By Ayibaina Duba
The Bayelsa State Government expresses dismay over the misguided comments of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, while featuring as guest on a Yenagoa-based radio station on Saturday.
Chief Timipre Sylva’s comments not only lacked finesse but were also indecorous of an exalted citizen of the state occupying a high office.
Coming at a time the state and its citizens are in a celebratory mood as they mark the second anniversary of Governor Douye Diri’s Prosperity Administration, the intention was clearly to dampen morale and score cheap political points.
Interestingly, Bayelsans know better and cannot be swayed by baseless sentiments and the shenanigans of political conflict mongers.
The state government is surprised that having previously been the number one citizen of the state, Sylva displayed crass ignorance about ongoing projects of the Prosperity Government.
While we acknowledge his praises for some of the policies of the Governor Diri administration, we, however, listened to him painfully trivialise some of the newly inaugurated projects of this administration.
For instance, the former governor described the newly inaugurated Igbedi community road as a mere 4.5km road project that does not deserve the invitation of another governor to inaugurate it and that it led to the governor’s wife’s hometown. Pray, is Igbedi not a community in Bayelsa State that deserves the benefits of government projects like any other community? The Honourable Minister might have forgotten that the first phase of the Glory Drive Road he referenced and is taking credit for is not as long as the Igbedi road he condemned.
In his attempt to pour ice on the historic significance of the road, Chief Sylva chose to ignore the fact that this was the only community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state that hitherto was not accessible by road for about 500 years before the Senator Diri administration wiped off their tears. We do not want to believe that the Minister is a kill-joy!
Chief Sylva was also economical with the truth and engaging in the usual deceitful politics of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by saying that Bayelsa was dark at night when he arrived the state. And we ask: which Bayelsa did he visit? Is it the Bayelsa that the Prosperity Administration has installed functional solar-powered lights on all the major roads in the state capital and still lighting up more areas of the city or another state?
If Chief Sylva was referring to darkness arising from power outage, we expect him to know better than to point accusing fingers at the state government for that. We do not think he deserved to be educated on this as someone we expect should know about the privatisation of power in the country.
The state government would also not gloss over his falsehood about the ongoing Judges Quarters project at Opolo. Our records show that the referenced project was not completed by the immediate past administration and so could not have been inaugurated by the Senator Seriake Dickson government before leaving office. It is mischievous to deliberately misinform Bayelsans and the radio audience that the current administration has revisited an inaugurated project in order to re-inaugurate it. To set the records straight, the project was only flagged off towards the end of the past administration and was never inaugurated.
We are not surprised about his criticism of the ongoing work on the second phase of the Isaac Boro Road project. It is consistent with his condemnation and that of his party’s loyalists of the Bayelsa airport project when it was under construction and till date. They have always bandied figures on the cost of the project. However, today they gleefully use the airport that they vehemently opposed its construction.
Importantly, there are records of projects purportedly executed and monies released during Sylva’s time as governor for five good years with nothing to show on ground. People living in glass houses should be careful how they throw stones.
Asked about the extinction of APC in Bayelsa State following massive defection to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his response was not only shocking but also ludicrous to say the least that no single person had left the APC. Really?
Obviously, Sylva and his ilk are still seething and yet to recover from the lethal blow the February 13, 2020 Supreme Court judgement dealt them. And we sympathise with them.
Perhaps, he thinks taking potshots at Governor Diri could shore up the already flailing fortunes of his APC in the state and at the national level.
Regardless of comments by a misfiring Minister of the Federal Republic, the administration remains focused on bettering the lot of the Bayelsa people and refuses to be distracted by those who choose to play politics with development of the state at all times.
The government restates its position that the PDP-led Prosperity Administration of Governor Douye Diri would not play the APC brand of politics with development of our state. If in just two years in office, the administration has received and is receiving plaudits for its people-oriented projects and policies, then Bayelsans have reasons to be hopeful of better days ahead under a PDP administration.
Hon. Ayibaina Duba is the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy.