*It’s A Non-issue – Sylva.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri has been accused of being an interloper who bought the Bayelsa State Ministerial slot into the Muhammadu Buhari administration from Timipre Silva.
The Bayelsa State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by its Chairman, Chief Timipa Tiwei Orunimighe, at a press conference held at the National Headquarters of the party in Abuja also demanded immediate resignation from office as minister.
According to him, Timipre Sylva collected an undisclosed amount of money from Lokpobiri before submitting his name to the President as the ministerial nominee from Bayelsa.
The Bayelsa State APC chairman, also alleged that Sylva had also compiled and submitted names of some other non-APC members and submitted same to the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) without state executives’ knowledge.
He insisted that Lokpobiri was not a member of the party in heart and in deed, as he had derided the party when he was invited to join prior to the 2015 general elections.
“We want to call on the Minister representing Bayelsa, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, the junior minister, to resign his appointment reason being that he paid for the slot of his ministerial position and I also believe and those of us standing here know very well that he is not a member of the party,” he alleged
The party chieftains accused Sylva of sidelining the State executive against the rules of the party, and constituted himself into a tin god, wanting to dictate to all party members.
“The issue why we are standing here before you today is because of the appointments that we feel were supposed to be given to those of us of the APC in Bayelsa.
“It’s a pity to say that for somebody like Timipre Sylva who was supposed to be the leader of the party, today turn against the party and sold our party slots for whatever he feels, may be money or whatever, he feels that our party slots can be sold.
“As APC chairman in Bayelsa and very strong Exco, we have spoken with him, we told him we will stand against that as a people; if we can stand against Jonathan as a President, if we can stand against the governor of Bayelsa state Seriake Dickson to tell him we don’t like his antecedent as governor, we can also tell our leader that we don’t like his antecedents. We are not ready as a people to sell any slot of appointments to be given to Bayelsans.
“The other issue we want to tell you members of the press is that, if it comes to losing our right hands just as we have done, some of us have been arrested before for what we believe in, we have being to cell for what we believed in and we will stand also to defend what we have believed in.”
The Bayelsa APC leaders, therefore, called on President Buhari and national leaders of the party to intervene in the matter.
“We want to call on Mr. President, the National leadership of our party APC, to be aware of this that as state leadership, we will not accept this, but we are not into war with anybody. We want a very peaceful atmosphere where we can dialogue and bring quality and qualified Bayelsa APC members to serve in those places the government of Nigeria would deem fit for Bayelsa”, he said.
The alleged atrocities of Sylva, he said, has been officially communicated to the National Working Committee of the party.
However, sylva has dismissed the allegations raised against him, saying the State Chairman was only being myopic.
His words; “They felt that they are the ones that started the party and therefore we should not deal with anybody who is coming late into the party. When the Ministerial slot came, the chairman told me he wanted to be Minister and he is not qualified to be Minister. His only experience in Nigeria is that he has been a local government chairman and I made him local government chairman. He was local government chairman under me. That is his only experience in life and he said he wants to be Minister and I told him, you can’t be Minister because this is a serious government.
“I also told them that the people who are joining us, we need to give them a sense of belonging and so, Heineken was nominated. We also looked at the spread in the state, I was contesting for governor from the East, he, as the Chairman is from the Central and Heineken is from the West and so, I felt we should take somebody from the West to be Minister and Heineken became Minister.
“Heineken was Minister in November or so. Why is it that it is today that he remembers? Why didn’t he make that noise then?
“After we lost election, this same person has gone ahead to take money from Dickson. I was told and yesterday (Tuesday, March 29, 2016) I confronted him. He has been collecting money from Dickson and I didn’t want to start problem in the party because I felt that we have entered it already. But he thinks this is the only way to destabilize the party and I don’t think he will succeed. That is the problem, but it is not an issue. It is a complete non issue” .