President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday broke his silence on the disqualification of former Governor Timipre Sylva from contesting the November 19 governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Bayelsa State, saying Mr. Sylva’s five-year reign as governor was a monumental disgrace.
Mr. Jonathan, who expressed regret over the Mr. Sylva’s tenure, lamented that his administration failed to stimulate development and complete worthy projects left behind by his administration, citing the Five-Star Hotel project among others, resulting in the frustration of the people who openly stoned him during the Presidential rally sometime in October 2010.
The President, clad in cream colour Ijaw attire while addressing the crowd in Yenagoa, during the presentation of the PDP flag to Seriake Dickson and his running mate, John Jonah, said though nobody could truncate the PDP train from occupying Creek Haven, the administration of Timipre Sylva was a setback for the state as it failed to promote development.
The President said, “Everybody knows that in our society, we need development. I was second in command to Alamieyeseigha. One thing I remember is the Tower Hotel. It was not my dream but it was conceptualized under the Alamieyeseigha administration. He discussed with the contractors. It was supposed to be a Five-Star Hotel and it would attract people from all over the world. But now, it is a monument of disgrace. One thing I know is that God is with Bayelsa people.”
The President was at the rally in company with his wife, Patience, the Vice President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Acting National Chairman of the Party, Abubakar Baraje, some principal officers of the National Assembly, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Timi Alaibe and many other government officials and politicians.
At a point, Mr. Jonathan turned to the PDP candidate and said, “Dickson you brought the people from Abuja to present flag, the only thing I want to do is to tell you that sometimes ago I was in Bayelsa and the people stoned the governor. I was here and you must work hard for Bayelsa not to stone you. The day they stone you, I will join to stone you.”
The President, who described Mr. Dickson as a lucky person to be presented the PDP flag on the birthday of the party’s national acting chairman however urged him not to relent in making Bayelsa the envy of other states in terms of development.
The President expressed confidence in his choice and that of his running mate and called on Bayelsans to rally round the duo at the Saturday poll.
Earlier in his speech, former chairman of the ruling party’s board of trustee, Tony Anenih, advanced reasons Sylva lost his return bid, saying it was to enforce discipline among party members.
He said, “The party stood firm to enforce discipline. What you are seeing here is the result of that discipline,” and went on to speak in parable noting “You can never grow older than your parents.
“When you grow older than your parents, you will never grow old. When a child insisted on eating the vulture and the father tried to convince him not to and he insisted. It will be better you tell the child that those that have eaten the vulture in the past are no more. I am happy that the President is from the South-South. He needs the backing of the people. It is sad to hear that someone we don’t know can challenge him. It will not happen again. All is well.”
Also speaking, the acting national chairman of the party, Abubakar Baraje, said the demand of Bayelsans for a change prompted the party to seek a better candidate in the person of Mr. Dickson.
In his address of welcome, the Acting Governor of Bayelsa, Nestor Binabo, said the crisis that rocked the party was as a result of the complexity of the party adding, “In every large family, we expect misunderstanding and division, the ability to resolve it is what you are seeing here today.
The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of the party flag to Messrs Dickson and Jonah (rtd) by Mr. Baraje.
In his remark, Mr. Dickson assured the crowd he would not betray the confidence reposed in him and promised to move the state and people from neglect and poverty.
“In the new PDP government in the state, we will be working with the youths and elders to replace Bayelsa’s lost glory. We want to turn Bayelsa to the Jerusalem of Ijaw Nation.
“We will work with the people. I am aware of the unwarranted attack on the President, the blackmails and the rest, when we look back at what we did, prosperity will say we have done the right thing.”
The President and other dignatories also used the opportunity of the rally to cut the birthday cake of the party chairman at the Samson Siasia Stadium venue of the rall, y to the admiration of the crowd.