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How Wike brokered peace between Diri, Alaibe after two years

It is no longer news that a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Nditumi Alaibe, and Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri, finally resolved their two-year-old cold war on January 17, courtesy of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. For many observers, the resolution was long overdue given the fact that both leaders had fallen apart in favour following unresolved political differences. Recall that Alaibe had fallen out with Diri following his loss at the “purportedly manipulated” September 3, 2019 governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Interestingly, Diri had won the primary election with 561 votes while Alaibe scored 365 votes. Following the the result, however, Alaibe rejected the outcome of the primary and pursued his case up to the Supreme Court where he lost.

Alaibe, however, extended an olive branch to Diri after exhausting his legal options. But his peace effort was rejected by Diri, who described such offer as belated. Both politicians hail from the same Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area and have been political associates for over 20 years. New Telegraph learnt that Wike played a major role in reconciling the two political gladiators. Wike was reported to have prevailed on Diri during his last week’s visit to Yenagoa, to end the cold war between him and Alaibe. A PDP source said Diri accepted Wike’s peace deal but insisted that all was left for Alaibe to embrace such a move.

The source, who craved anonymity, said: “It was clear that during the closed-door meeting between Governors Wike and Diri at the Bayelsa Government House, the reconciliation move was discussed. “Wike immediately nominated a former Deputy Speaker, Austin OkparaandformerTransportMinister, Abiye Sekibo, to meet with Alaibe and reconcile them. “Okpara and Sekibo met with Alaibe and discussed the issue.

They told Alaibe that the reconciliation was important for Bayelsa and National PDP politics and that Bayelsa was losing the clout and knowledge of politics associated with a politician like Timi Alaibe.” An indication that Wike’s reconciliation efforts succeeded emerged on Sunday, when Alaibe visited Diri at his residence in the Bayelsa State Government House, Yenagoa. Alaibe confirmed the develop-ment in a statement a few hours later, insisting that the reconciliation was achieved, after repeated interventions by mutual friends, business partners and political associates.

He said: “I finally considered it necessary to put an end to the ugly past, drop political differences, and re-establish an age-long friendship with my brother and state Governor, Douye Diri. “That happened on Sunday, January 16. Let me state here that Diri and I have come a long way. We have not only been political partners, there is a deep sense of brotherhood in our relationship. Somehow, in 2019, political differences threw a sharp knife into that bond; and as the late Chinua Achebe would say, things fell apart and the centre could no longer hold.

“But then, blood is thicker than water. We both knew that what happened was temporary. Our mutual friends decided to wade in; especially those who knew what happened and believed that Governor Diri could not be held directly responsible. “He only had favour trusted upon him. I must admit that out of a deep sense of humility and friendship, Governor Diri had, at several times, shortly after taking office, personally reached out to me. I chose to remain silent as I reviewed the situation. But all that is now history.

“Time has healed the wounds and I have chosen to do the right thing. There is no doubt that the reconciliation will surprise a lot of people, particularly some political jobbers who profited from our temporary silence. “What has happened might also be misinterpreted and given various coloration by different people.

But the truth is that I have chosen to listen to the voice of wisdom and reestablish a cherished relationship; which politics tried to destroy. “To demonstrate the sincerity of my intentions and reciprocate the same humility, which Governor Diri had displayed previously, I refused to meet him on a neutral ground. Instead, in company with close friends, I went to the governor’s official residence in Yenogoa and I was warmly welcomed by him and his team.

“I am thoroughly impressed by the sincerity displayed by the governor. So, the past is behind us. Politics has taken the backstage. Friendship and the collective interest of Bayelsa people are in the centre stage now. We are back to work together in love and unity. Join us.” In his response, Diri also confirmed the end of the cold war between him and Alaibe. He said: “A great day indeed when I received my brother, the man we call ‘Principal’, Chief Timi Alaibe, proud son of Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA of Bayelsa State. “We have been in this political journey together for over 20 years and I am glad to reunite with him for the love and development of our dear state of Bayelsa. It’s indeed new dawn! A whole new chapter has been opened as we all reflected on the past. Together, we can make that difference for our people.”

 

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