The Ebierien Itubor-led faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State on Thursday claimed that their decision to open a parallel secretariat was because the secretariat controlled by the faction loyal to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, was opened with the proceeds of corruption.
Itubor faction alleged that the property housing the party’s secretariat at Bay Bridge area of Yenagoa, the state capital, was acquired under Sylva as Governor with the proceeds of corruption.
Speaking on the lingering crisis in the APC in the state, a member of the faction, Sunday Frank-Oputu, claimed that the opening of the new secretariat was the best thing that had happened to the majority of party members.
According to him; “As far as I am concerned, it is the best thing that has happened to Bayelsa State because the former secretariat which is on Mbiama-Yenagoa road, is a property acquired with proceeds of corruption under Sylva’s government.
“When Sylva was governor, he asked the Bayelsa State Capital Development Authority to go and buy that property with state money. The evidence are there. Former Governor Seriake Dickson even went to court over the property and the matter is still in court.
“The money was paid from Bayelsa State government’s account. We all know the party’s secretariat is not and has never been on the government’s property before. That is a government property that belongs to all Bayelsans. Bayelsa State government’s property belongs to everybody both APC members, PDP members and the rest of the people.
“Therefore, a party cannot claim ownership of it and be using it, it’s wrong. I am using this same medium to call on the Governor of Bayelsa State to immediately prepare to take over that property because it rightly belongs to the Bayelsa State government”, he stated.
The property is a proceed of corruption. APC, as a party that does not believe in corruption. It stands for truth and justice. We are saying that a secretariat is a wrong place for Bayelsa to keep its APC secretariat.”
Frank-Oputu, who is a chieftain from Southern Ijaw, however, said that the status of the old party’s secretariat and the circumstances surrounding its acquisition had led to many political misfortunes for the party.
He claimed: “One, do you know that in 2015, we narrowly missed the governorship when Sylva had already got over 80,000 votes in Southern Ijaw but INEC cancelled, and we lost it.
“In 2019, we even won it, it was declared, but a day to the swearing-in, that was when the victory of the APC was upturned. All those are bad things showing that where the secretariat is situated is a bad place because it was acquired with proceeds of corruption.
APC cannot stand on the corrupt ground to do anything and succeed because President Muhammadu Buhari is a man who has a clean record when it comes to anti-corruption. So, for us as a people and believers of Buhari’s system of governance, that secretariat is the least place anybody should expect us to stay.”
Efforts to get the reaction of Sylva were not successful as his mobile phone failed to connect. Also, a text message sent to his phone was not responded to as of the time of filing this report.