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 Bayelsa Guber: Why Ijaws, Others Are Against You, Clark Tells Sylva In Open Letter 

Bayelsa Guber: Why Ijaws, Others Are Against You, Clark Tells Sylva In Open Letter 

A former federal commissioner and Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, has told the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, that people of the state were against his candidature for fear of insecurity and victimisation of political opponents and innocent citizens.

Clark, who is also a national leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), in an open letter to Sylva whom he addressed as his dear son, also warned the former minister of state for Petroleum Resources, to allow free and fair election in the state and his hometown of Nembe, “which is already becoming a war zone.”

LEADERSHIP reports that the Bayelsa State governorship election comes up on Saturday, November 11, 2023.

In the letter obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, Chief Clark recounted how he had cautioned Sylva in the past against resorting to violence in seeking political power in the state.

The elder statesman, who threw his weight behind the incumbent Governor and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Douye Diri, accused Sylva of working against the interest of the Niger Delta as petroleum minister by imposing an “oppressive 3%” equity stake for oil and gas producing communities in the PIB despite protest from stakeholders.

Clark further accused Sylva of not implementing the 3% equity stake even as he permitted 30% for exploration activities in frontier basis particularly in the North.

The open letter reads in part:

“This my letter will come to you as a surprise because to you, you have done nothing to offend me or against Ijaw people. This you demonstrated when you excitingly paid me an unscheduled visit during which you stated that you have come to obtain your father’s blessings before you will go and see Mr. President. You then mentioned that some of your colleagues from the north have bought you a presidential form at the cost of ₦100 million. Thereafter, we celebrated and I offered you my fatherly blessings in your contest to be a Presidential Aspirant of the APC.

“We still feel that the goodwill which existed between me and you and His Royal Majesty, King Edmund Daukoru of Nembe Kingdom, your former boss, still exist when I single-handedly contributed to your becoming the successor of then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, when he became the running mate to late President Umaru Yar’adua in 2007. All that is now history. Unfortunately, you burnt the goodwill I have for you when you championed violence in the general elections on two occasions in Bayelsa State.

“Firstly, it was during the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State between you and Senator Seriake Dickson, where both of you because of your personal ambition imposed violence on the innocent citizens of Bayelsa State. I remember criticizing both of you at a press conference in Abuja, and I reproduce hereunder the extract of that press conference as reported in the Vanguard newspaper of 14th January, 2016.”

The former federal commissioner also said that during the 2019 general election, Sylva, as an APC politician, allegedly engaged in violence activities during the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the State.

He recalled that at the end of the elections, the Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum, which he leads, issued a statement condemning Sylva and Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, who was the minister of Transportation in former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for allegedly championing violence during the elections in Bayelsa and Rivers States.

Clark, however said, “I am terribly disappointed that you have not stopped this brutal and violent approach to election. The statement made by your running mate in Brass during campaign has gone viral in the media that “anyone who misbehaves will be thrown into the river to drown”, “some people will die, it’s not the first time people die in elections.”

“You have not renounced the statement rather; you are trying to defend him. Too bad. This categorically demonstrates that you are a security risk during general elections in the State.

“Finally, on this issue of violence, I observed during your tenure in office as Governor of Bayelsa State, you appointed a security committee under the leadership of one militant fellow, late Mr. Richard Kpodo, from Torufani, and the name of the security outfit was called Operation Famou Tangbe, meaning ‘kill and throw away’. It is common knowledge that this security outfit committed a lot of atrocities in Bayelsa State, including killings, raping, harassing political opponents, etc, until the Presidency intervened. You can therefore see the reasons why most of our Ijaw people in Bayelsa and other residents are against your candidature for fear of insecurity and victimization of political opponents and innocent citizens.”(LEADERSHIP.NG)

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