•Bruce, Doukpola outThe national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday met with President Goodluck Jonathan over the fate of Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva in the countdown to the governorship primary on November 19.
The meeting, which was said to have been at the instance of the President, was still on last night.
It was gathered that the parley was necessitated by the report of the primary election appeal panel headed by former Ekiti State Deputy Governor Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi.
Sources at the PDP secretariat said contrary to the expectation of some prominent members of the National Working Committee (NWC), the Olujimi-led panel cleared Sylva for the primary.
Two of the aspirants, former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Ben Murray Bruce and Francis Doukpola were reported to have been disqualified by the panel.
Bruce was said to have been dropped because of his dual citizenship (Nigeria and United States).
Doukpala was reportedly disqualified because of incomplete tax documents.
Although reasons for the party’s ambivalence over Sylva were not officially stated, reports linked the governor’s travails to a petition filed against him by a member of the party in Bayelsa State.
The petition alleged that Sylva sponsored an armed group to advance his political interests.
But Mrs. Olujimi said her panel found no ground on which to disqualify the governor as there was nothing in her panel’s finding to incriminate him.
She said the panel had submitted its report to the NWC and that the NWC was free to tinker with the report if it found it unacceptable.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali, told reporters yesterday that the NWC had received the Olujimi-led panel report but declined further comments.