JONATHAN LIED -SYLVA
Ousted Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday took on President Goodluck Jonathan over the latter's scathing remark that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stopped his re-election bid because of his non-performance in office.
President Jonathan on Friday in Yenagoa at the official campaign flag-off and presentation of flag to the PDP candidate in the February 11 governorship election in the state, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, said Sylva's poor performance was evident in the failure of his administration to complete laudable projects bequeathed by previous administrations in the state.
He said the Bayelsa people affirmed Sylva's non-performance when the former governor was stoned during a presidential rally in October 2010.
But, Sylva in a statement dripping venom, said he read the President's remarks with utter dismay.
The statement entitled: 'President Jonathan lied on Sylva,' and signed by his media aide, Doifie Ola, accused the President of being economical with the truth in his assessment of the Sylva administration and that those behind the stoning incident in Yenagoa that Jonathan referred to had the latter's backing.
'The stoning in Yenagoa happened during the President's visit and it was widely believed to have been arranged by a few misguided elements, which with the backing of Mr President, used the presidential security to subvert the security of the state on purpose to embarrass Sylva. Sponsors of the incident tried to deny their involvement and present the event as indicative of the governor's non-performance. The world now knows better, of course. Everyone is now perfectly well aware of the mastermind of that insult on the Ijaw nation,' Sylva stated.
The former governor further queried: '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 election, was also an act of rejection by the people of the state? A lot of people believed that the burning of his house and the action of militants in 2007 were an expression of rejection. Is 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?'
Sylva maintained that it was after the stoning incident that Jonathan came back to Yenagoa not only to endorse him for re-election by raising his hand but also spoke glowingly about his achievements, saying he had 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.
So, 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 he faced, to embark on Operation Remove Sylva as the sole mandate, which the people of Nigeria gave to him? Didn't Jonathan know there was a stoning incident when he came to say Sylva should be voted for in January?' he said.
Sylva equally faulted Jonathan's description of the Five Tower Hotel project in Yenagoa as a monument of disgrace, which the former governor said was an insinuation that the edifice was still at the stage Jonathan left it as governor. 'This is a bare-faced lie and a misrepresentation of open facts. Sylva wishes to clarify 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.
'Let Jonathan 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,' the statement added.