Dickson is a ‘bush man’, confused and lacks confidence says Sylva
Many people, including your main opponent, questioned your motive to want to be the Governor of Bayelsa State again, after the court has annulled your election in 2012?
Anybody that asks that question is quite ignorant. I left Bayelsa state government house unwillingly and all Bayelsans knew the circumstances under which I left and since then no other opportunity have presented itself for me to re-contest for that office.
This is the first opportunity that has presented itself since 2012. Actually, the event of 2012 should be fresh in the mind of every well-meaning Bayelsan.
I was disqualified by the power that be from contesting an office I was still occupying at the time. I didn’t forget anything in Bayelsa State Government House, but Bayelsa state government as we are concerned is occupied by a usurper who came and use Federal might.
Today, when they now begin to shout about Federal might, I wonder. Look at Bayelsa state now, look at Yenagoa, do you see any Army check point? Now, take your mind back to 2012, at this time, towards the election in 2012, we had over a hundred check points in Bayelsa state, manned by fierce-looking armed soldiers. Amour Personal Carrier (APC) already blocked the government house, and of course toward this time, army helicopters were already flying over Bayelsa, so what are they talking about? .
Now, nothing of such is happening and yet they still want to scream because they are scared of their own shadows.
Your party, the APC, dislodged your ‘brother’, Goodluck Jonathan from the presidency; don’t you think this alone might affect your chances at the poll?
I don’t think this will have any impact on the election at all. Every Ijaw man should be fair to the APC and me. The former President, set the scene for his exit from office by bringing the war to his home. He started the fire and he didn’t start the fire any other place, he started it from his own home.
Look, after I was removed from office, I went to exile and I was arrested by all kinds of people, many times. They never even left me alone after removing me from office, they wanted to kill me, they wanted to jail me, and they wanted to do everything to me. I was visited by a lot of elders from different part of the country, Elders from the West visited me, Elders from the East visited me, Elders from the North visited me and the one question on the lips of all those elders who visited me was, do you not have elders in Bayelsa state who can intervene between yourself and the president?
You said, he called me a ‘guy man’ governor (laughter). Well, I wonder what Dickson mean by being a guy man but I think I am a typical Bayelsan. Dickson is just a disgrace to himself and I don’t know what he means by ‘guy man’. Everybody knows that governor Dickson is a ‘bushman’. He is a ‘bushman’, I am not exaggerating if I call him a ‘bushman’ because that’s who he is, he knows too that he is a bushman and that is why he doesn’t have self-confidence.
Governor Dickson has said severally, that the election is not going to be about him or you but about the people of Ijaws. He has also described your candidacy as anti-Ijaw interest, how do you react to these?
In a way, I will agree with the governor that the election is not about me or about him, but about Bayelsans and about the Ijaw people. I agree with him about that but when you take it further, then you can see the state of mind of the man we are talking about, he is in a confused state of mind obviously. I had said in other fora that none of the parties, neither APC or PDP is an Ijaw party, they are national parties. I was one of those who brought PDP into Bayelsa, he was not even a member of the PDP.
Has he worked for that party? Because as far as I know after contributing to the impeachment of Alamieseigha, he came here and as compensation, he was made a Commissioner. That was how he came to the PDP.
The APC is also a national party. The truly Ijaw party we had was called the NSM, the National Solidarity Movement, formed by the late sage, Chief Melford Okilo. When Chief Okilo realized that the PDP has won the national election, he decided to subsume that party into the PDP because he thought that we couldn’t survive without the center. If you go back in history, the Niger Delta Congress has to merge with the NPC for us to survive and we have always wanted to be at the center of national politics.
Your opponent has also described you and your party as being violent. Is this true?
You see, they always say that the cat wanted the apple and he jumps to catch the apple and couldn’t get the apple, then he consoled himself by saying ‘rotten apple’ and then he walks away. That is his only compensation because he just couldn’t get it.
Now, let me tell you, even this present out-going governor did everything to join the APC. He himself had tried to join the APC but you know the APC is not for people like him. The APC is not for bullies, Pharaohs and Emperors and so unfortunately we didn’t accept him and now he is saying rotten apple because he couldn’t get in.
Maybe if he had gotten in, he would be saying by now that the APC is the greatest party. If he is honest to himself, of course I know he can never be true to himself but if he is true to himself, he should be truthful to tell Bayelsans that he made attempts to join APC. If he lies about that I will accept because he always lie about everything.
The APC cannot be a violent party, look at the streets today, just a few days, he himself instructed people to go out there and tear down my posters. Everywhere you go my posters are on the ground as if tearing posters means winning elections.
The Governor says you are a ‘guy-man’ and that the people of the state do not need a guy-man. Another issue is that of loans.
You said he called me a ‘guy man’ governor (laughter). Well, I wonder what Dickson mean by being a guy man but I think I am a typical Bayelsan. Dickson is just a disgrace to himself and I don’t know what he means by ‘guy man’. Everybody knows that governor Dickson is a ‘bushman’. He is a ‘bushman’, I am not exaggerating if I call him a ‘bushman’ because that’s who he is, he knows too that he is a bushman and that is why he doesn’t have self-confidence. That is why he calls me guy man. He is a countryman and I am a guy man.
I inherited N111 billion Naira debts from Jonathan. Now, what we did was servicing those debts. What I did was to take a bond to absolve the debts that I inherited. I took a 50 billion-naira bond because we felt that if we service the loans alone to commercial banks, it would cost us a lot. So we took some of that loan to, absorb it in that bond and then we took some of that money from that bond to pay our contractors on the Brass road project.
If they are truthful they will tell you. I inherited a debt of N111 billion and what Dickson inherited from me was N207 billion contractors’ debt. I am sure that if I take over today, the contractors’ debts would have gone up above N400 billion. I would not go out and announce that Dickson owes so much. That is to somebody that does not understand economics.
The loan stock that I owed commercial banks, (20 billion Naira) which Dickson could have paid off in the first three months because when he came in, was when fuel subsidy was practically removed. There was more money. In fact, in that year we budgeted fifty billion extra because we were expecting more money to the state and Dickson got more than 50billion extra. I keep telling you, the facts are there?
The first year I got into government, I received 89 billion from the federation account. The first time Dickson came, he recovered N191 billion. Secondly, I received 154 billion Naira, Dickson received N216 billion. The 3rd year, I received N106 Billion while Dickson received N156 billion. So what is he talking about? Now, he is taxing the civil servants, which I did not do.