The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday restated its resolve to remove newly sworn in Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, hinted of the strategy the party intended to use to achieve the goal, insisting that the will of the Bayelsa electorate would prevail in due course with a call for fresh poll.
“The contentions over the Bayelsa governorship election are far from over. We are all aware of the alleged National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate forgery case of the Bayelsa Deputy Governor-elect, Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo, as well as the decision of national leadership of the APC to continue to pursue all legal avenues to contest INEC’s decision to declare Diri as Bayelsa Governor, having failed to meet the mandatory constitutional requirement to clinch the position.
“I urge all lovers of democracy to continue to demand that the rule of law is adhered to, not only in the case of Bayelsa State, but in all matters. Democracy is a game of numbers and the majority must have their way,” he stated.
Nabena said PDP’s volte face commendation of the Supreme Court and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the declaration of Diri as governor has exposed the opposition party as a fraudulent and a two-faced political party.
Urging Nigerians to be wary of “motor park politicians majorly in the opposition PDP, he stressed the need for adherence to the rule of law.
“The party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while affirming the supremacy of the Apex Court, forwarded a letter to INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu titled: ‘Judgement in Appeal No: SC.1/2020 between Peoples Democratic Party: Request for conduct of fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.’”
“When the Supreme Court decided against the PDP on the Imo State governorship, PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, protested to the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and United States (U.S.) embassies, wailing that Nigeria’s democracy is under threat. What has suddenly changed in the case of the Bayelsa governorship?
“This only goes to show that these foreign concerns and all Nigerians must be wary of the motor park politics and insincere antics of the PDP,” the statement added.
Besides, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has urged calm and restraint over the Supreme Court’s nullification of the election of Lyon and swearing in of PDP’s Diri as governor.
In a statement, Sylva also apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari for the disruption of his programme regarding his earlier scheduled visit to Bayelsa for the inauguration of Lyon as governor before the Supreme Court ruling.
In his first statement since the development, Sylva, a former governor of the state and APC chieftain, enjoined the people to “shun all acts of violence and lawlessness.
“Also of great importance to me is to extend my profound apology to Buhari over the disruption of his busy schedule, which was caused by the events of the moment.
“I am aware that Mr. President and his wife, Aisha had concluded arrangements to travel to Bayelsa to witness the inauguration of the APC governorship candidate. I, therefore, extend my apology to Mr. President and members of his entourage,” he said.
Sylva asked the people of Bayelsa to apply “restraint at all times,” saying, “although the events of the last few days are as painful as they are regrettable, however tempting it might be for anyone to take the laws into their hands, such temptation must be resisted in the interest of our state and the political stability of the country at large.”
He said the APC leadership had directed its team of legal experts to “study the situation critically and proffer legal options available to the party accordingly”, adding, “We should, therefore, all remain faithful to and have confidence in, the wisdom and ability of the party leadership to provide direction at this very sensitive time.”
The minister urged the people, “irrespective of whatever differences there may be to eschew violence and respect the security measures put in place by appropriate authorities.”
He assured that despite the temporary setback, APC in Bayelsa remained strong and its members resolute in their support for the ideals of a greater and prosperous Nigeria as envisioned by President Buhari.
However, there are concerns over fresh attacks on oil facilities following the invalidation of Lyon’s victory. There is the fear that former commanders of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), who backed Lyon during the election, might resort to fresh attacks on oil installations to cripple the state’s revenue from the federation account.
Most of the ex-MEND commanders are mainly from Nembe and Southern Ijaw council areas, which constituted a major resistance to former Governor Seriake Dickson’s administration.
Also, Diri declared that he would run an all-inclusive government and solicited the cooperation and support of all leaders of the state including former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Speaking during a thanksgiving service yesterday at the Gloryland Chapel, Government House, Yanagoa, Diri also urged Sylva, Lyon and other opposition parties to join hands with him in building the state.
The governor who spent his first day in office attending the burial of Governor Emmanuel Udom’s father’s burial in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, thanked God for giving him the mandate and urged all his supporters to be magnanimous in victory.
“I will be governor of all, be it PDP, APC and others. We must remain united and ensure that peace reigns in our land. That is the only time we can be talking of development. Let us work together,” he said.
Diri noted that his priority would be to bring development to all parts of Bayelsa State and that he was willing to consider even members of the opposition parties for appointments.
“Our administration will, however, not condone crime and criminality. No development can take place in the atmosphere devoid of peace,” he said.
In his sermon, Apostle Zilly Aggrey of Royal House of Grace International said no man should take the glory for declaring Governor Diri Governor by the Supreme Court.
Aggrey cautioned against what he described as frivolities in governance and urged the governor to be wary of sycophants who would run down other people for their personal gains.
Meanwhile, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated the PDP on the Supreme Court ruling that sacked Lyon.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika in Asaba, the governor described the ruling as a welcome development for the PDP Diri and Ewhrudjakpo, stating that his confidence in the Judiciary had been rekindled by the ruling of the apex court.
“I urge PDP and the governor-elect to take steps to reconcile all stakeholders in Bayelsa in order to strengthen the party for future elections.
“The news of the Supreme Court ruling on the Bayelsa governorship election came to me with joy, because we have been writhing in pain on the loss of Bayelsa to the APC in the last governorship election in the state.
“We are happy because the Supreme Court has once again restored the people’s confidence in the judiciary,” he said
Meanwhile, the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson, has said that he left the Creek Haven Government House, Yenagoa, a fulfilled man.
The former governor said in a statement by his Media Aide, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, that it was to the glory of God that he left “the Government House in a blaze of glory in spite of the shocking array of political forces who turned against him in spite of the assistance he rendered to them.”
He lamented that the security of Bayelsa was outsourced to criminal elements who unleashed an orgy of violence on the state since 2015.
He recalled that thugs of a political party killed 21 people in Nembe, Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, without the expected concern and condemnation from the Federal Government.
He added that even when the election results were announced against the Peoples Democratic Party, there was no violence in consonance with his politics without bitterness or violence.
He lamented that the thugs of a political party destroyed properties in Yenagoa including the vandalisation of residence at Opolo and destruction of property worth millions of naira in response to the Supreme Court judgment .
He said: “When we were ready for the transition, I called the whole state to pray and fast and we prayed and fasted and I considered a lot of things, I consulted and took decisions.
“You are all in this state. You saw the reactions, and when the elections came, there was nothing possible I didn’t do as a human being for things to go well. People came here with result sheets with the Nigerian military, shut down the whole state, and wrote results and used people to legitimize it, shouting to vilify me to justify the wrong they did. And people believe those lies.
“As we lost there was no violence. I didn’t come into politics to kill people, to destroy or maim.
“Ordinary rally three days to election, they killed 21 human beings. Even if you kill 21 goats or chickens, the owner will shout. Nigerians were not bothered. The security agencies colluded with them to kill our people.
“Since 2015 they have been killing our people, even without election. They will drive people away, burn down their houses; this country since 2015 outsourced Bayelsa to criminals with security agencies supporting and protecting them.
“It was in these circumstances that I held the state just from your support and with the help of the Almighty God.
“I didn’t forget or abandon my agenda for my people while they were distracting me, blackmailing me everywhere, spreading falsehood. The people who should have been supporting and encouraging me were the same people distracting me, destabilising the state. Yet I left Government House very fulfilled to the glory of God.”