By Christiana Ekpa
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu, has berated the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, for the setbacks and electoral misfortunes experienced by the party in Bayelsa State.
Oputu attributed the recent misfortunes to Sylva’s alleged imposition of candidates, running of the party as sole owner, and playing god in the affairs of the party.
It was reported yesterday that a Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt in Rivers State struck out the appeal by the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Bayelsa over the subsisting injunction restraining it from conducting the ward, local government and state congresses.
According to Frank-Oputu, though Sylva is the indisputable founding father of the APC in Bayelsa State, the stakeholders of the party are angry with his style of leadership, with his position to lord over the loyalists and playing god with everyone who is a member of the party.
Frank-Oputu, while reacting to the setback facing the party following the Court of Appeal ruling striking out the State chapter of APC appeal on the conduct of the ward, local government, and states congresses in the state, said the Sylva’s style of running of the Party in the state as a private enterprise is causing disharmony and crises in the party.
According to Frank-Oputu, “First, I believe every member of the APC will be happy if these continuous setbacks are settled and APC move forward as a formidable family and stand strong to contest elections. The area that is not comfortable in all of these issues is the purported leader of the party. Because of his governorship ambition, he is saying that whatever anybody does or says does not mean anything to him. He believes that whatever he has done is final. And when you do things like that meaning you are not ready for settlement.”
“Anybody who is ready for settlement, you rather move to settle with them. But Sylva rather feels after whatever he has done feels it is the aggrieved people that should come to him. He is playing god in the affairs of APC in Bayelsa. And that is unacceptable. Nobody, not even me, will accept such behavior. It has never happened. The founders of most political parties are not the ones controlling the party today. Because Sylva is the founder of APC in Bayelsa does not make him the owner. A political party is a public institution and any member that joined today has every right as any founding father. The way he is running the APC seems the party is a private company is registered in his name. The party belongs to every Bayelsan and we are all founding members of the party”.
He also called on the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva to stop laying claims that the state owes him another tenure in Government House, declaring that such claims are wrong, primitive, and shameful ”if Bayelsans wants to elect you, they would. He should stop claiming Bayelsans are owing him a tenure. The people are the owners of power and not an individual.”
Hon. Sunday Frank-Oputu also agreed that the re-occurring leadership setback in the state chapter of the APC is self-inflicted by those who wanted to pocket the party structure to the detriment of other stakeholders, insisting that it was irresponsible for a party to disregard a valid court order restraining it from going ahead with the ward, local government, and state congresses.
“They didn’t consider the implications of their actions. Why should only one man want to decide everything that happens in a political party? We are equal stakeholders and so, we have the legitimate rights to participate in all processes that will lead to the emergence of our State Executive. Why someone should shut the door against us. A simple consultation and harmonization would have saved us from these setbacks,” he said.