Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and a former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Sunday, engaged in verbal attacks over alleged sponsorship of violence in the state.
Three persons were injured in Brass Local Government Area of the state at the weekend following a bloody clash between loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But Dickson faulted a claim by the Timipre Silva Media Office that he was hatching a plot to begin a campaign of calumny against Sylva, describing the allegation as a futile attempt to distract his government.
The governor in a statement by his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said he was too busy with issues of development to take issues with politicians who he said failed Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation.
He asked Sylva to stop using the name of the President Muhammadu Buhari, to cover up his activities in Bayelsa.
The governor said the fact that Sylva is a member of APC should not give him a licence to sponsor activities to the detriment of peace and security in the state.
He appealed to security agencies to perform their statutory responsibility and not to allow unscrupulous politicians to take advantage of them.
He also urged the security agencies to ensure the security of lives and property in the state.
Dickson asked Sylva to be concerned that Brass, his local government area, had become a den of criminals and warned that he would not hesitate to invoke the powers of the law against anybody found to be involved in acts harmful to the security of the state.
The governor said that he was saddled with a duty to protect lives and property in Bayelsa, alleging that Sylva was only creating a false impression that he was a factor in Bayelsa politics which was untrue.
The governor challenged Sylva to pay attention to his dwindling political reputation rather than peddle falsity to misinform people.
Dickson said: “Sylva who sought to be governor twice and was twice was rejected by Bayelsans couldn’t have been pulled down by Dickson because he is already down.
” The government will not hesitate to invoke the powers of the law against anybody found to have indulged in acts that consistently threaten the peace and security of the state.
“This is a government that has a mandate to execute on behalf of the Bayelsa people. We cannot afford to be distracted by falsehood emanating from Sylva and his men.
“Sylva should stop encouraging criminality in Bayelsa; he should support stability and development of his state. We have worked hard to address the insecurity and underdevelopment that Sylva left behind.”
Sylva on his part, urged Dickson to face the business of governance rather than engage in a campaign of malicious defamation against him.
Sylva in a statement by his Media Adviser, Doifie Buokoribo, said that his attention had been drawn to an alleged clandestine scheme by the government to make him a subject of calumny in the eyes of the public.
The leader of the APC in the state, therefore, urged residents of Bayelsa State, in particular, and Nigerians, in general, to promptly discountenance and denounce any malicious defamation scheme.
He advised Dickson to be more imaginative and pay more attention to alleviating the suffering of the people, rather than taking them down the well-worn path of disparaging him to try to divert attention from his alleged misrule.
He said: “We wish to alert well-meaning Nigerians to the plan by Dickson to launch a structured campaign of calumny against me.
“We are not surprised, as this is in the character of Dickson. We witnessed this irresponsible behaviour before, during and after the last governorship election in the state, which he bought.
“Dickson is living in fear, the fear of Sylva. The governor finds it difficult to come to terms with the fact that despite his shenanigans and schizoid propaganda to diminish me, my political profile continues to rise and rise and rise.
“Also, Dickson’s paranoia is the attempt to destabilise Sylva’s home community of Brass Island. Already, Dickson has appointed a cretin as Caretaker Committee Chairman of Brass Local Government Council to do the dirty job. Last Thursday, this local government caretaker chairman shot two APC supporters with the help of mercenaries and thugs.
”It did not end there. He went on to declare a curfew on the Island, a place that has been peaceful. Clearly, these actions are meant to provoke me (Sylva). As a man of peace, I have had to restrain his supporters from seeking self-help.”