By SAM JONES
YENAGOA (Sundiata Post) – Elders and stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State under the auspices of Elders Forum, have warned the national leadership of the party over the governorship ambition of Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The Elders Forum said in a petition to the party leadership that Sylva’s candidature would spell doom and jeopardise the chances of the party in the November governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The petition was signed by the Chairman of the Elders Forum, Prof. Zouworitei Indoribo; Secretary, Chief Seikeme Pigatin; spokesman, Dr. Andrew Maciver; treasurer, Chief Indoriotu Zuboebidoughawei, and financial secretary, Hon. Joseph Asper Jasper.
They also warned the party leadership against monetising the governorship ticket and expressed regret that Sylva and the former governor-elect, Chief David Lyon, who believes he has a right of first refusal and their supporters have vowed to work against the interest of each other and by extension the party.
They believe that the current political configuration in the state does not support Sylva’s candidature, particularly the rotation arrangement, adding that he does not have the appeal, attraction and followership to bring victory for APC.
They accused him of not only polarising the party, but also weakening the structures and morale of members for acting out of clannish and self-interest while pointing out it may take more than the intervention of earthly mortals to bring about a true reconciliation between him and Lyon.
The petition reads: “As elders, we have to say the truth, especially at trying times like this to save the party from a catastrophic collapse. The truth is, the current political situation in Bayelsa State does not support a Sylva candidature.
SYLVA LACK OF APPEAL AND REJECTION
“First, Chief Sylva currently does not have the appeal, attraction and followership to bring victory for APC. He has not only polarised the APC, he has also weakened the structures and morale of members for acting out of clannish and self-interest.
“Second, the people of Bayelsa will reject him because they know him. When he was governor between 2007-2012, he showed dictatorial arrogance, ran government according to his private whims and caprices and ultimately failed to develop the state. As a minister, he also failed to attract visible and verifiable development to the state. What else if not greed is fueling his ambition to return as governor after 16 years when times have apparently changed?
“Third, the people do not trust him. Chief Sylva himself said in a recent phone-in radio programme in Yenagoa that he is not going to contest for governor anymore as that chapter of his life is closed.
ROTATION ARRANGEMENT NOT FAVOURABLE TO SYLVA
“Plus, the governorship rotation arrangement among the three senatorial districts in the State has become deeply entrenched as it promotes equity and justice, unity and progress and harmonious relationships. This is the turn of the Central Senatorial District. But Chief Sylva from the East Senatorial District has stepped forward to violate it.
“By the political history of the State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (now late) from the Central Senatorial District became the first Executive Governor in 1999 and ruled till 2005 when he was removed. His deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, from the East Senatorial District took over staying on till 2007 when he was elevated to the position of Vice-President. Then, Chief Timipre Sylva also from the same East Senatorial District succeeded Jonathan as the governor, he served for five years. The Governorship, therefore, moved to the third Senatorial District, Bayelsa West. Seriake Dickson emerged and served for two terms
“With the rotation between the three senatorial districts completed in 2019, the Governorship returned to the Central. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gave its ticket to Sen.Douye Diri while our great party presented Chief David Lyon also of the Central Senatorial District. The PDP is set to return Sen.Douye Diri.
“The Central Senatorial District accounts for about 50% of the total voting population. The senatorial district suffers the pithy tale of marginalization and near-total neglect at the national level since the APC won the presidential place in 2015. It is just, equitable and perspicacious for the APC to respond in corresponding language by putting forward someone from the Central.
RESULTS OF WORKING TOGETHER
“After President Buhari was inaugurated in 2015, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri from Bayelsa West Senatorial District was appointed Minister, Prof. Nelson Brambayefa from the same Senatorial District with Sen.Lokpobiri was also appointed, acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission while Chief Timipre Sylva from the East was appointed Chairman, Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone.
“Notwithstanding the abnormally, all the stakeholders worked together in 2019 and gave President Muhammadu Buhari, 118,821 votes. APC won a Senatorial seat, two House of Representatives and five State House of Assembly constituencies. For that reason, Chief Sylva was appointed Minister of State, Petroleum Resources. Sadly, he became high-handed, orchestrated deliberate steps to factionalize, weaken party structures, and frustrate other leaders with huge support bases.
SYLVA INFLUENCING APPOINTMENTS TO CRONIES AND BLOOD RELATIVES
“He influenced the enthronement of those with consanguineous relationships and cronies into cushy positions.
“For instance, Chief Sylva is from Okpoma, Brass, Bayelsa East Senatorial District. Until his recent resignation, he was the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
“Nigeria’s Ambassador to Argentina with concurrent accreditation to the Republics of Chile, Peru and Uruguay, Philip Ikurusi is his relation from Okpoma, Brass, East Senatorial District.
“The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote is also his relation from Okpoma, Brass, East Senatorial District.
“The Vice-Chancellor, Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State Prof. Emmanuel Adigio is another of Chief Sylva’s blood relation from same community, Okpoama, East Senatorial District.
“Oyambo Peace Owei, member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board is also a relation of Sylva from the East Senatorial District.
“The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) who is Chief Sylva former Chief of Staff is also from Bayelsa East Senatorial District
“Chairman, Board of Directors Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) King Edmund Daukoru is another relation of Chief Sylva from Nembe in the Bayelsa East Senatorial District.
“Bayelsa State representative in the Federal Character Commission, Tonye Okio also hails from the East Senatorial District.
“Alfred Egba, member of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission is also connected to Chief Timipre Sylva as he is maternally from Nembe, East Senatorial District.
SYLVA’S OBESSIVE ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY
“These and Chief Sylva’s obsessive ambition which has become more of an entitlement have led Chief Sylva and David Lyon who was Governor-elect in 2019 but was stopped by the Supreme Court to be boiling with infighting. The direct consequence is that APC Bayelsa was only able to deliver a disgraceful 42, 572 votes to our presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, coming a ridiculous 3rd place after Labour Party. The party lost all three Senatorial seats. Lost four out of the five House of Representatives seats, the fifth one awaiting a re-run. Won only three State Assembly constituencies out of twenty-four.
“As things stand, the former Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and leader of the Party in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva and the former Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon who believes he has a right of first refusal and their supporters have vowed to work against the interest of each other and by extension the party. The bitter truth remains that it may take more than the intervention of earthly mortals to bring about a true reconciliation between them.
OUR CANDID ADVICE
“Therefore, out of love and for the future of the party, we hereby appeal to your esteemed national leadership to exercise utmost good faith as the outcome of the primary will determine the fate of the party. If we may offer advice, Chief David Lyon should be supported to emerge as the flag-bearer. Worst case, the party should shop for a neutral aspirant with the ability to close ranks, re-tool and deliver victory.”
Sundiata Post recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has slated the Bayelsa State governorship election to hold in November this year.