Does Timipre Sylva Deserve Another Term?
The Executive Governor of oil rich Bayelsa State, my own brother and school mate, Chief Timipre Sam Sylva is one of the governors in the south-south who is 'certain' within himself that he will be returned to office in the next elections. I say this in astonishment because popular opinion among the Ijaws (the people he is governing) indicates that he has performed woefully and should be packing his things to go and enjoy his loot outside creek haven. Even as much as both his friends and foes believe that Sylva must go, the Nembe born politician is determined to stay; at all costs. To achieve this he is now busy oiling his terror machine to go after anyone who dares to challenge him. His strategy has so far yielded dividend going by the events of the last few months.
On the 29th of December while one of the gubernatorial aspirants under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Beimo Rufus Spiff was approaching the podium to flag off his campaign, two dynamites went off scattering his supporters and injuring many of them. The event was widely reported in the media but neither Governor Timpre Sylva nor his aides reacted to the event. Not event pretentiously: as it believed within Yenagoa and outside that those who planted the explosive are agents of Timi Sylva who he has placed on standby and given enormous funding to cause mayhem in his desperation to retain his seat.
Another embarrassing incident was the attack on a former Head of State of Nigeria and a Presidential aspirant under the platform of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Gen Mohamadu Buhari(rtd) had visited Bayelsa as part of the campaign of another gubernatorial aspirant in his party, Mr. Famous Daunemigha. Just as Buhari and his supporters were about to begin the rally, thugs suspected to be loyal to Sylva, in their hundreds descended on them insisting that the rally will not hold. It was a free for all fight which again left many injured. When Gov Sylva was contacted about the attack, he simply said that he was not aware that Buhari was visiting the state.
On several occasions in the past three months, many aspirants have been harassed and their campaign offices vandalized. Mr Francis Doukpoula has suffered in the hands of these 'unknown' vandals several times. Same as ,frontline activist, and house of assembly aspirant, Patterson Ogon. Many people have out rightly disappeared from Yenagoa because they openly criticized Sylva's policy of brazen corruption through white elephant projects.
As Governor Sylva and his private army continue to run from pillar to post, well-meaning Bayelsans both at home and in Diaspora have not disguised their disgust for the rot that Governor Sylva is supervising currently supervising in our oil rich state. Dr Sabella Abidde, a famous social critic and an Ijaw brother based in the United States has eloquently articulated reasons why we, the Ijaws cannot continue with Sylva's government of liability. He described Gov Sylva as a man of 'profligacy, perfidiousness, aloofness and incompetence'.
Another prominent Ijaw man Dr. Amber Ambaiowei cried out a few weeks ago when he visited Yenagoa. He described our state as'crying of abject poverty,neglect and deprivation'. Just to mention but a few.
While many Bayelsans are living in indescribable poverty and misery, it is on record that the state government has received billions of dollars as federal allocations, derivation funds and excess crude oil benefits. Rather use this to develop the State, Mr Sylva has squandered these monies in opulence with his cronies. It is an open secret that he has acquired choice properties for himself in London, South Africa and and Dubai since he took over power in Yenegoa. He has a case pending in every anti-corruption institution in Nigeria. He is also wanted in the United Kingdom.Sometime in December 2009, one of Governor Sylva's mansions in London was searched by London metropolitan office based on tip of. About one million British pounds in cash, belonging to the governor was found. He was invited to explain the source of the money. Till date he has not honored the invitation and he is still a wanted man in the United Kingdom. The rumor mill also has it that the Governor of Bayelsa State spent millions to public funds to acquire for himself an expensive yacht christened 'Silver Spirit' which he has hidden in a station somewhere of the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
We all know that many ex-militants are currently on the pay roll of our dear Governor. He admits that much to the media openly. These ex-militants are at the core of his terror machine. In a recent interview to the media, Governor Sylva was quoted as saying that ' You will read (sharing money) as corruption, but me I probably read it as political survival. I have to survive before I become incorruptible'
Every Ijaw man is because we cannot afford another four year of waste and reckless squander mania under Sylva? We asked for a state and God gave us Bayelsa through late General Abacha. We thought that it will bring development closer to us but not with Sylva. How long can we continue to be used an example of the failure of development? Are we cursed? Can we not all come out on the streets so that Sylva's men can kill all of us?
Here is man who spent billions of naira campaigning against the emergence of his own brother as President even when it was an open secret that late President Ya'Ardua was then incapacitated. This same Sylva bank rolled the campaigns of the disgraced dictator Ibrahim Babangida all in the bid to stop his brother Goodluck Jonathan. How can we forgive him, even if the President graciously does? What else do we need to understand that the tenancy of Sylva in creek haven has expired?
We were told that nobody could match his rigging but we now have Timi Alaibe. It took the pleas of many well-meaning Bayelsans to persuade Mr Alaibe to abandon his plum job in Abuja to come to our rescue. Now that he has agreed, our minds are made up. Mr Alaibe deserves national honors for halting the militancy in the Niger Delta and saving millions of dollars for Nigerian Governmnet. All progressive minded Ijaws are already lining up behind him. Timipre Sylva should go. Aluta Continua, Victoria Acerta.
Comrade Abel Henchard hails from Nembe Kingdom and wrote from Yenagoa,Bayelsa State. He is on