The political strife between Timipre Sylva, erstwhile Governor of Bayelsa State and Seriake Dickson, the incumbent Governor of the state, has taken a new dimension with the duo renewing their frequent resorting to name-calling.
While Sylva accused Dickson of plotting fake negative news reports to discredit Abba Kyari, Nigeria's Chief of Staff, and other officials of the presidency with the intent of linking him (Sylva) to the reports, Dickson, on the other hand, referred to Sylva as an "unpopular and desperate politician whose conscience remains his greatest threat".
A statement by Julius Bokoro, spokesman to Sylva, read: “The Dickson government has been built on layers of empty propaganda that he has sustained with robotic consistency. His habitually high-sounding claims and promises have not produced tangible results to uplift the people he has impoverished for close to eight years.
“Having pursued efforts to discredit Sylva as his best public policy since assuming office in February 2012, to no avail, Dickson has now settled for a dangerous fake news campaign, the be-all and end-all of hazardous publicity stunts, to try to cover his mess in power and give himself a soft-landing. But, as usual, he has failed from the start.
“Unknown to Dickson, what the people of Bayelsa State need are imaginative economic strategies and tangible deliverables, not glib publicity stunts. At the national level, Sylva unmistakably and unequivocally emphasises that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is one he, along with other patriots, helped install in 2015. He is all too enthusiastic to repeat this gesture come this February. Sylva is not in the business of unhelpful, petty rivalries in this same government, as the darkest side of Dickson's generally dark imagination is dreaming to manufacture."
On his part, Fidelis Soriwei, Special Adviser, Media Relations to Dickson, said Sylva cuts the "gnawing image of a troubled man screaming and fleeing at the sight of nobody".
The statement by Soriwei read: "This type of report falls short of the standard of a story that should command a place in our respected media space. Somebody of the exalted status of a former Governor is crying wolf where there is none and hallucinating that the Governor reputed to be his political nemesis is after him. The point to note is that the Governor is too busy with the execution of the mandate given to him by Bayelsans in place of Sylva to be bothered by anticipated clashes between Sylva and the President’s Chief of Staff.
“This comic claim by Sylva and his minion is a classic example of the wicked on flight at the sight of nobody. The fact is that Sylva is so scared and intimidated by the shadow of Dickson, that his nightmares about him occur in the day time."
Sylva had ruled Bayelsa under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 2007 and 2012, and later joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014. He was APC's governorship candidate in the 2015 election and lost to Dickson.