‘Any APC Candidate Will Beat Dickson’



Chief Timipre Sylva, the immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, who recently co-chaired the presidential inauguration planning committee, was in the state last weekend to participate in the rescheduled State Assembly elections in Ogbia Constituency I and Brass Constituency II, and told WILLIE ETIM in Yenagoa that the APC was set to clinch the governorship position scheduled to hold later in the year. 

WHAT is the prospect of APC wining the governorship election in the state scheduled to hold later in the year? I will tell you without doubt that the All Progressive Congress (APC) is going to take Bayelsa in the coming governorship election.

I have no iota of doubt about this.  We may not have started the process early, being that in politics everything is about timing. For me, I am very strategic. Before now, I was involved in the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Going forward, we will now begin to take politics serious.

I am in Yenagoa going round and meeting with people. After this process, we will also go round all the local government areas in to sensitise the people as they prepare for the governorship election.

The people of Bayelsa were under the spell of fear during the time of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President. Everybody was so scared that if they did anything against Jonathan, they would be undone.

So, a lot of people from the state were afraid to join APC openly, even though a good number of them were talking with us privately. Open support was the problem we had initially.

But today, that fear is no longer there; it is gone forever. You know the commitment the people of the state had for Jonathan was borne out of fear; it was not due to love and that kind of commitment can breakdown when the fear element is taken away. Right now, the fear element is gone, because he is no longer the incumbent.

So, you can see why there is upsurge in the support for APC in the state. Unfortunately, this is the same pattern that Governor Seriake Dickson is adopting by ruling the people by instilling fear in them.

He is ruling by intimidating the people and when you rule by intimidating the people, that kind of loyalty is liable to breakdown under any form of stress. This is what happened during the colonial era. Once you rule your people by instilling fear and not by love, you find out that that kind of loyalty cannot endure.

The time for such loyalty to breakdown in Bayelsa has come, because the incumbency factor, especially at the national level, is not there. I said it at Otuokpoti in Ogbia Council that when a man is dead, he is dead.

You can only shift the date of the funeral. So, the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa is only trying to shift the date of its funeral. I had said in February that the party had only postponed the date of its funeral to March 28. PDP is a dead party; whatever they are doing in Bayelsa, I don’t really take anything into account, because it is already a dead party. So, when the date of its funeral comes, you will be invited so try to attend and make sure that it is buried finally.

How is APC prepared to accommodate the big names in the state politics rumoured to be eyeing its governorship ticket? As from now on, APC will begin to wax stronger in Bayelsa. I don’t know of big names, as you claimed, as far as I am concerned, everybody is equal before the law. Everybody has just one vote and the big names vote is not more that the vote of the man at the waterside.

However, a lot of persons have approached us, but what we don’t want to start taking people without proper scrutiny. We want to structure the party properly, such that it will be stronger than what it is right now in the state.

We were distracted by the inauguration activities, which we focused on. Now that the government is in place, we want to focus on how we can build the party and positioned it for victory in the state.

We want to take people into APC, but not troublemakers. We will be a little bit choosy. Pere Rich wanted to be the chairman of the party in the state, but you will agree with me that he cannot be. He could not have been, and that is my only offence against him.

I didn’t make him chairman, not because I hate him, but because I know he was not suitable for that kind of position and role. He could be suited for other roles.

Right now, we want to sanitised the party. You know I have had the experience of governance and know that the kind of people you put in front of your government tells a lot about you, and as a party, the kind of people you put in front will also tell a lot about your party.

I know all of them because they have all worked with me. The kind of people I will put in front for APC will also tell a lot about our party. So, I have decided that there are certain kinds of persons that will be at the backstage, even if they are going to join the party.

Now that you said APC is set to upstage PDP, don’t you think you owe some persons some apology? As a governor, I served the people of the state with the best of interest. Frankly speaking, I don’t think I owe anybody an apology.

I did what I thought was best for Bayelsa. I was very conscious of that fact. Of course, in the process of doing my job, I had stepped on toes.

Everybody must understand that in doing my job as a governor, I was bound to step on toes, and it was in the interest of the state. Would you contest the forthcoming governorship election? Bayelsans should not worry at all.

What Bayelsa should worry about is whether APC is going to run for the governorship. The governorship election is not about me; it is about the change that the people are yearning for; it is about APC as a party.

But the caveat is that I am still eligible and equally qualified to run under the law. You should know that any candidate presented by APC will beat Dickson in the election.

The decision whether I will contest or not will be taken by the party and whoever the party presents will surely win the governorship election in the state.

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