5th February, 2012
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Chief Timipre Sylva, sacked last week as Governor of Bayelsa State by the Nigerian Supreme Court, has debunked statements credited to the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally on Friday, 03 February in Yenagoa,accusing him of lying against him.
The ex-Governor referred to President Jonathan’s comments on the stoning incident in Yenagoa that the President watched with pleasure and the Tower Hotel project in Yenagoa that was conceptualised by the Government of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, which Jonathan took over as Governor of Bayelsa State and passed on to Sylva as Governor.
Sylva alleged that the stoning in Yenagoa which happened during the president’s visit was widely believed to have been arranged by a few misguided elements, who with Jonathan’s backing, had used the presidential security to subvert the security of the state on purpose to embarrass Governor Sylva. He further claimed Sponsors of the incident had tried to deny their involvement and present the event as indicative of the governor’s non-performance.
According to Sylva the world now knows better, of course. “Everyone is now perfectly well aware of the mastermind of that insult on the Ijaw nation.
But let us state that it was not the governor who was disgraced by the stoning. Instead, it was the president himself”.
The embattled ex-Governor asks that if stoning is a yardstick for non-performance, are we also right to say that the burning down of Mr. President’s house in 2007, in the run-up to that year’s general elections, was also an act of rejection by the people of the state?
Sylva in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary,Mr. Doifie Ola, claims a lot of people believed that the burning of his house and the action of militants in 2007 were an expression of rejection.I asked if Mr. President now confirming that wide belief?
In addition, can we also say that the stoning of President Jonathan in May last year in Uganda was a global act of rejection?
Besides, he was after the stoning incident in Yenagoa in late 2010 that Mr. President came back to Yenagoa, raised the hand of Sylva, and spoke glowingly about his achievements, saying he has performed excellently well and that the people of Bayelsa should vote him into office. It was after the stoning that he came back and voted in the January 2011 PDP governorship primaries and gave a glowing report of Sylva’s performance.
The ex-Governor wants to know what suddenly changed from January 2011 to later that year when President Jonathan manipulated all the institutions of state, including the armed and security forces, the judiciary and critical organs of democracy like the political parties, in full cry, leaving the security and economic challenges which he faced, to embark on OPERATION REMOVE SYLVA as the sole mandate which the people of Nigeria gave to him?
He asked if Jonathan didn’t know there was a stoning incident when he came to say Governor Sylva should be voted in January?
“President Jonathan also in his speech described the Tower Hotel, Yenagoa, as “a monument of disgrace,” insinuating that the edifice is still at the stage he left it as governor. This is a barefaced lie and a misrepresentation of open facts”.
Sylva clarifies that the hotel was at the second floor when he took over from Dr. Jonathan as governor. It is now at its 18th floor, as the whole world can see. Sylva agrees that the job has been delayed, but explains that the reason it has been delayed is because the contractor, whom Dr. Jonathan himself chose and awarded the contract to, asked for a variation of N5 billion.
He asked Jonathan to tell the world how much he paid this contractor and how much Sylva has paid the contractor. And we are aware that this same contractor is not building a house for Sylva in his village.
Far more than Jonathan’s tenure, Sylva has performed given the challenges he faced.
It is unfortunate that President Jonathan could have such a disgraceful outing last Friday.
The ex-Governor argues that at a time when it was being widely suspected that he might be involved in the questionable acts around the Bayelsa State governorship contest, his outing on Friday, 03 February, has conclusively proven that all along, he has been behind all the shenanigans in Bayelsa State deliberately to destabilise the state for his own selfish interest.
Nigerians expected President Jonathan to tackle security, unemployment, power, critical infrastructure, etc.
They never expected him to manipulate democracy for his strange motives. What all these show clearly is that the exclusion of Sylva from the primaries of November last year was based on nothing other than President Jonathan’s inordinate whims. The event of last Friday confirms once again that Sylva has not committed any offence known to the PDP constitution or the Nigerian constitution to warrant his exclusion.
The Bayelsa State governorship race was a critical democratic test case for President Jonathan; and we dare say that he has failed to prove himself as a believer in democracy and free choice.
Chief Sylva is in court trying to put right the infractions because he believes our country may be doomed if this subversion of democracy in Bayelsa State is allowed to stand.