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Sylva Pays Belated Visit to Alamieyeseigha’s Widow

*Almost denied audience*

Two weeks after his death, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timipre Sylva, has paid a belated condolence visit to the widow of former governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. 

The widow was not initially ready to receive him until after she was persuaded to do so, it was leant.

The visit was seen as a hurried one coming after the state governor, Seriake Dickson, had criticized Sylva and his supporters for rejoicing over the death of Alamieyeseigha the first civilian governor of Bayelsa State.

Sylva served as Alamieyeseigha’s political adviser when he was governor.

Governor Dickson had lashed out at Sylva and his supporters for rejoicing over Alameyeseigha’s death, claiming that it was the height of insensitivity and disregard for the memory of the Ijaw leader.

Sources said that Dickson’s criticism informed the decision by Sylva to pay the condolence visit to Alamieyeseigha’s widow, Margaret, at the family’s residence in Yenagoa, the state capital, on Thursday.

But the visit, it was learnt, almost ended in an embarrassment as the visibly angry widow initially refused to receive Sylva until she was prevailed upon.

The development is interpreted to be a protest to Sylva’s delay to visit the family even as a former close political associate of Alamieyeseigha.

Alamieyeseigha’s death had generated disputations as many groups ascribed his death to the handiwork of the APC, insisting that the call for his extradition allegedly masterminded by the opposition party in the state aggravated his health and ultimate death. 

Following the development yesterday, there were anti-Sylva comments by the people who felt the APC governorship candidate goofed by failing to visit the family well after two weeks of the former governor’s death.

A former leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Southern Ijaw, who recently decamped to the APC, said that Sylva’s action was ill-advised and may haunt him during the December 5 election.

The leader who craved anonymity said no matter the political differences, Sylva had disrespected the memory of Alamieyeseigha and it is likely the people would react to it at the election because of their valued appreciation of the late Ijaw leader.

“Clearly, Sylva, who was one of the major beneficiaries of Alamieyeseigha’s government and who actually served as a political adviser committed a terrible blunder by failing to see the family until Governor Dickson lashed out at him for his gross insensitivity. There should be limit to politics, I disagree with Sylva on this score”, he said.

Also, a culture activist, Chief Moses Amatari, while commenting on the issue in Yenagoa, carpeted Sylva for what he regarded as “bad politics”, adding that “Bayelsans will not forgive Sylva for treating the death of Alamieyeseigha with disrespect by condoning his supporters to rejoice over the death of an Ijaw hero”.

He, however, commended Governor Dickson for calling for peace in mourning the late statesman, saying without a firm grip on the public opinion, Alamieyeseigha’s death could threaten the public peace occasioned by the alleged role said to have been played by APC leaders in the state.

“To us as a people at this trying time, this sad incident should serve to unite us and to rededicate ourselves to the ideals that he (Alamieyeseigha) stood for”, Dickson had said in his state broadcast. 

Although he raised concern about the reported circumstances surrounding his death, Dickson still maintained the dignity expected of a leader to avert a possible protest by the people, the culture activist pointed out.

But in her judgement, a female activist on the platform of an NGO devoted to women participation in politics, Eugenia Akasoba, who also condemned Sylva’s action, said politics had overridden what should really matter in the society.

According to her, Sylva’s behavior was unacceptable as it could heighten hate politics in the state.

She said, “In Ijaw land and indeed in Africa, we don’t play politics with death; not even the death of an enemy. Sylva and his APC should be ashamed for conniving with the enemy to hound Alamieyeseigha to death. It turned out that the so-called extradition notice was a hoax”. 

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