Indications emerged on Saturday that the Bayelsa State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timipre Sylva [above], is broke and may have resorted to selling his properties to raise funds ahead of the December 5 election.
A source privy to the development that played a major role during the last governorship primary where Sylva emerged candidate confirmed that it was a desperate move to keep his campaign going and probably make some impressions during the race.
According to him, since then, most of the funding of the campaign had been undertaken by Sylva as other key players who could have assisted were said to have distanced themselves from him because of alleged betrayal.
“Timipre Sylva is broke, now flat, but there is hope very soon”, the source who craved anonymity declared.
Sylva was said to have initially told most governorship aspirants that he was not running and actually collected huge sums of money from at least six persons with the understanding that he will make them the APC candidate only to turn around as aspirant and eventually maneuvered the electoral process to clinch the ticket.
This, it was further gathered, had sowed the seed of discord between Sylva and the other former aspirants who are believed to be engaging in a ‘sidon look” attitude towards the election.
“Running a governorship election is money consuming and in the current circumstance of the APC in Bayelsa State, Sylva would have to take every step that could fetch needed funds including selling his properties”, the source emphasised.
Another source who also pleaded anonymity revealed that the liquidity crunch in the campaign was further compounded because of the feeling among some influential persons whom Sylva had earlier contacted but who were said to be less enthusiastic about the governorship project on the understanding that Sylva may likely lose the election and afraid about how they could recoup their money.
One of such financiers who live in Lagos was said to have been promised the ministerial slot for Bayelsa State but was curiously replaced by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.
The source said Sylva’s burning desire to become the candidate was informed by the notion that once he picked the ticket, he will get massive financial support from the APC-led Federal Government but now a day dream as President Muhammadu Buhari was not ready to dip hands into the treasury to fund the campaign.
A reliable source at the Aso Villa in Abuja who corroborated this development said all efforts to get the president to direct release of funds to back Sylva’s campaign have failed as the president might have felt a moral burden over corruption charges against Sylva before the EFCC.
Sylva’s key supporters in the Presidency who actually played strategic roles in his emergence as APC candidate were also said to have advised him to seek alternative sources of funding.
Meanwhile, a group, Bayelsa Integrity Forum (BIF) has raised alarm over choice properties said to be on offer for sale by the former governor.
In a statement issued In Yenagoa, the state capital on Saturday, the group warned members of the public to be wary of patronizing Sylva’s agents as the properties being put on sale in Abuja and Lagos were under the watch of the EFCC and as such prospective buyers risk losing money in such transaction.
The statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Albert Ebikeme, further warned that those who buy such properties could also be liable to prosecution and a whole scam with liabilities.
He said, “Everybody is aware that Timipre Sylva is broke and now selling his choice properties in Abuja and those in Lekki and Ikoyi in Lagos. But based on the antecedents of Sylva, our people have to be cautious. Recall this same man deceived a number of his party men promising them governorship tickets and in the process collected huge sums of money from them only to turn around and ran for the same slot himself.
“So the question of integrity is there, more so when these properties are under investigation by the EFCC. Definitely it’s a risky business and our people must be careful in patronizing Sylva in the sale of these properties.”
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