By Bartholomew Madueke
DOIFIE OLA was Chief Press Secretary to the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipire Sylva whom he still serves as a spokesman. Ahead of this weekend’s court verdict on the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate in the recent election in Bayesla State, Ola in this interview assessed Sylva’s chances, developments in the state and legacies of the Sylva administration. Excerpts:
How do you evaluate recent political events in Bayelsa State?
Well, events since the governorship election in Bayelsa State have been as malevolent and indecorous as the process that gave rise to them. Recall the indecency, unlawfulness, and impudence that preceded the poll. By reason of that governorship election process, Bayelsa State acquired the dubious renown of being a national reference for everything objectionable to democracy and party politics.
In what respect?
Like I said, the puppet administration in Yenagoa is plagued by a psychological fixation with activities meant to cover up rather than deliver good governance and good life to the people. This is a natural consequence of the illegitimacy surrounding its emergence. The whole world saw how virtually all the major democratic institutions in the country were unashamedly compromised to ensure that Hon. Dickson, President Goodluck Jonathan’s anointed aspirant, was declared governor without a contest.
Actually, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been accused of infidelity to democracy. But then, no one expected that the Abubakar Baraje leadership would descend so low just to ensure that a candidate qualified by its own constitution and the constitution of Nigeria was excluded from a supposedly democratic election.
Till date, the party has not come out to tell the world why incumbent Governor Timipre Sylva was excluded from the Bayelsa State governorship race. PDP did not have any reason for the exclusion of Sylva, and they feel they do not owe anybody an explanation. But under democracy, you cannot be immune from scrutiny by the public and society’s democratic institutions.
But the party has given explanations…
I don’t understand what you mean by explanations. Are you talking about explanations known to the laws of Nigeria and the PDP constitution or explanations that simply exist in the secret recesses of some person’s mind? Then acting PDP national chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, came out to tell the world that he would make public Sylva’s sins. When he was challenged in the media to expatiate his statement, he turned round to say Sylva should tell his sins. This was after they had tried some kites that could not fly, like attempting to rope Sylva into a trumped up treasonable offence – that he planned to kill the president and his wife – and the EFCC instrument.
What is your reaction to the Alaibe committee report?
Everything is wrong with that report. Like the lawyers would say, you can’t put something on nothing. From the composition of the committee to its terms of reference, it was clear that the whole thing was an attempt to put something on nothing. How could anybody appoint Timi Alaibe to head a probe panel on the activities of someone he considers his arch political enemy? The contents of the Alaibe committee report are so ridiculous that it assumed that the government of a state did not spend money on anything for the people in four years.
The figures that were rolled out by the committee as allegedly misappropriated funds were almost the whole monies that accrued to the state for the period. At least, there are projects executed by the Sylva government within the period, which a serious report could have tried to scrutinise in terms of adherence to the laws of the state. The Alaibe committee just got carried away by the script it was set up to act.
Last month, you raised an alarm about the invasion of your home by some persons. What really happened?
On Monday, March 19, 2012, my residence in Yenagoa was invaded by about ten strange men, including four armed ones in police uniform. They claimed to be members of a certain taskforce set up by Dickson to recover government vehicles. When I cried out, the government responded by alleging that Sylva’s aides left with over 200 vehicles. Now, if Dickson is saying Sylva’s aides left with over 200 cars in the Government House fleet, let him provide evidence. It is very easy, as the head driver is a civil servant.