Sylva not imposing any candidate, says APC chieftain
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Gift Ebiki, has dismissed claims by some party members that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, was on a mission to impose a candidate on the party in Bayelsa State.
Ebiki, who spoke in Yenagoa, said the statement claiming that Sylva was exerting undue influence on the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) amounted to over-reaction and falsehood.
He described the statement credited to Richard Kpodo as unfortunate, saying the party’s preference for direct primaries in Bayelsa was a majority decision to check manipulation, corruption and shenanigans.
According to him, the NWC was monitoring the situation in Bayelsa and the desperation of some aspirants to manipulate their way through indirect primaries and foist themselves on the party. He said the collective position of APC for direct primaries was to ensure the election of a popular candidate who could win the election.
Ebiki added that claims that Sylva lost the 2015 election was untrue, and insisted that the former governor won the election but was upstaged by circumstances beyond his control.
He said: “In this 2019 election, Sylva has demonstrated that he is a true party man. He delivered his senatorial seat, House of Representatives seat and four House of Assembly candidates. Where were those people calling him names today? How much did they deliver? Southern Ijaw, Nembe and Brass councils gave over 80,000 votes to Buhari through the efforts of Sylva and David Lyon. How many votes came from Sagbama, Ekeremor?
“We need people with electoral value, not party faithful by propaganda. Politics is about value not propaganda. So, let them go and deliver their wards and local government areas to be sure they are faithful party members. Sylva is our leader.
“Why are they afraid of direct primaries? If they are popular, they should not be afraid because direct primaries test your popularity. They want to manipulate in connivance with other forces outside Bayelsa and that is why they are making references to Rivers and Zamfara.
“Politics is about participation and direct primaries allow everybody to participate. Popular candidates are not afraid of direct primaries. It is the core of democracy. The 2019 elections show those who are leaders of APC in the state.”