Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the December 5 governorship elections in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, has secured the backing of elders and traditional rulers in the state under the platform of Bayelsa Council of Elders.
The support for Sylva on Saturday took political watchers in the state by surprise. It followed an interactive session between the Candidate and the Council.
At the meeting, the APC flag-bearer pledged not to bear any grudge against any politician and individuals for their role in the incidents that led to his disqualification to run for the second term in 2012 under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his travails under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Present at the meeting were the Chairman of the Council, Chief Francis Doukpoula, and the Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff; Ebidawei of Kolokuma kingdom, King Agara Onya Mozi; Ebidawei of Boma Clan; King Joshua Igbugburu; Dr. Amba Ambaowei; Chief Douglas Naingba; Senator Rufus Inatimi-Spiff and others.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Diete-Spiff said: Sylva is eligible to run. “We have given you our blessings and support. We call on you to be peaceful and carry any grudge against anyone”, he told Sylva in the presence of newsmen. Thereafter, he called for a voice vote from the elders to confirm that the endorsement was freely given, with the “ayes” in the majority.Diete-Spiff added, “We have told him what we want and as one of our members, we like to give him our blessing. We would like to appeal to all contestants to ensure that there is fair and violence free election.
“For Sylva, we will like to say God be with you. We all rejoice with you in your aspiration and we want to ask that all that you promised us here today be kept.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the council, Francis Doukpola explained that though some members were partisan politicians, the council as an institution is not.
“Irrespective of the party you belong, Bayelsa is one. We are brothers and sisters. The group is made up of special people. As an institution, we are not partisan – we are a father figure to all.”
About a week ago, the Bayelsa Council of Elders was reported to have endorsed the governorship candidate of the PDP, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
In his speech before the Traditional Rulers and Elders of the State, Sylva said though he was pained by the refusal of the Elders from the State to reach out to him during the political processes that led to the exit of the former president from office, the decision to meet with them is based on the conviction that his governorship aspiration is based on true justice.
According to Sylva, “I believe if as a Governor, I was allowed to run in 2012,I would have won and done my second term in office. I was disqualified from the office I was occupying. It only happened in Bayelsa… If our elders believe in justice, they must start with me.”
“I hear people say that let us stop this no-second term syndrome. They say let Dickson go for second term. And I say to the people that let the second term start with me. If you wish you may give him second term after I have served mine. I think it beholds on us to put Bayelsa on the path of justice. I am running for office justifiably. And justifiably, I need your support.”