The Mangrove Boys of Bayelsa, a group of young elements in the creeks of Niger Delta canvassing for improved economic benefits for the Ijaw nation, has concluded plans to stage a 10,000-man march to protest the emergence of former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva [image above], as candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the December 5 governorship election in the state.
A statement by the spokesman of the organisation, Bennard Legite, and obtained by journalists on Friday in Yenagoa premised the action on Sylva’s alleged poor human rights record and lack of performance when he was governor for five years.
The group which said Sylva’s emergence was an insult to its collective membership wondered why it was so difficult for the APC to get a better candidate other than Sylva and has vowed to resist his second coming even as a candidate.
Legite faulted the APC’s decision to pick the former governor as its candidate and wondered if the party was serious about the quest for change or actually interested in winning the election.
According to him, Sylva’s record as governor was so appalling and anti-people as it said the period was marked by alleged violence and killings as well as massive corruption and wastes in government.
The statement reads: “We the collective members of the Mangrove Boys of Bayelsa are saddened by the emergence of former governor Timipre Sylva as the APC candidate for the December 5 governor election in Bayelsa State.
“Even if we have had any sympathy for the APC, its decision to pick Sylva as candidate has totally changed our focus. It runs counter to any logic and decency.
“For a person who for five years can only be remembered for his brutal violence against his people, killing and maiming, rendering many women widows and many children fatherless and with such a record of corruption, then we do not think Sylva’s second coming is good for any purpose in Bayelsa State.
“To demonstrate our resolve to stop Sylva, we are set to mobilise our members and teeming youths of Bayelsa for a 10,000-man march to protest Timipre Sylva’s emergence and his candidacy. It is simply unacceptable for the interest of all our people. It is absolutely inconceivable that APC will field a man currently on trial for corruption by the EFCC. Now, what message is the APC sending out about President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war? These are the moral issues for APC to think about.
“Our protest is to draw the important attention to this malady that Sylva’s emergence will spell doom as a sad reminder of a return to the dark days of killings, cultism, militancy and general insecurity in Bayelsa. Bayelsans have not forgotten the deadly blows they suffered under Sylva’s inhuman regime as governor. We all remember the countless deaths, many wives turned widows and fatherless children.
“We also remember the routine diversion of funds meant for civil servant salaries and a legacy of crippling debt profile. With this ugly past, then our question is: what is Sylva coming to do again? To inflict further punishment on our people or does he think we are so gullible to so accept him? Now, is this the kind of change the APC want us to accept? We think otherwise.
“In the absence of any better candidate from the APC, then we believe it is better for the current governor to continue in office. After all, he has done some good job even when we are asking for more.
“We are using this statement to call on all our members and the entire youths in the state to be prepared for this important 10,000-man march. This time will be different.”
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