BY OWEI PROSPER
BAYELSA West Elders Forum, has told the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tarline to withdraw her statements and “attendant support” for the decision of Mrs Susan Waibode Akpor-Kiridi Lokpobiri to contest the House of Representatives seat for the Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, describing it as unsatisfactory
The forum, in a statement by its Chairman, Senator J. K. Brambaifa, Co-Chairman and former Acting Governor and elected Deputy Governor, Barr. Peremobowei Ebebi and and six others, said Lokpobiri’s decision to vie for the position was a flagrant abuse of the elders and violation of the outcome of the preliminary screening exercise conducted by the forum.
The statement read: “The said elders forum expresses with great shock and total dismay as the said Mrs Susan Waibode Akpor-Kiridi Lokpobiri will have the goreds to undermine the decision of the elders. Moreso, it should be put on record that the 35% affirmative action for women does not mean that every woman is qualified to contest irrespective of whether she has the capacity and credibility to win election for the party.
“In view of the above, the forum is calling on the Honourable Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tarline to withdraw her statement and attendant support for such an inordinate ambition against the decision of the Bayelsa West Screening Committee.
“It is on record that most Nigerians have scored her performance as a Minister above board, but it surprises the elders to notice that her approach to arbitrarily advance the course of women’s 35% affirmative action is rather unwholesome, as it underplays several other variables, which are pivotal in dictating election results .
“The Honourable Minister should realize that the 35% affirmative action for women is not a blanket affirmation for all kinds of women. For any woman to benefit from this concession, she must possess election-winning qualities.”
The statement listed the qualities to include; “having good knowledge of the constituency and the people you are expecting to vote for you; must have been in active politics (seen to have worked for others); all documents’ dates and names must be consistent and in agreement with laid down norms and must have the capacity in terms of funding that can be used at the initial stage if elected to be the flag bearer.
“It is, therefore, our considered opinion that the Honourable Minister should consider all these factors and anything short of proper investigation and taking actions based on the pseudo sentiments expressed in her favour would mean denying our party the postion to the other major party in the State.”
The statement added: “In fairness to her course, we encourage you to carry out your independent investigations in line with the conditions stated above, especially, the issue of her level of familiarity with the persons and communities that make up the constituency; ask her how many communities make up the constituency.
“Honourable Minister, it is disheartening to inform you that She has not been to her community since she made up her mind to contest the election.
“Finally, winning an election is an amalgam of so many variables. Sadly, this constituecy is rather peculiar in a disadvantaged context that it is the strongest hold of the PDP because the immediate past Governor, Dickson has always exacted an overwhelming influence, which does not give room for a neophyte in politics to test the waters.
“Once again, as a mother with listening ears, it is our strong believe that you will conduct your own objective assessment and draw appropriate inferences.
“We wish to state unequivocally that Mrs Mrs Susan Waibode Akpor-Kiridi Lokpobiri does not have the capacity to make any significant impact in this Federal Constituency apart from her sinister plan to trade with the party, which has been a reoccurring decimal in Bayelsa State.”