Sylva is best for Bayelsa APC, says Daumebi – The Nation Newspaper

Festus Daumebi was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Bayelsa State Central Senatorial District in the last general elections. He spoke with MIKE ODIEGWU on the November 16 governorship election and the chances of the aspirants at the primary.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is preparing for governorship primary in Bayelsa State. What is your view?

As a leader of the APC in Bayelsa State, who represented the party to fly the flag of the largest senatorial district in the general elections, there is no doubt or it is unambigious to say that Chief Timipre Sylva, who is the leader of the party in the state, is the only man with the requisite political structure to win the governorship election for the party and to salvage the state from the shackles of bad governance as we currently experience in this state.

You will agree with me that Chief Timipre Sylva was in 2012 forcefully removed from office under a political coup. He was a victim of political circumstances, power play that played out at that time but I am sure that those that orchestrated his removal and the enthronement of the present government are even more disappointed than Timipre Sylva himself.

So, the only way to rewrite our past wrongs is to support him chief Sylva to complete his remaining four years. Under his Excellency Chief Timipre Sylva we experienced near 24 hours power supply in Bayelsa state. Residents were able to close their two eyes and sleep in this state. When you talk these things some persons will say Famtamgbe this Famtamgbe that. I challenge anybody in this state, who was murdered by the Timipre Sylva government to come up with evidence because those things are just political blackmails.

Famtamgbe was there to confront cultist and armed robbers. No decent law abiding indigene of this state was ever harassed by Famtamgbe. I want to hear one person come out to say that for no reason he was harassed or detained by Famtamgbe or by Timipre Sylva administration. But today we see a government that openly fantasizes with cultists. We see a government that patronizes criminals. In fact, one of the surest ways of winning the heart of the present government is for you to be a criminal. That is where Bayelsa has found itself.

Let us put the record straight, Timipre Sylva constructed 54 internal roads, opening up the state within the state capital but here is a man that for seven and half years has been dualizing the Isaac Boro road that was constructed by his Excellency,  D.S.P Alamiesiegha of blessed memories. So for Bayelsa to recoup his past glory, the only option is Timipre Sylva.

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How do you resolve the internal wrangling in APC?

There are no internal wrangling in APC. Politics is a game, a struggle for power. That does not mean that we are enemies. If you think that there is wrangling  in the APC, what will you say about in the PDP where one man is parading himself as the king of a conquered land. Bayelsa is not a conquered territory. No single person can lay claim to Bayelsa. It is only God Almighty that owns Bayelsa state. Let me tell you, from its creation in 1996 till today, God has proven that Bayelsa doesn’t not have a champion. If you think one man will stay in his house and determine the affairs of Bayelsa and Bayelsans, it’s a lie. It will not happen. God will take the glory at the end of the 2019 elections in Bayelsa state.

But some leaders in your party say Timipre Sylva can’t win elections and they cited the election of 2015. Do you think he can do in 2019, what he could not do in 2015?

Let that leader bring his own unit result that says Timipre Sylva can’t win elections. As a matter of fact, I was the at the frontline in the 2015 gubernatorial elections especially the rerun. I was virtually involved at every stage and so am in a better position to speak than every other leader of the party. Timipre Sylva won that election landslide. But some circumstances played out in that election. His Excellency Chief Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, just lost his re-election at the centre to the AAPC. So, that sympathy was there that this is Jonathan’s state and if APC wins Bayelsa it will be like they removed him from the center and also came to oppress him in his state. But today by virtue of his office as a former president of this country from our state, our leader, Dr. Jonathan is as disappointed as every other Bayelsans in the present government. So, the sympathy factor will no longer play out. It is going to be an entirely different scenario.

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Some people are asking Sylva to accept a ministerial appointment and support a different person to win the governorship ticket. What is your view?

Don’t let anybody deceive you with such advice. As it stands in Bayelsa APC today, even if any other person in Bayelsa APC is going to win election, that candidate inclusive of myself needs the support of Chief Timipre Sylva. You can’t win election in Bayelsa without Chief Timipre Sylva’s support under APC. It is not possible. Let us not call white, black and black, white and run down our leaders. Sylva is my leader and unarguably the leader of APC in Bayelsa and  APC is one united strong family.

The former Minister, Heineken Lokpobiri, is in the race and he says he is sure of the ticket. Don’t you foresee serious division in APC?

It is everybody’s right to contest and the the former minister has the right as a member of the party and as a Nigerian to contest but like I said earlier, Timipre Sylva is the only man with the requisite political structure and will to win elections for the party and the state at large. He has built bridges across party lines. It is not about APC. I tell people, anybody that is coming to govern this state should not center his force on his party alone because you are not coming to govern a party. Bayelsans in the past seven and half years have experienced misrule. Our economy as a state is completely crumbled. Nothing as you will bear me witness is happening in this state. It is a capital flight.

This is a state the government claims to have spent between N65 to 120billiom naira building an airport but the governor and all his appointees, don’t fly from there. The other day,  I flew the same flight with the Chief of Staff to the governor from Port Harcourt Airport. What happened to the one he claimed to have built? This government has nothing to offer Bayelsans and that is why Bayelsans must remain united to resist any imposition.

Don’t you think it is too late for Sylva to declare his intentions and prepare for the APC primary?

That is why we are calling on him. The structures Timipre Sylva has built in this state and in the APC if he declares in 24hours to the primaries that he is going to contest, he is going to win. We are sure. I am not just an ordinary member of this party. I a senetorial candidate. If there is anybody amongst these  people that are showing interest to contest that is qualified I think I am also qualified by virtue of my outings in the last general election. I gave the PDP, their candidate and the state government a fight for their money.

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But the truth is that  I concede like every other well-meaning Bayelsans and member of the party that our leader Chief Timipre Sylva is the only man that can win election and let me add this, our national APC should be mindful how we go about this election. Any other person handed over this party ticket without Chief Timipre Sylva or his support will be an exercise in futility.

Let nobody deceive you. We can all go out and open campaign offices and say we want to contest. To declare an interest to contest is one thing, getting a party ticket is another thing and winning the general election is another thing. You mentioned the former minister; he my elder brother, a friend and I respect him alot.  I hold him in a very high esteem but this is one man that is from Ekeremor.  From that same senetorial district with two local government completing eight years for the first time and another person will come from there for another eight years. Alot of factors will play against him.

Politics is all about structures. You can’t win an election without structures and that is not to say the former minister does not have structures. He does, but not as solid as the foundation of Chief Timipre Sylva. That is why I am calling on all leaders of the party to rally round and behind Sylva. Let us support him. He has only years so let us support him and rebuild the state. We need a man that has the audacity to challenge the present restoration government and the only person that Seriake Dickson, the governor of Bayelsa state and restoration governor fears is Chief Sylva. So, if today Sylva decides not to contest, it is only a candidate he supports that can win elections. You can’t write him off.

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