As the November 11, 2023 Governorship election, in Bayelsa State, draws closer, major political parties that will be participating in the crucial governorship election, have in the past few days, in line with the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), conducted primaries to elect their flag bearers.
While it is unclear, the number of political parties that will eventually participate in the race, it is most certain, that the race is majorly between the Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The supposed emerging political third force in the country, the Labour PARTY (LP) seems to be handicapped, considering the leadership tussle currently going on in the party, which in effect, has seen the emergence of two gubernatorial candidates for the party in Bayelsa State, ahead of the election.
Since the Friday 14th April 2023 “Victory” of Mr Timipre Sylva, as the governorship candidate of the APC, after the controversial governorship primary, of the party, what has been on the lips of the average Bayelsans has been “Shall affliction rise the second time”.
Yes, affliction hit Bayelsa the first time in 2007 when it elected a man with legendary life of deceit and violence as its governor. Bayelsa has been battling to survive the yoke of the army of occupation unleashed on it by this serial liar and merchant of violence. In 2007, Timipre Sylva was imposed as the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, by President Olusegun Obasanjo following the elevation of the its governorship candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to the position of running mate to the late President Umar Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory.
It is on record, that Mr Timipre Sylva reportedly popped champagne when he was announced as the candidate in anticipation of the purse of the State falling into his dirty hands.
Politics, it is commonly said, is war. And again recently, the All Progressives Congress, APC in Bayelsa State unveiled its latest weapon in its bid to win the state governorship election. For weeks, the weapon’s major components had appeared in the news, providing the public with a surfeit of materials for political gossip. In every way, each component of the weapon carries equal amount of menace, as they all question the integrity and eligibility of Timipre Sylva to be candidate of their party in the build up to the election.
The emergence of Sylva as the APC’s candidate has raised, and is still raising so many question. Today, Bayelsans are rudely reminded of the existential threats that they were faced with during the five years, that Timipre Sylva reigned as the “Lord of the Creek Haven”.
Topmost on the mind of the average Bayelsans today, is concerns about whether their guaranteed security for their lives and property under this present government will be substituted for the monumental looting of State resources for which the Sylva years was notorious for.
Those who had hoped Timipre Sylva has changed for the better quickly had a rethink as reports of the heavy-handed and thuggish activities that characterized the recently disorganized APC primaries where the party chose its governorship candidate emerged. It was a chilling reminder of the kind of person Sylva is and the kind of politics he plays.
Today, it is no hidden fact that Timipre Sylva in his time as governor was a confidant to so many gangs, operating in and around the State. You could look at these gangs’ confidence in Timipre Sylva, from the angle of those who repose this uncommon confidence in him.
To Sylva, crime and criminality is irrelevant as long as it satisfies his desperate ambition for power. That is why most Bayelsans, live in fear that a dreaded gang man should never again be raised to the position of a democratically elected governor. May affliction not arise a second time.
After the failed nearly 8 years of the APC presidency, there are super gangsters, point-men of the regime who feel they reserve the right to always fine-tune our corporate morality, legality and ethics. They, by being there, would tell us how angelic and acceptable a person like Timipre Sylva and when it was time for elections, they were the only ones who could lead it.
What kind of confidence did you suppose these gangs had in a Timipre Sylva? The confidence of, at least, one who would condone his massive looting and killing. Guess what? Sylva condoned all that and more. What manner of man condones murderers, looters, incinerators of blameless human beings and then calmly returns to ask for the Governorship of the same state?
The fact that known gangsters today repose so much confidence in Sylva should not be a major surprise. Like begets like. Light does not repose its confidence in darkness, nor does darkness repose its trust in light. In the fold of all shades of violence and insecurity, Timipre Sylva is at home.
For almost four years, where he represented Bayelsa State as a Minister in the Ministry of Petroleum in the country, nothing can be recorded as a gain, for the people of Bayelsa State. All that Sylva spent his entire time, building was an empire of corruption and army of gangster, in pursuit of his inordinate ambition of RULING Bayelsa State again.
It is most certain, that people oriented campaign are neither going to be the priority of Sylva nor his party, APC. Nigeria over the last eight years, has been plunged into unimaginable backwardness. Economy, as a campaign point would have been worse for them because, under the PDP, Nigeria overtook South Africa as the largest economy and made it the poverty capital of the entire world. How that translates beyond vital statistics is another matter. So, they desperately needed the x-factor. Do not forget that they always told the people that they only had the answer to Nigeria’s security, even when no security queries were being raised.
The endpoint of this gambit would shock all of them. The gods are not just making all these brigands mad at this juncture for the fun of it. The gods have a program in mind. It is not possible for millions of human beings to be subjected to pseudo-slavery into their generations and something would not give. They are lost and there is no compass. It might look like a huge tragedy right now, but that which seemed to have spiraled out of control is actually mad with a steady pattern.
Do not believe that an earthquake is not afoot in Bayelsa state this year. We have come to that cycle once more. It is a great time to be alive.
It does not matter how many years falsehood gains running, though. Truth catches up and dusts it in a jiffy. We see, feel and know the truth.
Truth approaches in Bayelsa at the speed of light. It is upon us all. Let it be clearly stated, that we are critically watching and no amount of grandstanding by Timipre Sylva and his gang, can easily make Bayelsans, to forget the life changing programmes for the good people of Bayelsa state being undertaken by the transformational leadership of Governor Duoye Diri, in the State. Apart from making the people the centre of all developments and government programmes, he has translated this into reality by carrying the people along in the new policies of transparency and accountability by making known to the people on a regular basis, what comes to Bayelsa as revenue and how they were spent.
No doubt, Bayelsans will never return to the land of uncertainty.
Affliction shall not arise again.
Ebitimi Otobo is an Activist and member of the Campaign for Democracy CD, he writes from Epie, Yenagoa.