The erstwhile governor of Bayelsa State, and a former acolyte of President Goodluck Jonathan, Timipre Sylva, has again distanced himself from Mr. Jonathan, describing the President as a self-centered man and a “fox” who has nothing to offer the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a whole.
Speaking openly about his strained relationship with the current President on Royal FM radio, Sylva said, ”As far as am concerned I don’t see him as a brother anymore. Who is your brother? Your brother is who looks after you.”
Sylva furthered “This is a so-called brother who pushed [me] to the fox. As far as am concerned my brother is the one I met on the street and took me into his home, and I am sure you will agree with me that a brother who pushed me into the street for the fox to eat me up is not my brother.”
The former two-term governor of Bayelsa State has also called on the people of Bayelsa State to vote against Jonathan in the 2015 election. “I don’t think Bayelsa should make the mistake,” he said. His problem is that he only thinks about himself.”
Sylva’s further explained that his decision to support the candidature of All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), was based on conviction and need for change in the polity. “If I have somebody else that is not my brother but a friend with my interest at heart, it is better.”
He encouraged others in the Niger Delta region to question the purported achievements of the presidency in the region.
“We should be careful,” Sylva said. “Let us look, what has Bayelsa gained from the Presidency? Where is the federal project in the state that is significant? I don’t see any. Not even electricity is available in Otuoke. Look at Bayelsa. Look at the Niger Delta region.”
“Look at the East-West road. Why hasn’t he been able to fix the East-West road? Why is the Brass LNG not working? Because we know where the project was under Obasanjo. Why is it that all they promised us under amnesty has not been fulfilled? You remember they promised us a new city. Where are those small cities, under our brother? Is there any serious institution established here to empower our youths to give them skills? Where is the institution built in Bayelsa? Nothing has been done. What has been done is that some private jets have been bought by their cronies. Is that what Bayelsa is about? Is that what a Niger Delta presidency is about? We all fought for this power but certain people have hijacked it.”
On his alleged removal as Governor of Bayelsa State by the forces of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sylva explained that the rift, which began over his refusal to complete the controversial and costly Tower Hotel project in the state, was what led to his dismissal.
“That project was given for N8 billion and I felt it was too high. But there was nothing I could do about it.
“Because I didn’t want to quarrel with the past administration, I would have cancelled the project. I decided to continue with the projects even though I don’t agree with all of them. I gave out N6 billion to the contractor and he took the project to where we are. And then, he came to me [to say[ that he needed a variation and that the original contract did not include external works, including environmental works. And I was shocked and asked how someone can give you such work without external works?
“I considered it unacceptable. The contractors asked for an additional N5 billion. And I said if I give you the N5 billion, that will bring the cost of project to N13 billion. I said [was] not even too sure that he could complete it with N13 billion, including the fact that it will need furnishing. And I thought it was a white elephant project. A hotel that I thought will cost N18 billion to finish. I said the Bayelsa people needed that money to be channeled somewhere else. Unfortunately, the contractor had some relationship with the President. He was doing some personal contract for the President. The President was quite committed to him.
“I was adamant not to continue with the project. The international value of such hotel will make each room not cost more than $250,000 dollars. 200 rooms at $250,000 thousand dollars was the figure. Already the project was given for more than that. And I stopped it there, but I learnt that the project has gulped another N4 billion and external work has still not been done. And with the external work and furnishing done, the project might cost the state N24 billion.
“Where would the room be that Bayelsa people will sleep in and never be hungry again?” Sylva challenged.
According to Sylva, he is now ready to work with his new-found political friends within the fold of the All Progressive Congress (APC), as the 2015 presidential election approaches.
“Sometimes a good friend is better than a bad brother. If a good friend can come and give us electricity and good jobs, I will go for that good friend rather than go for that bad brother,” he stated.