By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA FRONTLINE governorship aspirants of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Chief Timi Alaibe and Pastor Keniebi Okoko have dismissed as untrue claims by the state leadership of the party of sending fake alerts to bank account of delegates in a bid to buy their votes ahead of today’s primary of the party in the state.
The state PDP Chairman, Cleopas Moses had in a statement Sunday night accused the duo of sending fake bank alerts to some delegates in a bid to buy their votes in the primary election of the party.
Both aspirants in a separate statement issued yesterday in Yenagoa dismissed the allegation as a smear campaign.
Alaibe in a statement titled “This Is No Longer Politics” signed by his campaign organisation Admin Secretary, Prof Seiyefa Brisibe, said: “We have been informed of a damning statement issued today by the Bayelsa State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Cleopas Moses, to the effect that our Principal, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe and another aspirant, Kenebi Okoko, were sending fake bank alerts to some delegates in a bid to buy their votes in the forthcoming primary election of the PDP.
“As a campaign organisation, we find it difficult to believe that this extremely criminal allegation is coming from the chairman of PDP in Bayelsa State. We assume that there is a mistake somewhere. How would any reasonable person wake up to utter this kind of evil allegation against responsible fellow human beings?
“While we allow our lawyers to study the legal implications of this irresponsible and careless allegation, we need to state that there is no truth in it whatsoever. The burden is on those making the allegation to provide evidence when the time comes.
“We believe this is dirty politics taken too far. Someone does not need to go to this extreme just to win an election. This allegation is an equivalent of bloodshed for the sake of politics and must not be ignored by those whose responsibility it is to ensure that it doesn’t happen.
“We had promised from the beginning to run a decent campaign for this race. And we have not deviated from that promise. We have been irresponsibly attacked and rubbished. But we choose to keep our sanity by focusing on the campaign and not allowing anybody to distract us. We believe that politics is a game of superior ideas and not a-do-or-die affair.
“Our Principal has been called names. His reputation has dragged in the mud by those who are bent on scoring cheap political points. Issues bordering on terrorism have been raised against him. And today, he is being accused of engaging in acts that violate both local and international laws. His silence has been misconstrued as weakness and a victory for those on the offensive.
“Let it be clear to whoever is behind this gutter politics that Timi Alaibe has an impeccable reputation both in private and public service. Accusing him of criminal activity as though it were a child’s play is unacceptable and is not going to be ignored. He has a name to protect and will not allow anybody to soil that name. The law must take its course. This is a deliberate falsehood that must be challenged.”
Also, Keniebi Okoko in a statement said he had never been associated with fraudulent acts and threatened to seek redress in court.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to a statement by the chairman of PDP in Bayelsa State, Mr. Moses Cleopas, accusing me of sending fake bank alerts to some unnamed delegates.
“As usual, we would have ignored such rambling as an attempt to portray me in a bad light in the eyes of my teeming supporters within and outside Bayelsa who are banking on me to create a new and sustainable future for this state when I become governor.
“But coming from no less a person than the chairman of our great party, the PDP, it behooves on me to respond to this grave allegation by one who ordinarily should be an umpire in this political game.
“Let it also be stated very clearly that we do not believe that the chairman is acting with the backing of our dear Governor, Seriake Dickson, whose love for the PDP and the Bayelsan people has never been in doubt. The governor we know will never support this level of impunity.
“First, as a pastor with a strong family name to defend, I have never and will never engage in this kind of act which the chairman, who has thrown all decorum to the wind, is publicly accusing me of.
“In my 13 years as a private businessman, I have never been accused of any fraudulent activity. I have built my reputation with my sweat and any attempt by anybody, including Cleopas, to smear that image will be resisted.
“If anyone is trying to hoodwink the delegates, it is Cleopas who has shown gross irresponsibly in handling the affairs of the PDP in the state.
“Our advice to him is to thoroughly search his conscience and retrace his steps where he lost his path in the interest of our party.”