THISDAY Goofed, Governor Sylva Fires Back


As angry reactions trail the ThisDay newspaper opinion poll, the Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, has dismissed the opinion poll result published by THISDAY/IPSOS, which predicted a possible loss of the state in the governorship elections to an opposition party, as “a joke taken too far.”


According to a statement in Yenagoa by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Doifie Ola, Sylva said it was illogical for the poll organisers to have arrived at a verdict predicting the defeat of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state given the obvious conditions to the contrary.


“Bayelsa is the home state of the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and it is not likely that the president and his party would lose the governorship election in the state to an opposition party, when there is no disconnect between him and his roots.


“Jonathan was the governor of the state, who handed over to the incumbent governor to answer a call to higher responsibility. Both men belong to the same party, PDP, and they are at peace with each other and the people, as was evident in the result of the 13 January 2011 PDP presidential primary in Abuja.


“Besides, 99 per cent of all elected officials of government at the state and federal levels are members of PDP. Every observer of politics in the state knows that PDP is the only active party here. The rest are mainly renegade parties that exist on the airwaves and on the pages of newspapers.


“The decision of THISDAY/IPSOS to award a state like Bayelsa to a party that is just a few month’s old in the state, and that has virtually no structures at all levels of government here, therefore, beats every political imagination. It insults political sensibilities not only in Bayelsa, but also among all watchers of politics in Nigeria.”


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The governor submitted that the poll organised by THISDAY/IPSOS, and published in the THISADY edition of Monday, 20 March, 2011, was meant to embarrass the president because there was nothing on the ground indicating any serious opposition to PDP in Bayelsa State.


“This governorship candidate to whom the state was awarded suffers a complete lack of touch with the people. Compared to Governor Sylva who commands a solid political base, and has been widely endorsed by all active political forces in the state – President Jonathan, leaders of thought, labour, students, traditional rulers, ex-militants, youths, women, elders and founding fathers of the state, etc., this other candidate has no political base whatsoever”, the statement declared.


It stressed further that “Governor Sylva has performed creditably well on practically all imaginable spheres – health, education, infrastructure, power, agriculture, accountability, name it – in this first tenure and the Bayelsa people will sure return him for a second term. So we wonder where THISDAY/IPSOS conducted the poll that produced the result they published.”


Bayelsa State is one of the states where a Federal High Court in Abuja recently ruled that governorship elections should not hold this year because the governors were yet to complete their tenure. But the statement said even if that order were overturned, Sylva would still win the poll.


“We consider it very disgraceful that THISDAY would lend itself to this falsehood and grievous attack on the political sensibilities of Nigerians. At a time like this, when virtually every valuable institution of our democracy is under assault by various selfish interests, we would have expected THISDAY to remain a dependable ally of the people and society’s bulwark against the desecration of self-seeking men. But we are afraid, THISDAY has joined the vandals. This is unfortunate,” the statement concluded.


—Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt