claim to the contentious office, stressing that though he had accepted the Court of Appeal ruling in good faith, the state government had the right to challenge the verdict which it had done.

“We are not violating the process. The Court of Appeal is a respected court. There is no other deputy governor in Bayelsa State, I remain the deputy governor. Being a law-abiding person, I accepted it (ruling) in good faith and it is also our right to appeal which we have done,” he said.

The former speaker of the state House of Assembly, who was named deputy governor in the aftermath of the ouster of Ebebi by the House, said he had been doing his work as the state number two man.

“I am doing my work on behalf of the governor,” he said, adding that he was at Agudama-Ekpetiama to monitor the voter-register displayed by INEC.

It would be recalled that the duo of Sylva and Ebebi were first elected in 2007 on the platform of the PDP. Following the nullification of their election by the state election petition tribunal, they were again re-elected in a re-run poll in May 2008.

Soon after, their relationship became frosty following suspicion arising from claims that Ebebi, a former speaker of the state legislature, was plotting to elbow out the governor.

The rift got to a head when Sylva accused Ebebi of plotting to kill him following a car bomb explosion in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The police later claimed they discovered a cache of explosives in a car parked at a hotel owned by the former deputy governor’s wife.

Their rivalry reached a climax with accusation and counter_accusation from both of them on the frosty relationship existing between them since their re-run election in 2008.

While the governor accused the erstwhile deputy of being a traitor and a greedy partner that got provoked due to his refusal to allow him allegedly dip his hands into the state coffers and sponsoring a series of protest marches against his administration in the state, the deputy governor described his relationship with his boss as that of the biblical Cain and Abel.

Ebebi had also accused the governor in a media chat of muscling him out of the government with the refusal to pay him his allowances and the overheads to run his office and the use of his aides in order to undermine his political leadership in his native Ekeremor Local Government Area.

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