By Michael Eboh
Timipre Sylva, the newly appointed Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, appears to be returning to a terrain he had traversed before.
In 2002, Sylva was appointed Special Assistant to Dr. Edmund Daukoru, the then Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, and he’s returning to the terrain 17 years after; but this time, as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, the same position of his former principal.
In a brief ceremony, Wednesday, after his swearing-in, organized by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Sylva, who was born July 7, 1964 in Okpoma, then in Rivers State, but presently in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, was heard telling some directors and heads of parastatals, “I am back.”
At the brief welcome ceremony held at the petroleum ministry, he promised to reposition the petroleum ministry after concluding his familiarization briefing and chart a way forward for the industry.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had asked to meet with him, with a view to giving him certain mandate, noting that afterwards, he would be meeting with Directors and Heads of parastatal in the ministry.
“I know we have a very competent management in the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, Department for Petroleum Resources, DPR and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB. I would like to take some briefing from all of you, after which I would make some proper response.”
Sylva, who studied English Language/Linguistics at the University of Port Harcourt and did his mandatory National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, programme at Shell Petroleum Development Company at Warri, Delta State, was a shining star of the renowned ghetto city of Ajegunle.
He completed his primary education at Ajeromi Central School I in Olodi-Apapa, Ajegunle in Lagos in 1976, after a brief stint at St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, Okpoma. He later moved to Government Secondary School, Brass from 1976 – 1981 for his secondary education.
His working career started with the National Minority Business Council, Port Harcourt, after which he was elected to represent his people at the Rivers State House of Assembly between 1991 and 1992 on the platform of the National Republican Convention, NRC.
He was later instrumental to the setting up of the United Nigeria Congress Party, UNCP, where he served as the State Financial Secretary.
He later left politics to return to private business, but soon came out, as he joined the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999. He was appointed Political Advisor to then Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, and then Special Assistant to former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, after resigning as an aide to the former governor in 2002.
Sylva was also a member of the Governing Council of Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, until 2004.
He was later elected Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, from May 29, 2007 till April 16, 2008 when the Appeal Court nullified Sylva’s election.
In the re-run election in May 2008, Sylva was once again re-elected and he governed Bayelsa State from May 27, 2008 to January 27, 2012.