Bayelsa 2012: Why Governor Timipre Sylva Must Go

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

The Daily Sun (Tuesday November 24, 2009) in “Bayelsa 2012: Retired Generals move against Sylva” states that “Opposition is mounting against the administration of Governor Timipre Sylva as core Ijaw people in Bayelsa State are mobilizing against him. Sylva shared paternity with Nembe and Okpoama, regarded as non-core Ijaw areas, in Nembe and Brass Local Government Areas of the state.” What nonsensical innuendo!

The tabloid went on to assert that “miffed by what some politicians refer to as the rudderless nature of the state owning to lack of focus by the Sylva’s administration, the core Ijaw people are looking at the possibility of shopping from another candidate to salvage the state.” Frankly, well-meaning Nigerians must know that the opposition brewing against Governor Sylva does not have anything to do with the so-called core/non-core rubbish a few people are wont to use as a desperate political expediency.

We have it on record that the Daily Sun news item was planted. It was a calculated move designed by the Timipre Sylva camp to enable it flush out and/or hound his opponents. We have a man, in Timpre Sylva, who thinks that the governorship is his birthright. This is a man who, in spite of his celebrated incompetence, thinks he deserves an additional four years in office. Depending on who one speak with, the state is either stagnant or is regressing. All agrees, however, and the reality indicates that the last two years has been a waste, a disaster. A continuation of his regime will bring untold hardship to the state.

What we have witnessed, under this administration, is a colossal waste of resources: waste of monthly allocations, waste of opportunities, waste of goodwill and prayers; and an unmitigated waste of our collective aspiration. What good has Timipre Sylva done for the good people of the state? What industries can he point to as a result of his stay in office? What improvements are there in the state’s educational sector? How many clinics and hospitals has he built since assuming office? Really, of what use is he to Bayelsa?

To speak of core/non-core Ijaw amounts to a betrayal of our common heritage, and an unwarranted insult on the intelligence of the good people of Bayelsa State. It is on this ground that we agree with Dr. Pamo Igali, who averred “It’s a shame that Chief Sylva-Sam’s agent(s) will descend this low to bring in the divisive politics of sectionalism into this matter of his competency to continue as governor…Sylva and gang need to leave out this core or non-core Ijaw nonsense out of their campaigns for survival.”

Indeed, anyone who understands the Bayelsa political landscape understands that the opposition against the governor is rooted — not in sectional and low-politics — but in his mammoth incompetence vis-à-vis economic performance, political sagacity, human and resource management, and in his wanton disregard for the rule of law. This is a governor who does not understand the people’s dreams and aspiration in terms of their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their children and future generation.

No one promised Governor Sylva an unperturbed second term. And in fact, political opposition is part of the democratic process. If he had carried out his duties well, if he had met popular expectation, if he was a man of good character, and if he had done what was expected of a chief-of-state, perhaps, the opposition would not have rose this early. If he was half as decent and half as good as good and decent men are, perhaps, a second term would have been easier to comprehend. But no, this governor leads the mediocre pack. In the end, therefore, it was about character, his character, the stuff he is made of.

From the moment he came into office, Timipre Sylva has done nothing but engage in acts and pronouncements that ridicule the people and the state. His interview with CNN is one such moment. The broadcast shows a man who is oblivious to micro and macro economic policies; a man who does not understand what development is, but instead, engages in and propagates voodoo and voodoo economics. In less than 30 months of being in office, the state is broke. Bankrupt. Available data shows that the state is neck-deep in debt, estimated at 300 billion naira. So, what’s the point of a second term?

Here is a man who also promotes mediocrity: The best and brightest minds — men and women who should be encouraged to engage in development — are either shunned or sent into political exile. His political philosophy is simple. He preaches, in the manner of Fascist Benito Mussolini: “O con noi o contro di noi”: You’re either with us or against us There is no middle ground. His praise-singers and/or those who obey his wish and command enjoy government patronage; his critics and those with dissenting opinion are left to rot, or drown.

Whatever opposition there are against him and his administration, are in the estimation of the majority, timely, desirable and well-deserved. Instead of judiciously carrying out his duties and responsibilities, he has resorted to survival strategies that are unbecoming of any decent man or woman. Instead of doing what’s best for the state, he courts outside powerhouses. Instead of being responsible to the people of the state, he is responsible to dark angels within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Nigerians know President Yar’Adua’s wife as Turai Yar’Adua. But not so for Timipre Sylva, who refers to her as Mommy. He genuflects, he bows sheepishly, he trembles, he showers her with whatever he thinks will warm him to her political heart. He does all these and much for her and for many others within the PDP so as to secure a secured position during the PDP primary and eventual election. He does all these, and engages in corrupting acts, instead of doing what is right and proper for the state and for the people.

In the last couple of years, the Ijaw have blamed the federal government for the lack of development in their area. Without equivocations, their complaints are well-founded. Their grievances are legitimate and must be adequately addressed. That said, we the Ijaw must also hold our leaders responsible for the things they have done poorly and also for those things they have failed to do — things that would have benefitted the vast majority of the people: provision of useful infrastructures, potable water, quality education and healthcare, network of roads and the enactment and execution of laws and public policies that lifts the majority of our people out of misery and poverty.

We have not done these. The Governors and governments of Bayelsa State, since its inception in 1996, have not done these. Not in any measurable way. And more so since 1999, with billions and billions in revenue and federal allocations, nothing substantial and enriching has been achieved. We cannot continue to fault the federal government for our woes and state of underdevelopment if our political elites and leaders are indifferent to the human, economic, political, cultural and social development of the people.

And so, whatever political opposition is there against the Governor must be assiduously encouraged. We therefore encourage opposition from the technocrats. We encourage opposition from retired military and police officers. We encourage opposition from “saintly politicians.” We indeed encourage opposition from all well-meaning indigenes of the state. We have had enough of this senselessness. We believe that Governor Timipre Sylva Must Go! We cannot allow, and must not allow four more years of waste, of corruption, of stagnation and decay. We must turn back the Bayelsa Ship as it roves towards calamity and damnation.

To say that th

e budding opposition against Mr. Timipre Sylva is sectional is not only untrue, it is divisive and irresponsible. When the primaries and the eventual election in the state were rigged, it was rigged by Ijaw from all parts of Ijaw land. Now that there is a concerted move to deny him a second term in office, Ijaw from all sections of the Ijaw Nation are involved. In view of the aforesaid, only agents of destruction would contend that the opposition against the governor is rooted in sectional politics. Only those who do not aspire to good governance and to collective and personal responsibility would propagate core/non-core politics.

We the Ijaw — from Ondo to Lagos through Delta and Bayelsa, and through Rivers State and Akwa Ibom, have common history and common ancestry. Ethnographically, we have the Arogbo, the Apoi and the Andoni Ijaw. We have the Kalabari, the Okrika, the Opobo, and the Nembe Ijaw; we also have our Bonny, Brass and Bomadi brethrens. In all of these, we have a common heritage, common language, common culture, common life experiences and common destiny. We know what is good for us — one being the denial of Timipre Sylva a second term in office. He is a liability, a burden. He Must Go!

See Governor Sylva Living in opulence in midst of poverty

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