The frosty relationship between President Goodluck Jonathan and the immediate past Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, is gradually degenerating into a tit- for-tat among aides, who have squared up against themselves in a barrage of media attacks on behalf of their bosses.
Special Adviser to the President on Communication and Media, Reuben Abati, had fired the initial salvo in a recent write-up he sought to justify Mr. Sylva’s exclusion from the Bayelsa State gubernatorial race. But, the former governor’s media aide, Doifie Ola, in a statement on Sunday accused Mr. Abati of “cheap prevarications” and “lamentable imitation of truth and irresponsible misrepresentation.”
“Abati would certainly need a lot more seminars and lectures to interpret his principal’s 03 February “metaphor” in the language Nigerians will understand and, perhaps, exorcise him of the evil burden and guilt of “stoning” to conquer his home state,” Mr. Ola said.
“Since the beginning of the Bayelsa governorship crisis, arising from President Jonathan’s attempts to exclude Sylva, we have been very careful not to drag the presidency into it, in the belief that whatever President Jonathan’s personal interest may be, we all needed to respect the institution of the Nigerian Presidency,” the former governor’s aide added.
“But the point at which President Jonathan tended to forget that he was the president and became so partisan and petty that he jettisoned virtually all known principles of objectivity to celebrate lawlessness and anarchy, we had the responsibility to call him to order. And that was what we did.
“Sylva has no interest whatsoever in hauling insult at anybody or telling lies against anybody. Indeed, if anybody has been lied about, Sylva is the one. President Jonathan has done a lot of things to de-nature himself. No one wants to do him a favour by insulting him. His failed promises and the disaster, which he left behind, even in Bayelsa State, are there for everyone to see.”
He dismissed Mr. Abati’s claims about a “law-abiding regime” of President Jonathan, saying: “How do you talk of a law-abiding regime when you have to militarise a state on the eve of an illegal party primary election deliberately to wage a psychological warfare against the people and make your anointed candidate “win” without a contest?
“How do you talk of a law-abiding regime when Mr. President openly declared at the rally that “NOBODY CAN STOP US”? This was a point we deliberately did not want to go into since the matter was before the Supreme Court. When Mr. President threatens that nobody will stop him from having his way in the Bayelsa governorship race, he has ceased to speak the language of politics.
“Does this “nobody-body-can-stop-us” attitude not constitute a threat to even the judges who are yet to rule on the matter before them? We used to think that it was only in motor parks that such an attitude was preferred!
“But most disastrous in all these, perhaps, is the fact that President Jonathan is dividing Bayelsa State for his self-aggrandisement, and he has done so in a very crude way. One would have thought that no matter the “sins” of Sylva, the president would have found a way to manage the situation since this is arguably our best time for development, so that there can be unity of purpose on all sides to develop the state.
“It is sad that rather than unite the state for the purpose of development, President Jonathan is dividing the people in ways that the division would remain with us for a very long time to come. This, certainly, is not a good payback to Bayelsa and, indeed, the Ijaw nation for their enormous contribution to the making of the first Nigerian President of Niger Delta origin.”
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