Bayelsa Guber Election: Panic Hits Sylva’s Camp As Loyalists Leave In Droves
As the Bayelsa State governorship election, scheduled for November 11, 2023 gets closer, panic has hit the camp of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Timipre Sylva, as his support base is being eroded daily with supporters ditching him for the camp of the incumbent, Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
The scenario has also been compounded by the reluctance of the national leadership of the party to support his campaign financially.
Only recently, the closest political ally of Sylva, who is also an immediate past member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Israel Sunny Goli, dumped him for the PDP, over what was described as irreconcilable differences.
Also, few days ago, the platform of former legislators from 1999 till date declared their support for Governor Diri with the motion of vote of confidence on Diri moved by a former Sylva’s ally, Honourable Robert Enogha, and seconded by Right Honourable Werinipre Seibarugu, former Acting Governor and also a deputy governor to Sylva.
The development is becoming a source of worry to his supporters and party leaders in the state. A close associate of Sylva, who spoke to our reporter in confidence, while taking stock of the political climate in the state ahead of the election, said, “if care is not taken, the way Sylva is going about it, Sylva and his supporters may be plunged into political oblivion and ultimately be retired from the Bayelsa political space, because the events of the past are hunting him and his followers.
The source recalled how Sylva led a team of his supporters to meet the National Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, to raise N11 billion to support his campaign.
“The team met a brick wall as the Chairman was not enthusiastic about the idea. Rather than buying into the idea as the usual practice during a serious election season like the governorship election, he mockingly threw the task back to Sylva by giving him the task to first list the number of persons he had empowered in his state. Sylva and his team were given one hour to do that, while Ganduje waited to no avail and they left the national chairman’s residence with forlorn faces and utter disappointment.”
Another source further expressed disappointment that APC supporters back in Bayelsa State are frightened by daily depletion of supporters, defecting in droves to the ruling PDP with confidence in the Diri administration soaring higher.
The indicators, according to the sources, are gloomy for the APC, so long as free and fair election is conducted in the state.
However, recall that in the past couple of weeks, the media has.been agog with reports about the desperation of the APC governorship candidate to win at all cost.
Accusing fingers pointed at his direction over plans to use BVAS machines without appropriate codes, the allegation of co-opting fake policemen and INEC officials to do his bidding.
Also, he tried unsuccessfully to drag the Presidency into his campaign, trying to enlist the support of the Chief of Staff to the President, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila.
His effort was also futile.
Very significant to note is the fact that Sylva is hell bent on returning the state to its dark days during his five years reign of terror. Remember, the bombing of political opponent rallies, the unexplained death of the younger brother of his late ADC whom we gathered was ready to cooperate with the police.
A prominent community leader from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, bursted in anger while condemning his choice of a deputy from a local government that produced the first graduate in the person of late Chief N. A Frank Opigo.
“Southern Ijaw people are appalled at the APC’s choice of a deputy governorship candidate, whose credentials are well known to be questionable. What an insult to our collective sensibilities”?
His deputy governorship candidate we recall, worse boastful of his jail break while serving a ten year jail term for multiple felonies in Kaduna prison. Whither are we bound? Haba, has Bayelsa State become the state of jokers?
The question on the lips of vast majority of Bayelsans is, is there any interest the former Minister of State for Petroleum has other than coming to sell the state just as he was accused of revoking the state most priced asset, the Atala Oil Field OML 46 which is the common patrimony of the land of his birth OM?
46 recall is the marginal oil field allocated to Bayelsa State during the resource control agitations. Rather than protect it for his state, Sylva allegedly revoked it and reallocated it to a company that was only incorporated in September 2019 with no single asset or experience using fake receipts and unverifiable investment claims.
These are some of the baggage the APC has to contend with in the days ahead of the election.