Irked by Monday’s castigation of Chief Timipre Sylva by the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Finance, Hon Duate Iyabi, particularly claims that the Hon Dickson Seriake administration inherited a paltry N4,451 from his predecessor and the challenges posed by the N50bn bond his predecessor secured, Niger Delta leaders have risen in defence of the ex-governor, describing the recent attack on Sylva as a ploy to whip up sentiment that would make the ex- governor unpopular and also divert attention from Dickson’s poor performance.
Rising from a meeting in Lagos on Wednesday, Chairperson of the Publicity Committee of the Assembly of Niger Delta leaders, Mrs. Ibifuro Tatua in a statement said Dickson and his collaborators were executing a plan to discredit and hang Sylva.
“It’s obvious that the intention of Dickson and his associates is to destroy Sylva completely apparently because they consider him an obstacle in their life mission to control Bayelsa State and its people” the leaders alleged.
Rather than address issues of development, the leaders accused the governor of resorting to cheap blackmail, blatant lies and diversionary tactics.
“When Sylva took office, he not only inherited an empty treasury but a huge debt burden, which for the sake of decency and respect for his kinsman and predecessor, he refused to disclose publicly” the leaders said.
Reviewing Sylva’s tenure, the leaders said the ex-governor performed excellently in most sectors to the envy of his foes.
“Sylva devoted his energies and state resources to solving the problems of infrastructure in the state, training the youths in Information and Communication Technology in India, sustaining overseas scholarship, protecting oil installations in the creeks, ensuring life changing developmental projects, attracting foreign investments, laying solid foundation for growth and investing in skill development and job creation centres” they said.
Insisting that Sylva’s humility, simplicity and humane disposition made him a friend of the masses, the leaders said Sylva’s dogged commitment to principle in the practice of politics, the rule of law and the best democratic tradition of fairness and justice were some of the attributes that brought him into collusion with the enemies of democracy.
The leaders while asking God to rescue Bayelsa from the likes of Seriake Dickson, urged officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be thorough in the course of carrying out their duties.
“We perceive the attack on Sylva by the EFCC as a political showdown to settle political scores”
They also appealed to critics of Sylva to visit Bayelsa State to see how the state had been plunged into darkness through the leadership style of the present governor.
“The relentless and vicious manner in which Dickson has haunted and poured venoms on Sylva clearly reveal that he is the arrow head of a dark and abhorrent conspiracy meant to destroy the ex-governor at all cost.
“We as a people cannot but admire a man of Sylva’s style, capacity and stature. We identify with him” they added.