A Group known as the Bayelsa Progress Front (BPF) has described the recent lavish 54th birthday celebration of former Governor Timipre Sylva in Yenagoa over the weekend as “an absurd display of wealth”.
According to the BPF, it is regrettable that Sylva, who presided over a failed government for six years and was largely responsible for the penury and misery in the state, resorted to “remorseless ostentatious display of wealth”.
The Secretary-General of the BPF, James Ebipade, said in a statement issued in Yenagoa that Sylva’s decision to “display opulence amidst a citizenry groaning under the crushing weight of the harsh economic policies of the All Progressives Congress (APC) amounted to taking insensitivity to new heights".
The organisation insisted that an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) into Sylva’s corrupt practices, including the seizure of his 48 houses which was truncated when he opted to join the APC, would be welcome development.
He said that as Governor of Bayelsa whose regime was marked by bounty federal allocation, Sylva frittered away the people's money to service his ostentatious lifestyle to the impoverishment of Bayelsa and her citizens.
Ebipade lamented that Sylva tied the debt noose around Bayelsa by taking bonds to overburden the state with huge debts without investments and projects to account for the billions of Naira.
He described the former Governor as a man with summersaulting priorities who lacked the gift of probity and accountability.
Ebipade stressed that the immoral display of wealth only showed in clear terms that it had become too late for Sylva to change, insisting that wastefulness and misplaced priorities seemed to be the strongest characteristics of his DNA.
The BPF said that Sylva’s tenure as governor of Bayelsa was marked by mind-boggling corruption and abuse of office.
Ebipade insisted that the former Governor has a moral responsibility to tell Bayelsans and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians how he managed N708,895,925 billion from the Federation Account aside from the internally generated revenue of N22.02bn and the bonds he took between 2007 and 2011.
He said that a leader with conscience would have taken advantage of the day of his birthday to look inward and explore opportunities to improve the lives of the people which, sadly, was not a priority to Sylva.
According to him, it was not unexpected that Sylva had continued on his path of recklessness and wastefulness, as records indicated that he committed only N68 billion to capital expenditure while recurrent gulped N648,512, 509 billion during his years of infamy in Bayelsa.
The group accused Sylva of leaving behind an underdeveloped, insecure state, which was a haven for cultists, thugs, drug addicts, militants and criminal elements during his six years of misrule.
The BPF said it took years of sustained efforts of the Dickson Administration to obliterate the story of underdevelopment and pathos foisted on the state by Sylva.
Ebipade urged Bayelsans to be wary of the antics of diaspora politicians like Sylva who could boast of 48 houses in Abuja, London, the cities of the United States and South Africa without any in Bayelsa.
He challenged the former Governor to devote attention to the empowerment of the teeming youth populace by way of seed capital to support entrepreneurship rather than sustaining a culture of waste.
Ebipade said that it was a rude irony that Sylva,, who presided over the a catastrophic government whose loudest legacy was penury and misery, could commit hundreds of millions of Naira to celebrate a birthday.
While calling on Sylva to drop his ambition to return to governance in Bayelsa as the state could not afford his regime of waste and corruption a second time, he also advised Bayelsans not to be hoodwinked by Sylva's latest antics.
“Nothing good can ever come out of Sylva. Bayelsans should be more circumspect of characters like Sylva. Our State cannot afford another wasted years from such disgruntled politician who only cares about himself and how to divert its resources to serve selfish and personal interests at the expense of the people”, the BPF stated.