Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has accused Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the minister of state for petroleum, Timipre Sylva, of fuelling the party’s violent protest in Yenagoa, the state capital, following the Supreme Court judgment.
Diri told newsmen in Yenagoa that APC members seized on the duo’s inflammatory statements in the wake of the apex court’s judgment disqualifying the party to launch the violent protest that led to the destruction of key People’s Democratic Party (PDP) faithful properties in the state.
The governor carried out an assessment tour of the properties damaged by the protesters including the state-owned Radio Bayelsa, PDP state secretariat, Azaiki Public Library, former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s house and the home of a party chieftain, O.O. Osusu.
It would be recalled that Diri’s house located along Imgbi Road in Yenagoa was also not spared by the irate mob as the governor valued the loss at several millions of naira.
The governor stated: “Because of what the APC national chairman said in Abuja where he declared that the Supreme Court which is the apex court in the land, having given the ruling, that it will not stand, and declared that there will be no governor in Bayelsa State, that was what ignited protest back home here.
“APC is always associated with violence, you recalled that two days to my election, I went to campaign in Nembe Local Government Area, and we were attacked just to go and campaign. And we lost about 20 of our party faithful, and here on the 13th February, after the apex court had given their judgment, PDP faithful were visited on their own property.
“Radio Bayelsa is the public property of Bayelsa State; so assuming the APC were governors, wouldn’t they use the same Radio Bayelsa? The judiciary is the property of Bayelsa State. Assuming they were governors, wouldn’t they go to court?
“And then they now picked PDP strong supporters and faithful: they visited Azaiki Public Library. When you see the level of destruction there, you begin to wonder. Even at war, there are certain places that are marked as sacred, churches, schools, libraries are not touched.
“But you begin to wonder if these people are from the Stone Age; a library was touched to that level. I am short of weeping and crying for our state, Bayelsa.
“If we value these projects, we are talking of millions of naira, money that we would ordinarily use for development and for the empowerment of our youths and our women, scarce resources that we don’t have now, we need to now cut out for Radio Bayelsa to operate, for the judiciary to operate and of course for others whose property were damaged.
“Again, let me sound this warning. We are not a weak government, and nobody can take laws into his/her hand. This will not be condoned in Bayelsa State.
“Even after I have been sworn-in, the Minister of State for Petroleum, who is the leader of APC in the state, after making a statement that was very suspicious to most of us, when he called for calm, declared that the governor of Bayelsa State is illegitimate.
“And when a man who is occupying such an exalted position makes such a statement, what do you expect from the followers? It’s the damages we have seen”.