By HENRY UMORU, Abuja
ELDERS and Leaders of thought from Bayelsa State yesterday warned governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to stay clear of the politics of the state, and allow the people of the area to decide who becomes their governor.
Chairman of Bayelsa Elders and Opinion Leaders, Col. Sam Inokoba,(Rtd) who addressed newsmen in Abuja yesterday said, ‘’the Governors Forum as a body especially the South-South Governors Forum should desist from applying undue pressure on the PDP and the President to subvert the internal democratic process of the party which is crucial to the enthronement of democracy, adding that ‘’the re-electability of Timipre Sylva is a decision that the people of Bayelsa state and his party. The PDP should determine.’’
Inokoba noted that the governors of the PDP states have enough problems in their respective states to handle as well as provide good governance for their people.
The address which was entitled,’’the fire within”, disowned the Bayelsa federal lawmakers who on Thursday backed the embattled Governor Sylva just as they accused the PDP National Working Committee, NWC, of going beyond its bounds.
The speech read in part, ‘’We, the Bayelsa Elders and Opinion Leaders have viewed with grave concern, the ongoing debate concerning the upcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa State and would like to state that there has been undue meddlesomeness by various groups in the internal matters of Bayelsa State and the PDP.
‘’What appears very disturbing about the Bayelsa situation is the attempt by the Governors Forum to interfere in the PDP governorship candidacy by putting pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the return of Governor Sylva. It is worrisome that the entire PDP governors will leave important state duties in their various states to converge in Abuja to lobby the president for the return of Sylva irrespective of whether he has performed well or not in the eyes of Bayelsans.
‘’The Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi as a democrat himself knows that this is not the best way to force through the candidacy of a colleague.
‘’There is nothing wrong if the PDP Governors give a helping hand to a colleague through campaigning for him if he is the party’s candidate, but until that decision is made, they have no moral right to influence his adoption by the party. The crucial acid test must be based on the performance of Governor Sylva over the past four years and the decision must be left in the hands of the people who are the best to decide the extent of his performance during that period.
‘’We are aware of the huge funds dedicated by the Bayelsa State Government to lobby various persons involved in this matter. Such funds should be used for the development of the state which is in dire need of development after five years of impoverishment by the administration of Timipre Sylva.
‘’Equally, the members of the National Assembly should concentrate on the passage laws and mobilising support for the development of the state ‘’Paragraph 16(f) of the electoral guidelines for primary elections is very clear in stating that “only aspirants whose appeal of the gubernatorial screening appeal panel was upheld shall be qualified to participate in the primary election”. In this light, Timipre Sylva is not qualified to contest as the appeal panel has not cleared him. This is the position as at today and until the NWC of the PDP clears Chief Slyva.
’’No longer should any candidate be it a governor , Senator, House of Representative member or local government chairman be selected to run by any godfather, clique or pressure group. Pressurising him to do otherwise would amount to subverting the same ethos that have been the guiding principle of his administration. ‘’The Bayelsa case is not unique. There are precedence of underperforming PDP governors being denied a second tenure; the case of Governor Mbadinuju of Anambra State easily comes to mind.”
Among those at the briefing were Mr. Foster Ogola who is the Secretary of the Elders, Charles Dorgu; Hon. (Mrs) Marie Ebikake; Chief Walter Feghabor; Sen. K. Brambaifa, Mr. Martins Agbede; Chief Becky Ketebu-Igwe; Chief Itiedu Alfred; Mr. Blessing Izagara; Chief Ikiogha D.B.; Chief Iboro Ige-Edaba; Engr.Forcados Adolphus; Chief Nyanayo Tubo; Dr. Stella Dorgu; and Prof. T.T Isoun.