The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Thursday, said APC remains the best platform to bring the desired change in the state just as he has dismissed claims by his rivals that the Peoples Democratic Party is an Ijaw party.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Sylva urged the Ijaws to embrace the APC, declaring that the state has a history of aligning with the ruling party at the centre.
He described as cheap sentiment, the claim that the PDP is “Ijaw party” saying the only true Ijaw party was the National Solidarity Movement (NSM) formed by the late Chief Melford Okilo.
The former governor stressed that the December 5 election is not about him or his main rival, Governor Seriake Dickson of the PDP, “it is about Bayelsans and the Ijaw people”.
Sylva said he was one of the founding members of the PDP in the state before he left for the APC and described the incumbent governor as a beneficiary of the APC having crossed from the Alliance for Democracy, AD.
“I have said in other fora that none of the parties, either APC or PDP is an Ijaw party, they are national parties. I was one of those who brought PDP into Bayelsa; he (Dickson) was not even a member of the PDP. He was a member of AD at that time.
“He was never even a member of the PDP and that is, he doesn’t know that I know the PDP more than him and what the PDP stands for even though I am not a member of that party now.
“The APC is also a national party. The true Ijaw party we had was called the NSM, the National Solidarity Movement, formed by the late sage, Chief Melford Okilo. That party, when Chief Okilo realize that PDP has won the national government he decided to subsume that party into the PDP because he thought that we cannot survive without the centre.
“So, if we are talking of Ijaw patriot, I consider myself one as I think today that well-meaning Ijaw people are quite happy with me because they believe that without me, there would have been no link with the centre, there would have been no bridge builder.
“It is not the Ijaw people that lost the election because Ijaw people did not contest an election, I didn’t see Ijaw people on the ballot. I saw the PDP and the PDP Presidential candidate, who was an Ijaw son, but he lost and we have to carry on in this state, we have to carry on in this country”, Sylva said.