‘APC sure of winning Bayelsa governorship poll’
Chief Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State and a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) told WILLIE ETIM in this interview why the party would win the state in the gubernatorial election scheduled to hold later this year. Excerpts:
Prospects of APC winning Bayelsa State
I will tell you without doubt that the APC is going to take Bayelsa State in the coming governorship election. I have no iota of doubt about this. We may not have started the process early but in politics, everything is about timing. For me, I am very strategic, before now I was involved in the inauguration of Mr. President. Going forward we will now begin to take politics serious, I am in Yenagoa the state capital and going round meeting with the people. After this process, we will also go round all the local government areas to sensitize 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. Today that fear is no longer there, it is gone forever. You know the commitment the people of the state had for Jonathan was born 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 Dickson, (incumbent governor) is adopting,ruling the people by instilling fear in them. He is ruling by intimidating the people and when you rule by intimidation, 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 break down in Bayelsa State has come because the incumbency factor especially at the national level is not there. Earlier today, I said it at Otuokpoti, in Ogbia local government that when a man is dead, he is dead. You can only shift the date of the funeral, so you see the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, is only trying to shift the date of the funeral of the party in the state. I had said on February 14, that the party had only postponed the date of their funeral to March 28. PDP is a dead party. Whatever they are doing in Bayelsa State, I don’t really take anything into account because it is already a dead party. So when the date of that funeral comes you will be invited so try to attend and make sure that it is buried finally.
Managing large number of governorship aspirants
From now on APC will begin to wax stronger in Bayelsa state, I don’t know of big names as you may claim, 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 water side.
However I will tell you that a lot of persons have approached us, but what we don’t want to do is not 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, we had focused on the inauguration, now that the government is in place, we want o focus on how we can build the party and position it for victory in the state. What we want to do is to take people into APC but avoid trouble makers; we will be a little bit selective.
Pere Rich wanted to be the chairman of the party in Bayelsa State, you will agree with me that he can not be the chairman of the party in the state. 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 role.
Right now what we want to do is really sanitize the party, you know I have had the experience of governance. I know that the kind of people you put in front of your government tell a lot about you and as a party the kind of people you also 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 of APC will also tell a lot about our party. So I have decided that there are certain kinds of persons who will be at the back stage even if they are going to join the party
Eyeing governorship again?
Bayelsans should not worry at all, what Bayelsa should worry about is whether APC is going to run for the governorship of the State. The forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State is not about me, it is about the change that the people are yearning for and 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 Governor Serieke Dickson in the governorship election in the state,
The decision whether I will contest or not will be taken by the party and whoever the party present will surely win the governorship election in the state. 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 State and 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, one was bound to step on toes. It was in the interest of the state.