Timipre Sylva of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) and Joshua Maciver, his running mate in the recent Bayelsa State governorship election, have expressed their criticism of former President Goodluck Jonathan regarding his comments on the election results.
Jonathan, a prominent member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the immediate past president of Nigeria, made a statement following the victory of fellow PDP stalwart and incumbent governor Douye Diri. Jonathan declared that he would have relocated his mother from Bayelsa to Abuja if the APC had won the election.
Sylva voiced his disappointment with Jonathan’s statement in a post on social media, writing, “Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement is unfortunate. I sincerely hope he was misquoted. Let me just quote our respected Wole Soyinka: ‘you can take the hippopotamus out of the swamp but you cannot take the swamp out of the hippopotamus.'”
Similarly, Maciver, the APC deputy governorship candidate, condemned Jonathan’s endorsement of Diri. In a statement, Maciver described the former president’s actions as “unstatesmanlike.” He believed that Jonathan, being a former president from the state, should have played a non-partisan and fatherly role to all candidates and parties during the political season.
Maciver argued that Jonathan’s comments openly portrayed Bayelsa State as unsafe and insecure, which, in his opinion, should not have been conveyed by a former president. He stated that Jonathan’s words have led to a loss of respect from true followers of Timipre Sylva.
In response to Jonathan’s earlier remarks, where he revealed his intention to relocate his aged mother from Bayelsa due to concerns over her safety, the former president highlighted that under the tenure of Governor Diri, Bayelsa State has experienced relative peace and a decrease in the number of kidnapping cases.
The exchange of criticisms between the APC candidates and Goodluck Jonathan indicates the political tension surrounding the Bayelsa State governorship election. While Sylva and Maciver assert their disappointment in Jonathan’s statements, it is clear that the outcome of the election has ignited strong reactions from both sides.
The remarks made by Jonathan, a highly influential figure in Bayelsa politics, have not only caused a rift within the APC but have also sparked discussions about the role of former presidents in the political landscape. Some argue that as a former president, Jonathan should maintain neutrality, while others contend that he has the right to express his concerns as a citizen.
As the political climate continues to evolve in Bayelsa State, it remains to be seen how the various parties and stakeholders will navigate these tensions and work towards fostering unity and progress in the region. The focus now shifts to Governor Diri as he assumes the responsibility of leading the state and addressing the concerns raised during the election campaign.