• Saturday, July 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Of Sylva and campaign against kinsman

businessday-icon

Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State, has since left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). That is no news. That he is now a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is also not surprising. What is news is that he has already commenced campaign ahead of the 2015 contrary to the time table released by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

Critics say the former governor of the oil-rich state may be having a dance that is not expected of him. It is said in some quarters that he may have begun a one-man squad to frustrate President Goodluck Joanthan’s ambition to return to the Aso Rock Villa in 2015.

Sylva was in the Government House, Port Harcourt Monday on a solidarity visit to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, governor, Rivers State, where he pledged to work in cahoots with the Rivers State chief executive to ensure that President Jonathan is not returned in 2015.

The former governor was quoted as saying that there were many Bayelsans who were not happy with the administration of President Jonathan, though they hail from the same state.

“We of the APC in Bayelsa State decided to visit you (Amaechi) in solidarity and tell you that not everybody in Bayelsa is against progress. Not everybody in Bayelsa is an enemy of progress, that you also have a family in Bayelsa State that identifies with you all the way all the way,” Sylva said.

“When the time comes for us to sweep away the government of the day at the national level, Bayelsans will stand with you and be in the vanguard of sweeping away this government,” he further said.

Pundits say although the nation’s constitution, particularly in a democracy guarantees freedom of speech and association, Sylva should moderate his utterances and activities ahead of the 2015 general election.

The former governor lost his position on January 27, 2012 through a Supreme Court ruling. Before then, Sylva had begun a serious battle with the PDP, which allegedly had the imprimatur of the Presidency.

He was accused of misappropriation of public funds, and PDP insisted it was not fielding him as its candidate in the election that was due in the state that year.

As soon as he left office, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested him. Currently, he is facing a criminal charge of alleged pilfering of amount running into some billions of naira from the Bayelsa State treasury while he was in power.

It is, however, being touted that the former governor is working towards settling out of court in the ongoing trial of corruption, money laundering and theft instituted against him by the EFCC before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

He is also said to be working toward plea bargain to pave the way to return both in monetary form and properties worth billions of naira.

Speaking on the possible reason why Sylva may be campaigning against Jonathan, Joseph Odum, a legal practitioner, said the former governor was just being antagonistic with the Presidency over his unplanned exit from the government house in Yenagoa.

“It was the same antagonistic spirit that allegedly put Sylva into trouble in the first place. The former governor, they said was initially not favourable to Jonathan becoming President when the health status of Umaru Yar’Adua had become a public knowledge. In fact, not only him, there were also some elements from Bayelsa State and the South-South zone that showed resentment. Even when the Senate employed the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ some of them were jittery,” Odum said.

According to him, “For me, I think Sylva should be grateful to Jonathan. You know why? It was Jonathan that suggested Sylva when he was going for the vice-presidential position. For the level of ingratitude he manifested and the alleged looting to the tune of 48 houses said to have been seized from him, if Jonathan was vindictive, Sylva should have been in cell or in prison by now. We were told that they belittled Jonathan and said ‘how could this no-body become our president?’ Sylva needs not declare war against Jonathan; what he really needs is to make fence with the President and he knows that he cannot fight Jonathan; whether he accepts or not destiny has thrust Jonathan ahead of them all. You can’t stand on the way of a moving train.”

Kenneth Aro, a policy analyst, said: “Some state governors who are not wise become unnecessarily antagonistic of their brothers who hold important positions at the federal level. In Ebonyi some years ago, the former governor, Sam Egwu, was in a bitter rivalry with Anyim Pius Anyim, who was the Senate president. Both of them we were told were members of the same church, but because of power tussle, who should accord respect to the other, many innocent souls were lost. Today, they are both alive and are still enjoying themselves while the innocent youths they used as cannon fodder died in vain.

Sylva was among the disgruntled PDP members that formed the New PDP (nPDP) under the Kawu Baraje leadership. He, like some others, decamped to APC.

While addressing the people of Adamawa at a rally in Yola, organised to formally receive Abubakar into the All Progressives Congress (APC), following his defection from the People’s Democratic Party, Sylva said the Niger Delta people were not happy with the performance of President Jonathan, and were willing to cooperate in trying to vote him out of office.

“I was here with other governors in 2011 to pray for the North to vote for our son. I am here again on behalf of the people of the South-South to apologise to you for bringing in bad product,” he said.

“I am here to apologise to the people of Adamawa because our son whom you voted for has not performed and the country is fast sinking under his misrule.”

He added: “Niger Delta has sent me to tell you that we are ready to join hands with you to chase out this regime of impunity promoted by our son. We will join hands with you to salvage our great country.”

A commentator advised the former governor to tread softly besides politics; they (he and the president) are first and foremost, brothers.

“I may understand the former governor’s anger, but my advice is that he must be a man, and show that large-heart. After politics, he and the President will still return to the state. They remain brothers and there is no need for the level of bitterness he seems to be manifesting,” the analyst said.

Zebulon Agomuo