A few days earlier, I had conducted a 45-minute interview with Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. Today, I met up with Governor Timipre Sylva at the Nicoon Hilyton Hotel. He had just returned from a two weeks’ vacation in
Sabella: God Evening, Governor Sylva. How are you, sir?
Sylva T: Is that what you came here to ask me? “How are you sir”? How else could I be? Look at me: I am the Governor General. By the grace of God almighty, and by way of my Uncle, I am the Governor. So, what are the reasons and the motive behind “How are you sir?”
Sabella: Your Excellency, it is just good manners to inquire about…
Sylva T: (cuts in)…Inquire about what? I have been reading you. I have read everything you’ve written about me. Calling me inept…lazy…a thief…a serial womanizer…an Ajala-travel…heavy-drinker and heavy smoker. Something else: I have been out of the country 28 times, and not 38 times (in one year) as you alleged. You see, I am none of those things you have labeled me. It is people like you who spend all day and all night trying to pull me down. PhD is bad, very bad oooo….you hear me?
Sabella: By the way: Congrats, congratulations on winning the 2007 election.
Sylva T: That is an old and stale story. I knew I was going to win. It was foretold in dreams and visions that I was going to win. The jujuman told me; the psychic lady told me; and several priests and pastors I consulted also told me I was going to win. But, to be really sure I won, the PDP and some INEC officials simply did what God told them to do. It was costly, though. What God has put together, no electorate can put asunder!
Sabella: Your Excellency let me mention a few names and you can tell me what you really think about them. This is a secret oooo….just between you and me…
Sylva T: (cuts in) Look, I don’t give a fuck…I don’t give a razz ass, just mention names and I will speak my mind. For instance, I don’t care about the Vice President. The man is too much wahala; he breathes down my throat every day and night. He is too demanding. He wants this and that and that and this and everything. Kai, the man is trouble. But please don’t tell him I told you so. I don’t want him to dabaru my 2011 ambition ooo.
Sabella: Timi Alaibe?
Sylva T: Kai, kai, kai…Chineke God. Nna, that dude is worse than Jonathan Goodluck. Timi Alaibe is bad luck. He is a badman! He is the most brilliant thief I ever saw. He wants my position. He wants to be governor in 2011. But trust me; he can never be governor until I say so. But I respect his fox-like nature. Did you know that the man is almost as rich as
Sabella: But your opponents are saying you too are a carrier, too; that you have carried and packed Ghana-Must-Go everywhere you have ever worked since you turned 30. Are you saying Timi Alaibe is a bigger and more ruthless carrier?
Sylva T: Look, my opponents are lying. I can swear on the Bible and on any sacred book you want me to swear by: I am not a thief. I am not a rogue. I have never taken or given bribes in my life. I have never inflated contracts. I have never favored my friends and family. People think I have billions and billions of dollars, well, that’s not true. Timi Alaibe has more! Ok, I will admit to low-end billions.
Sabella: D.S.P Alamieyeseigha…
Sylva T: Hahahahaha…na wha ooo…nmnmnmnm…hahahahahaha Alams? Whoa. That man is in a league of his own. What can I say? He and his goons took about 22% of the State allocation. Thank God he had that wahala with Obasanjo otherwise, I wouldn’t have been where I am today. Sha, he is not too bright. They love him in the Creeks, but he is not that smart. How could he allow Obasanjo to just dangle him like that? We knew you don’t mess with OBJ. Everybody stole, everybody was stealing…everybody knew…yet he decided to cross a man like OBJ?
Sabella: President Yar’Adua…
Sylva T: (cuts in and with annoyance) Shut your mouth! Shut your yeye mouth!! Wetin concern me with Yar’Adua? The man is a Saint, God-sent, very visionary, very effective, very loving and caring. I have no complaints about him. In fact, he is my political Father. I love him dearly. I also love all the folks at the Arewa Consultative Forum. I pledge my love and loyalty to him ooo.
Sabella: My next question has to do with the issue and absence of State Commissioners and Special Advisers. What’s your position?
Sylva T: I was waiting on my lawyers to direct me. I was also waiting on the Nigerian Constitution to guide me. But more than that, I was waiting for clearance from the Vice President’s office.
Sabella: What exactly do you mean?
Sylva T: Why don’t you ask the Vice President? He will tell you more. But I can honestly tell you that whatever the VP wants, the VP gets. I will rub his balls and his nuts if he wants me to; and I will also scrub his armpits if he wants me to. But sha, one day go be one day…wait until my feet are firmly placed and my wings are strong. Him go see pepper…real jalapeño pepper.
Sabella: Your Excellency, what do you make of all those Diaspora Ijaw who has been criticizing you at the Ijaw Nation’s Forum? Most of them don’t seem to think much of you. Day in and day out most of them send invectives your way.
Sylva T: They are losers! Lazy people. Hungry people. Yeye-people. Redundant fellows. Most of them are unemployable or underemployed. Did you know how many of them send me their Resume? Do you know how many of them beg me for contracts and for political appointments? I read some of the bull they write about me, but truly, who gives a shit about them?
Sabella: But sir, you must have supporters amongst them, don’t you?
Sylva T: Supporters? I don’t trust them. I’d rather trust an Igbo man, a Yoruba man or a Tiv man. Some of them support me because of what they want and what they can get from me. Some Ijaw in the Diaspora have no shame. Whenever I visit the
Sabella: Sir, do you have anything to tell my readers and your true supporters?
Sylva T: Yes, I want to thank my real and true supporters abroad — especially those in Germany, France, Taiwan and China, Canada, North and South Korea, Iceland, Niger, Burkina Faso, Iceland, Ghana, South Africa and India that I love them and that I am doing a fabulous job. I’ll see them soon.
Sabella: Do you have a speech for your constituency in the countries you mentioned?
Sylva T: Yes, yes, yes…let me look for the paper I scribbled it down on… nna, wait! Yes, I found it: I am happy that you have seen that Bayelsa is not in a state of war. In fact, you have seen that Bayelsa is the most peaceful, prosperous and developed State in the country. Truly speaking, militancy is coming to an end next week. Since October last year we have not had any form of kidnapping, killing or maiming in this state.
Sabella: Yes…go on…
Sylva T: And of course we are engaging the militants; we have come to some kind of arrangement. Some of them are beginning to demobilize after receiving millions and millions of naira. We believe that once we’re able to achieve that (make monthly and quarterly payments), we would bring down the incidence of militancy and criminality naturally. Today, if you ask the average Bayelsan about his or her thinking about my administration they will tell you they are very comfortable enjoying the fruit of democracy, good roads, good water and sewage treatment plants, quality educations and first class healthcare
Sabella: Your Excellency, is that all? What would your administration do to convince people that you are a leader with a sense of accountability and probity?
Sylva T: I can’t read my handwriting properly; the lights are not bright enough. Sha, God dey. I believe that we are the most accountable state government in
Sabella: Sir…what about the Security Vote…can you account for it.
KNOCK ON THE DOOR…
Sylva T: Nna, let’s conclude: my people are here…the babes and the dames and the beautiful ones are here. It is happening now and tonight. We are going to boogie down. Care to join us?
Sabella: No sir, thank you; I am a born again Christian…
Sylva T: Oh, really? All that na pretend. I too I am a born-again oooo. I was a born-again before it became fashionable to be one. We know the true secret….ahahahaha all na bojuboju…anyway, carry that bag on your way out. It is your share of the petro-dollars.
Sabella: Thank you…