Bayelsa: APC suspends Sylva, 4 others

By The Citizen

The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State since its loss of the December 5, 2015 governorship election has deepened.

A faction of the party headed by its state chairman, Mr. Tiwei Orunimighe, on Saturday, suspended the leader of the party and its governorship candidate,  Timipre Sylva.

The Orunimighe's faction also suspended four executive members of the party - Joseph Fafi, Edison Sogwe, Panebi Fortune, and Tonye Okio, for conniving with the former governor (Sylva) for allegedly destabilising the party by publishing an illegal statement.

The suspension of Sylva and the four members came just a day after another faction comprising of over 21 state executive members handed an indefinite suspension on Orunimighe, his deputy, Eddy Julius and the Secretary, Marlin Daniel.

The trio of Orunimighe, Julius and Daniel were on Friday suspended over alleged cases of gross misconduct, financial embezzlement and anti-party activities.

But the Orunimighe's faction in a statement on Saturday signed by him (Orunimighe) and the Secretary (Marlin Daniel) suspending Sylva and four others, said the party's decision was reached after due consultations with the relevant stakeholders.

The statement described the decision to suspend Sylva as 'painful, but necessary' following the pending investigations brought to the party against him.

It accused Sylva of anti-party activities, attempts to form a parallel executive, betrayal of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration and corruption.

The statement reads in part, 'We have it on good record that Timipre Sylva, last Tuesday precisely, paid a clandestine visit to one of the South-South governors of the Peoples Democratic Party. This is just one of the series of correspondences between them and we find it grossly unbecoming.

'This is in direct breach of Article 21 in the party constitution which states in Section 2 that anti-party activities or any conduct, which is likely to embarrass or have adverse effect on the party or bring the party into hatred, contempt, ridicule or disrepute is punishable.'

Reacting to the suspension of Sylva, Mr. Panebi Fortune, the APC State Publicity Secretary and one for those suspended by the Orunimighe's faction, described the suspension as a huge joke and unthinkable.

Fortune said, 'Our constitution does not permit their action. It is they that have been suspended. Their suspension was not done by the four of us. Their suspension was done by the executive arm of the party in the state and we have all the full backing - all it takes to say that their suspension stands,

'In our own case, we have never in any way played anti-party politics, Orunimighe and Daniel supported other parties against the APC. We believe their resort to issue unwarranted suspension is out of fear. We have followed the constitution in their suspension.'

He urged party members and the general public to disregard their purported suspension, insisting that they were the ones that had been suspended.

Calls to mobile phones of Sylva and his Media Adviser, Doifie Buokoribo, indicated that they were switched off. - Punch.