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Southern Ijaw: Sylva, Militants Strategise for January Polls

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, last Sunday visited the troubled Southern Ijaw area of the state as guest of two notorious militant leaders, General Africa and Ogunbos, who were believed to have spearheaded the violence which marred the last governorship election in the state.

Sylva was said to have stormed Southern Ijaw in a manner many felt was “less desirable” because of the implication for peace and stability ahead of the rescheduled rerun election.

Although it was gathered that Sylva was in the area to “plot strategies” for the election, the huge presence of state security men and political thugs reported to be among those who created the mayhem that led to the cancellation of the Southern Ijaw election jolted the public.

Three military gunboats were used to convey Sylva to Southern Ijaw, sending mouths wagging on the neutrality of the military in the rescheduled supplementary election.

Sylva, who arrived Ogboinbiri in Southern Ijaw in company of some APC stalwarts, was said to have been received by Ogunbos and General Africa, surrounded by hordes of thugs and supporters as they chanted war songs eulogizing the arrival of the APC candidate.

Shouts of “Opua-Abadi” rented the air which is the chieftaincy title of Timipre Sylva as the stern looking thugs were all over him proclaiming their readiness to repeat the mayhem which led to the cancelation of the election in the area during the rerun on January 9.

A source who witnessed the scene but refused to be named said he was shocked to see the APC candidate storming Ogbiinbiri in such a fashion replete with “security tension” and in the midst of those known by the public to have perpetrated the violence which caused deaths and destruction of properties during the elections of December 5 and 6″.

The reliable source said he was further shocked to see that Sylva came to Ogbinbiri in three military gunboats and was escorted into the community by seven armed military men along with retinue of other security operatives dressed in mobile police uniforms and supported by some armed plain clothes security personnel believed to be men of the DSS.

Sylva was said to have later been hosted to a feast spiced with local traditional wrestling as side entertainment hosted by the duo of General Africa and Ogunbos during which strategies for the rerun election were believed to have discussed.

The source, however, wondered why Sylva, who is not a political office holder, should be accorded such security protection even in the company of those who were believed to have masterminded the huge violence that led to deaths and destruction of properties in the past.

“It’s disturbing that we can still see this level of impunity. It doesn’t help us and as things stand, nobody can be sure of what will happen during the rerun election. The signal from these national institutions is not encouraging”, the source stated.

He also expressed great concern that while these persons were yet to be arrested, interrogated and charged to court, Sylva was still seen fraternizing with them so openly, a situation he said, encourages continuation of such impunity.



Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council has called on the Inspector General of Police to forthwith without delay arrest and bring to book all those said to be behind the mayhem in Southern Ijaw on December 5 and 6, noting that where crime is not punished, the law loses its deterrence and society pays dearly for it.


The IYC in a statement made available to journalists in Yengoa and signed by the Chairman of the IYC Central Zone, Bobolaiyefa Owoipele, stated that there was need for the IGP to move swiftly to arrest these persons especially with reports that there are plans to have a repeat of the mayhem and violence in the rescheduled January 9 supplimentary election in Southern Ijaw.



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