Fresh facts have emerged of how and why the former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi worked assiduously to thwart the ambition of his party man, Chief Timipre Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the just concluded Bayelsa election.
Recall that though Amaechi and Sylva are of the same APC, but the duo have never really been in the same caucus. For instance, Amaechi was said to have worked against Sylva’s ambition to emerge the party’s national chairman when the post was zone to the South South. Instead of Amaechi supporting Sylva’s ambition, he was said to have propped up Sam Sam Jaja, his crony from Rivers State.
Also recall that in a recent interview, Amaechi admitted that he joined the APC in order to reclaim Rivers oil wells former President Goodluck Jonathan ceded to Bayelsa and with the reversal of the election that ushered in the PDP government in Rivers State by the courts; Amaechi is cork sure that his preferred candidate, Dakuku Peterside would be victorious during election.
With this in mind, Amaechi did not want another APC governor in the neighbouring Bayelsa State, who would likely object to the return of the controversial Soku oil wells to Rivers. Amaechi had not hidden the fact that he fell out with former President Jonathan over the oil wells, and it would be unacceptable to have an APC governor in Bayelsa who is likely to stand on his way of using federal might to reverse the ceding of those oil wells.
This apparently explains Amaechi’s lack of commitment to the election of Sylva and why he tactically stayed away from Sylva’s campaigns in the build up to the election.
In order to cripple Sylva’s election, Amaechi was said to have got the federal government to hurriedly sack the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which before that time was alleged to have been taken care of the financial aspect of Sylva’s campaigns. The sacking of the Bassey Abia led management team of the NDDC is believed to be the handiwork of Amaechi who used the sack to block the funding of Sylva’s campaign by installing his (Amaechi’s) former information commissioner, Ibim Seminitari as the acting NDDC boss.
Recall that a group known as the Voice of South-South led by one Alex Dumbo had raised an alarm over how NDDC was funding Sylva’s campaign. In a press conference by the group, Dumbo said NDDC was about releasing N1bn for Sylva’s election.
“We are calling on the EFCC to investigate the plot by summoning the Management staff of the NDDC for questioning. We believe that in line with the purported Anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari, such cases of fund diversion and illegal funding of elections of a particular candidate with state or government money should be investigated and those behind it prosecuted,” the group then said.
The sacking of that NDDC management and the subsequent replacement by an Amaechi’s crony was a major war Amaechi waged against Sylva’s election chances.
Insiders confirmed to Teamreporters that Sylva has vowed to take the matter up with Amaechi at the highest level, be it at the party or the presidency.