Ahead of the November 11 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State, the two major contenders for the highest office in the state have been exchanging verbal blows. The latest came on Friday and it was initiated by the APC gubernatorial candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva.
At the inauguration of the party’s campaign team in Yenagoa, Sylva had made what has been described as sweeping and false statements about the governance of the state by the incumbent governor, Senator Douye Diri.
Sylva had alleged that Diri had no vision for the state and could not utilise the enormous gas deposits in the state for the supply of electricity for the people. Sylva served Bayelsa for five years, while Diri has done three years and a few months.
Besides, Sylva had alleged that the state’s gas turbine had been sold by previous PDP governments of the state and urged the people not to vote the PDP for that reason. He said Diri was incompetent.
But Diri’s aide fired back almost immediately. The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Daniel Alabrah said in a statement that Sylva was merely trying to hoodwink the people, even when he knew that Bayelsans were aware of the truth.
Alabrah said “it is a sad reality that when people set bad examples when they are given responsibility, they resort to giving good advice. It is simply laughable that Sylva would accuse somebody else of lack of vision. This is a man that had the opportunity of being governor of our state for five years and later became a Minister for almost four years. Yet there is no outstanding, positive legacy to his name.
“In Bayelsa, he is infamously remembered for profligacy, mismanagement of our resources, encouraging cultism and creating a special security outfit that was anti-people. Having governed the state, it is easier to compare and contrast. And Gov. Diri stands far above him in governance.
“It is equally as preposterous for Sylva to talk about gas utilisation for power. As Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, how well did he or the administration under which he served utilise gas to provide power for Nigerians? The country is still largely in darkness with the national grid collapsing frequently. So, this is mere political talk that cannot sway anybody conversant with the power sector in the country.
“It is also not true that the previous government sold the state’s gas turbine. Instead, Sylva allowed the turbine to collapse during his administration and then brought the state under the national grid. If the turbine was functional, would there have been need for the state to be connected to the national grid at that time? Now the governor he accuses of incompetence and lack of vision has not only commenced rehabilitation of the gas turbine but he is also increasing its capacity from 70mw to 120mw in addition to building of a smart pre-paid metering plant.
“If the APC candidate says Yenagoa does not look like a state capital, the question he should answer is what was his input as governor for five years to change the face of the capital city? Is it not funny that he blames a man that has just spent three-and-a-half years as governor when he had no outstanding legacy to show in Yenagoa for a longer period?
“Development is a process and Governor Diri understands this. That is why he has continued with projects inherited from previous administrations in the state, including completing the Nembe Unity Bridge in Sylva’s hometown that he abandoned. So far, Bayelsans know and feel the impact of the Diri administration and they will not be swayed by Sylva’s political talk.”