BAYELSA GOV FIRES BACK
Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva, yesterday, called the bluff of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and formally declared for a second term on the platform of the party before a mammoth crowd that included federal legislators Bayelsa elders, party chieftains and ex-militant leaders.
At the rally in Yenagoa, Sylva displayed the governorship clearance certificate presented to him by the party's screening panel in Port Harcourt on October 27 as valid, saying it qualified him to contest the November 19 primary election.
Although the PDP Acting National Chairman, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, had said Sylva had not been disqualified contrary to reports and that the party was investigating some petitions against him, the declaration was to send a signal to the leadership of the party that he was on ground politically.
Security was tight with a combined team of mobile policemen, State Security Service (SSS), anti-bomb squad and soldiers placed at strategic locations around the Samson Siasia Sports Complex and thorough frisking of people was undertaken before allowing them into the arena.
Sylva said he has brought his case before Bayelsa people because they were the only ones who would decide who would be their governor.
While noting that in the past five years, his administration has laid solid foundation for the development of the state, he expressed confidence that with a renewed mandate he would bequeath lasting legacies to Bayelsans.
Sylva drew attention to his administration's efforts at stabilizing electricity and promised that the regular power supply would become uninterrupted before December.
'It is only the people of Bayelsa State that would decide who would rule Bayelsa. This is why I brought my case to you. The President is supporting me. All the National Assembly members except the one that is only supporting himself are supporting me. All the members of the House of Assembly, local government chairmen, councilors, elders, women and youths are supporting me. I want to assure that everything is alright,' he said.
In a solidarity speech, ex-militant leaders warned the leadership of the party to consult critical stakeholders before taking sensitive decisions that borders on the well-being of the people as the non- consultation could result into dire consequences.
Speaking on their behalf, Eris Paul aka General Ogunboss flanked by the other ex-militant leaders disclosed that they have decided to queue behind Sylva because of his vision in the granting of amnesty that has enthroned peace in the state and the Niger Delta region.
'We are giving him total and maximum support. We are throwing our weight behind the man who brought peace to Bayelsa State and Niger Delta. He was the one who convinced us to leave the creeks. I want to assure Bayelsans not to listen to stories that have no substance. I want to seize this opportunity to tell the people in Abuja that next time when they want to take a decision on Bayelsa they should consult,' he said.
The former president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof Kimse Okoko, who reminded the gathering that he was not a card-carrying member of any party, said his support for Sylva was based on his vision he is steadily implementing in Bayelsa.
Okoko, who maintained that Sylva has been cleared and needs no further clearance, added: 'All the shenanigans going on in Abuja would come to nought.' Senator Heineken Lokopobiri, in his remarks, assured that seven out of the eight National Assembly members from the state were behind the governor and have written the NWC that it had no right to subject Sylva to another screening after been cleared by the screening panel.
His words: 'Our mandate is simple. Out of the eight members in the National Assembly, seven of us are behind Governor Sylva. And when seven out of eight support an individual, then you are sure of 99 per cent. We have written the NWC that they have no power to clear aspirants. That power is for the screening panel, which screened and cleared Sylva. Subjecting Sylva to another screening is illegality and we won't allow it. This is a government of rule of law and we won't allow the NWC to dent the image of our leader, President Goodluck Jonathan'
The chairman of the state chapter of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Chief Timipa Tiwei Orunimigbe, vowed that the forum would continue to mobilize the people to vote for Sylva.