Chief Timi Alaibe
By Johnson Eze
Among the most cheering developments in Southern Nigeria in recent times is the defection of Chief Timi Alaibe, the former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and former Presidential Adviser on Amnesty program, from the All Progressive Congress, APC to the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP. Mr Alaibe left the APC with over 7000 supporters, making his defection a remarkable earthquake to the political landscape.
Alongside Chief Alaibe in taking the bold step of leaving the APC were former Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, SSG, Chief Gideon Ekeuwei, former PDP chairman in the state, Chief Rufus Abadi, and a two-time former Commissioner for Information in the state, Chief Nathan Egba. Others are ex-Chairman of Sagbama Local Government Council, Hon Barnabas Edure, former Executive Secretary, SUBEB, Barr Rhodesia Whyte, former state lawmakers including Hon Nelson Belief and over ten thousand of their supporters.
Significantly, Chief Alaibe and his group were received by Governor Seriake Dickson and the National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Uche Secondus, who was represented by the South-South Zonal Vice-chairman of the PDP, Mr. Emmanuel Ogidi, in Yenagoa.
The group expressed gratitude to the state governor for giving them a rousing public reception. In his remarks, Alaibe said: “By hosting us this way, the governor has added value to our return to the PDP. I must tell you that with this rally, pundits are ashamed because they did not believe that we were going to be received in this manner. “We left All Progressives Congress, APC, because they don’t keep to promises. You can see that their house is in chaos. “We are coming back to support you so you can continue to invest in other areas including what you have already done in the health sector like the diagnostic centre where a former president came to be diagnosed.
On his part, Dickson said: “ APC didn’t know the value of Chief Alaibe and all these wonderful political leaders. I feel sorry for them. Our brothers and friends, in the new Bayelsa State that we have been creating, we believe in brotherhood, oneness, and unity. “I keep telling everybody that the disagreement of the past belongs to the past. All the mistakes of the past belong to the past. As governor of this state and leader of our people, my concern is the future.’’
To the political watchers, the event portends unification of political forces in Glory of all Land state of Bayelsa to strengthen the ruling PDP to continue its dominance in the area-having benefitted enormously from the party with an indigene of the state, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR having been elected President under the platform. It also exhibits a homogenous resolve by key political stakeholders to continue with the ideologies of PDP in developing the state.
Without doubt, the present Administration of Bayelsa state under the leadership of Dr Seriake Dickson has performed creditably well in service delivery in the oil rich state to the admiration of many. If nothing else, one can comfortably say that among the development indices, the state is about the most advanced in terms of medical facility in Nigeria. And like we all know, health is wealth. Today, local and foreign nationals now have Bayelsa state as their preferred destination in medical tourism. Such feat has also been recorded in many other sectors in the state.
As a man with eyes on quality, It will amount to disservice to the growth and development of Bayelsa for Chief Alaibe not to identify with a system that is perceived to be advancing the fortune of the state he holds dear to his heart. Consequently, when he probably weighed the achievements of PDP vis-à-vis that of APC where they exist, like the advert of the soft drink 7up, ‘the difference is clear’. He had to quickly leave APC
With Alaibe’s return to the PDP fold and February 2020 in view when the tenure of the incumbent Gov Dickson is billed to elapse, speculation are rife that as the state looks inwards to a competent hand to continue the wonderful programs of the current administration that the former NDDC MD stand out as the most competent and experienced.
It could be recalled that Chief Alaibe as Presidential Adviser on Amnesty was saddled with the challenging task of nurturing the Demobilisation, Rehabilitating and Re-integration of the ex-combatants back into society. His immediate constituents were 20,192 warring youth who accepted the Amnesty Proclamation in 2009. He took the challenge with the zeal of priesthood. Although he held the office for about a year, he put in place a five-year framework for the efficient implementation of the Demobilisation, Demobilisation and Reintegration Program. Today, as the Federal Government reflects on some of the initial successes of this program, Timi Alaibe stands tall as the midwife of that process
Prior to this, as the Executive Director Finance and Admin, NDDC he instituted an effective and efficient governance structure that guided the management of the commission. He was instrumental in the establishment of a prudent fiscal regime that ensured efficient management of the financial resources that were allocated to the commission.
Along with his colleagues, he set in motion a coordinated response mechanism to address the short, medium and long-term challenges of the Niger Delta. These included integrated Regional Development Master Plan, Interim Action Plan for key projects in the Niger Delta States, as well as programmes for skill acquisition and re-orientation and empowerment of youths in the region. Due to his passion and dedication to ending violence in the Niger Delta region through empowerment, Timi Alaibe was on more than one occasion appointed as the interim (acting) Managing Director of NDDC, during his time at the commission before becoming a substantive Managing Director of the commission in 2007.
A seasoned banker with diverse private sector experience spanning over twenty five years as well as a prolific entrepreneur who has established and managed successful businesses which has created thousands of jobs for Nigerians across the country plus his public service experience for more than ten years, it appears he has no rival.
But with the minimum qualification of governorship candidates in the country remaining abysmally low as Secondary school certificate, there are bound to be many entrants into the race. But what is uppermost is for the stakeholder in the political process in the state to resolve to maintain high benchmark as an irreducible minimum for would be governor of the state. With that Timi Alaibe would definitely be elected Governor if he contests–a worthy reward for his long standing patriotism