The Ijaw Leaders Forum (ILF), a body of leaders of thought, has expressed concern over the comments made by Sokoto State governor, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, during the inauguration of the campaign council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva.
The ILF said the comment was a kite being flown by APC to rig the December 5 Bayelsa state governorship election.
Tambuwal had said at the occasion that the APC will “deliver the state” but which the leaders said suggested a plot to rig APC into power by hook or crook. The leaders had predicated their understanding of Tambuwal’s comments on the notion that Sylva was not a popular candidate and as such could not win in a free and fair election except through rigging.
In a statement by the Publicity Secretary of the body, Prof. Friday Brisbie-Williams, on Wednesday and made available to the Press, it took a swipe at Tambuwal, warning that any attempt to rig the December 5 governorship election will be resisted by the people.
The statement which noted that only Tambuwal among the five other members of the campaign council constituted by the APC national leadership attended the event, said plans by the opposition party in the state to manipulate the election will fail.
It also said the absence of the other members was an indication that Sylva has been deserted because he carries much baggage that could dent their image and should better be avoided.
The ILF commended Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, for turning down the offer to chair the campaign council just as the other absentee members were praised for “their sense of decency”.
The statement recalled the role Tambuwal was said to have played by working against former President Goodluck Jonathan while as Speaker of the House of Representatives, stating that by such actions he was an enemy of the Ijaw nation.
“We Ijaws know who are our enemies and we will ensure that our people are effectively mobilized to stop our enemies and their party from having a foothold in Bayelsa”, it stated.
Sylva’s credibility as a candidate of the APC also came under scathing attack as the leaders were convinced that he lacked the moral basis to lead the state, noting his alleged corrupt past.
“It is indeed a shame that the APC is fielding a man like Timipre Sylva who is standing trial for corruption by the EFFC. The EFCC had allegedly unearthed part of the stolen Bayelsa monies by Chief Timipre Sylva in over 47 seized buildings in the country. The cases of diversion of funds was also extended to projects such as the second part of the Gateway Road project estimated at N18 billion but was inflated to N28 billion and carted away through a company known as FAK Engineering. The managing director of FAK Engineering, Fakuma Ilagha, is a cousin to the former governor”.
The forum, however, commended Ijaw leaders like Chief Alex Ekiotene and Senator John Braimbaifa and others for returning to the PDP. It also commended APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, “for being forthright by telling the world of his rejection of Sylva’, stating further that “for fielding Sylva, APC will lose Bayelsa to the PDP. That’s the fact on the ground in Bayelsa.”