Tension in Bayelsa State has been rising with claims and worries about the political support some former militant leaders in the State are giving during the gubernatorial campaigns. The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Timipre Sylva and incumbent State Governor Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have reportedly been courting the endorsement of various militant groups throughout the State.
Some former militant leaders have already openly endorsed certain candidates. One former leader, Africanus Ukparasia, popularly called 'General' Africa', publicly declared support for APC candidate Timipre Sylva along with former militant leader Eris Paul also known as General Ogunboss. Other former militants, particularly Government Ekpemupolo, known most notoriously as General Tompolo, is supporting PDP Governor Seriake Dickson.
Mr. Ukparasia told the media yesterday that he had intelligence reports suggesting that Tompolo was plotting to attack parts of Bayelsa State and steal election materials during the gubernatorial election slated for December 4th.
It will be recalled that Tompolo destroyed the home of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2007. According to Mr. Ukparasia, "Tompolo deployed some of his boys in the State to disrupt the recent All Progressives Congress governorship primary election in Bayelsa. Three of those boys were arrested by the Department of State Security in a hotel in Yenagoa."
Tompolo also attacked the government jetty area in Yenagoa and attempted to bomb the Government House before the military intervened.
Tompolo's media adviser, Paul Bebenimibo, responded to Mr. Ukparasia's allegations by saying "my boss has nothing to do with the Bayelsa election. We do not know his (Mr. Ukparasia) relationship with Bayelsa election and for such a person to allege that Tompolo is planning to disrupt Bayelsa poll is senseless, unfortunate and unthinkable. The allegation does not make any sense to us."