By Doifie Buokoribo
We have read with a sense of déjà vu a statement credited to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa State Chapter, in which it claimed All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, helped the PDP win the Bayelsa State governorship election.
The statement went ahead to condemn Sylva for his criticism of the Supreme Court judgements voiding the participation of APC in the governorship election in a recent television interview.
PDP also accused Sylva of “foisting extreme violence on Bayelsans and Bayelsa since 2015”. It claimed Sylva was responsible for the pockets of violence in Yenagoa and Abuja following the sacking of the Governor-Elect, Chief David Lyon.
The APC in Bayelsa State considers the PDP position irresponsible, petty and provocative. It is a clear fact that the PDP did not win the Bayelsa State governorship election held on 16 November 2019. The APC won that election, fair and square.
The strange decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to ignore the Bayelsa State electorate, make themselves the voters, and impose another person as governor is incompatible with democratic norms. This is a judgement without justice; this is a judgement without legitimacy. Yes. Even though we are bound by the judgement as a legal entity, our party does not consider the action of the Supreme Court as fair or just. As citizens, we have the right to critique the decision of the apex court. No body or institution, not even the governor imposed on us by the Supreme Court or his party, can deny us that right.
Legally, Douye Diri is governor of Bayelsa State, but in the hearts and minds of our people, he is illegitimate. He was not the one they voted for. He will bear the burden of illegitimacy throughout his tenancy at Creek Haven, Government House, Yenagoa.
As to the charges of violence, Sylva has already disclaimed and denounced the recent protests that took place in Yenagoa and Abuja after the Supreme Court judgement of 13 February 2020. In the specific case of Bayelsa State, we have said it time and again that it was the PDP Government under Governor Henry Seriake Dickson that ran a regime of heist, violence and lawlessness since 2012. APC and its supporters were, at all times, the victims. His puppet, “Governor Dickson II”, otherwise known as Senator Douye Diri, has not shown any sign that he will not continue with the regime of lawlessness and grand larceny.
Clearly, the PDP statement under review points to the truth in our position.
Another confirmation of our position is the decision of Senator Diri to take a bank loan of NGN2.9 billion for the purpose of buying “operational vehicles for the governor, his deputy and other top government functionaries”. Coming less than three weeks as governor, this move is scandalous, unsympathetic and ungodly. Sadly, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly has approved the loan request.
Diri is taking the loan at a time when civil servants and pensioners in the state have not been paid. This is a continuation of the frivolities of the PDP government of Dickson; a major reason the people of the state roundly rejected them at the poll.
Unfortunately, Bayelsa State is in for another long haul under an illegitimate regime that does not feel any sense of commitment to the welfare and sensibilities of the people.
This cannot be the government that the people of Bayelsa State deserve. It cannot be the government the people voted for.
* Buokoribo is spokesperson for APC Bayelsa