YENAGOA — Minister of Petroleum and former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, has called for calm and restraint over the nullification of the election of All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, David Lyon by the Supreme Court and the swearing in of Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as governor.
In a statement, yesterday, he also apologised to President Muhammadu Buhari for the disruption of his programme in relation to his earlier scheduled visit to Bayelsa State to witness the inauguration of Lyon as governor before the Supreme Court judgment.
The Supreme Court last Thursday voided the election of Lyon over the qualification of his running mate and deputy governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo. The court said Lyon’s runningmare presented false information.
The apex court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue the political party and candidate with the second highest votes Certificate of Return. The PDP’s Diri, who came second in the election, received Certificate of Return and was sworn in as governor on February 14.
In his first ever statement since the development, Sylva, who is the arrowhead of the APC in Bayelsa, enjoined Bayelsians to “shun all acts of violence and lawlessness.”
In apologising to President Buhari, he said: “Also of great importance to me is to extend my profound apology to our President Buhari, over the avoidable disruption to his busy schedule which was caused by the events of the moment. I am aware that Mr. President and his lovely wife, Aisha Buhari, had concluded arrangements to travel to Bayelsa to witness the inauguration of the APC governorship candidate as Governor of Bayelsa State. I therefore, extend my apology to Mr President and members of his entourage.”
Sylva asked people of Bayelsa to apply “restraint at all times,” adding that even though “the events of the last few days are as painful as they are regrettable, however, tempting it might be for anyone to take the law into their hands, such temptation must be resisted in the greater interest of our state and the political stability of the country at large.”
He said the APC leadership had directed its team of legal experts to “study the situation critically and proffer legal options available to the party accordingly. We should therefore, all remain faithful to, and have confidence in, the wisdom and ability of the party leadership to provide direction at this very sensitive time.”
The minister urged the people, “irrespective of whatever differences there may be to eschew violence and respect the security measures put in place by appropriate authorities.”
He gave assurance that “despite this temporary setback, APC in Bayelsa remains strong and its members resolute in our support for the ideals of a greater and prosperous Nigeria as envisioned by our President, Buhari.”