By Charles Kumolu
The story of the prodigal son in the holy Bible greatly underscores the importance of home in man’s voyage in life.
One of its fundamental lessons, is the primacy of a man’s home above any other place he may be in all circumstances.
The narrative as illustrated in Luke 15, 11-32, provides man the eternal window of returning home when any voyage seems no longer in his interest.
This story, which is also known as the parable of the lost sheep, largely reflected in last Friday’s return of a former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Chief Timi Alaibe, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The news of the return with prominent leaders in Bayelsa State, was symbolically the return of the lost son, who embarked on a journey.
Apart from his supporters, notable chieftains, who defected to the PDP, with him were former Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, SSG, Gideon Ekeowei, onetime Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Chief Keme Prefa, ex-Chairman of Sagbama Local Government Council, Barnabas Edure, former Executive Secretary, State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Rhodesia Whyte, and former state lawmakers including Nelson Belief. Those were not the only people.
Interestingly, even Alaibe himself aknowleged that his latest move, was a return to base. And true to the natural laws guiding such an event in the biblical times, there is more joy in Bayelsa PDP now about this move than the fact that the party is stronger today.
The development is instructive in Bayelsa given that it goes a long way to validate that the PDP is now more attractive than ever. Considering that the ex-NDDC boss was actually coming from a ruling party, leaves one with the impression that his mission is not self-serving. It is a call to a higher, deeper inclination in the interest of the people.
For Alaibe, the PDP is a familiar turf, having commenced his political journey on its platform. At the same time, he had served this country in top capacities for belonging to the party. The records are there for many to see how Alaibe served his people and Nigeria creditably and selflessly.
In fact, Alaibe had been a major player in the PDP and was at the time he left, one of its leading lights in Bayelsa, the South South and indeed, Nigeria.
Some might question why he is returning to a fold he dumped. Even if such a question may not be with malice, it is imperative to state that Alaibe left PDP when it was politically expedient. Now that he had experienced the All Progressives Congress, APC, also, it won’t be wrong to say that he has realised the platform that best serves his and his peoples’ interests. This is not to say that he switched his party as a result of selfishness. We should not lose sight of the fact that interest is the only parmanent thing in politics. Besides, every politics is local. And were he to have wished for self alone, the national, ruling platform remains a very veritable one to achieve that.
Perhaps, this is the reason he has reconnected with his root, which is a rudimentary political platform. The party’s strong presence in the state, makes it imperative that someone like Alaibe should not stand by the side or outside the fold, and watch.
His place is not on the fringes or sidelines but the mainstream where his talents would be well utilised for the state.
That is why analysts want him to see his return as an avenue to collectively work for the glory of all lands.
There is even no auspicious time for that but now, considering the efforts of Governor Seriake Dickson at developing Bayelsa. Alaibe is an asset to any development agenda in the state any day. This is one of the major reasons his presence in the PDP excites the party.
Worthy of note is the fact that the party he has returned to is a different picture from the one he left for the APC. Having undergone reforms at various organs, there is a breath of fresh air in the party.
Under its new leadership, the PDP now exemplifies how well a political party should operate in a multi-party democracy.
This is no longer a party that failed to learn from its past but one that offers every member equal opportunities to participate in the political process. If this is the case, then, Alaibe now belongs to the fold of true democracts, bringing with him his wealth of experience and exposure.
Like most steps undertaken for the common good, Alaibe is not alone in this, as Dickson should be commended for leading the party right. Had the governor not offered leadership in the PDP when it mattered most, none would have found the fold attractive. Yet, while the likes of Alaibe were leading the party, only the likes of the General, Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha held sway in their majesty.
Aside purposeful political leadership, I have no doubt that Dickson’s guardiance of the Ijaw nation was also found intereating by Alaibe.
As highlited earlier that his mission could be easily misconstrued to be driven by personal ambition, it is worth noting that the Ijaw nation has always found a way to rally its own, just as it attracts the fraternity of other ethnic groups in JIgeria, a testament to Dickson’s cosmopolitan worldview – which is also present in Alaibe’s.
The average human beign is ambitous and as such, if Alaibe is called upon to serve, it would be an honour to respond. Having used his capacity as the head of NDDC and Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme, to selflessly promote peace and development in the country, it would not be surprising seeing Alaibe respond to more callings.