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Oshiomhole Governor, Sylva in war of words over cancelled Bayelsa primaries

Oshiomhole alleged that the conduct of the exercise was marred by violence unleashed by Sylva and his hired thugs.

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Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole and former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva have engaged in a war of words following the cancellation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries in Bayelsa.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State play

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State

(Daily Post)

 

Oshiomhole alleged that the conduct of the exercise was marred by violence unleashed by Sylva and his hired thugs.

Timipre Sylva play

Timipre Sylva

(The Spark)

 

Sylva had initially emerged winner but the Edo governor accused him of hijacking the elections which held on Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

“I was appointed with six other members from the APC to conduct the governorship primary in Bayelsa State. The exercise took place yesterday and, somehow, thugs took over the sports complex where the exercise was to take place,” Oshiomhole said.

“They practically prevented the actual delegates from participating and as a result, we could not proceed with the exercise. The committee was virtually held hostage, including my humble self and, this time, they were supervised unfortunately by one of the aspirants, the former governor of the state, Timipre Sylva, who said to my face and to the committee that we could not leave the venue of the conference unless we conducted the exercise without accreditation, as prescribed by the national secretariat.

When it became clear that our lives were under threat, I had to call Abuja to prevail on the Army and the Joint Task Force to provide me with security to enable me to leave the venue because the thugs had effectively blocked the gate under the instructions of Sylva,” he added.

Sylva however responded to Oshiomhole’s allegations describing them as lies.

“It is unfortunate that people like Adams Oshiomhole, the governor of Edo State and former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, who pretend to be incorruptible, would conduct himself in the manner in which he did in relation to the Bayelsa State governorship primary. It was clear that Oshiomhole never wanted to conduct the primary as scheduled,” Sylva said in a statement issued through his Media Adviser, Doifie Bukoribo.

The statement continues:

“First, on his request, the primary was shifted from its earlier date of Saturday, September 19 to the Tuesday, September 22 date. The grouse of the delegates was that the primaries had been shifted once on Oshiomhole’s request. That shift caused enough hardship already. The ‘comrade’ was again shifting the goal post, without giving consideration to these hapless delegates. It was that frustration that we were managing. It is so sad that the governor did not appreciate our effort.”

“Second, as chairman of the APC Electoral Committee, Oshiomhole knew full well that accreditation of delegates was to begin at 8am on Tuesday, September 22, but he came to the venue of the programme well past 12 noon. After he arrived at that late hour, he proceeded with a meeting with the committee members and another meeting with the aspirants. He clearly had preconceived plans about the Bayelsa APC governorship primary.”

“Third, Oshiomhole cannot really say anything about the primary election because he had left the venue at the time voting commenced. Oshiomhole set the process in motion for voting to commence before he excused himself on the grounds that he was going to eat, and he mandated other members of the committee to carry on without him.”

“The world needs to know that the Bayelsa State Electoral Committee is made up of seven members, and of the seven only Oshiomhole left. The other six remained, conducted the primary and declared Sylva winner of the exercise.”

“Fifth, Oshiomhole came to Yenagoa with a clear agenda, which was to get me out of the race at all cost. We are aware that he had been lobbying at the centre to get me out of the race in order to pave the way for one of the aspirants. Indeed, one of the aspirants had boasted openly that Oshiomhole would cancel the primary once he arrived, shortly before his arrival.”

“Oshiomhole should not tell lies, if I was not there, contrary to his insinuation that I rented thugs to manhandle him, the crowd would have manhandled him. I personally accompanied Oshiomhole to the gate when he was going to eat.”

Meanwhile, the postponement of the primaries has been confirmed by APC Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun citing security challenges.

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