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I Didn’t Fight Sylva Over Running Mate – Ex-Militant Leader

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Ex-militant leader, Mr. Africa Ukpariasa aka ‘General Africa’, has said reports about a quarrel between him and the Bayelsa State Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the party’s governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, were fabricated.

General Africa accused the opposition in the state of sponsoring the “fictitious and malicious story”.
As stated by him, the story was a futile attempt by the opposition to score cheap points ahead of the December 5 governorship poll in the state.

A statement by General Africa today read, “My attention has been drawn to a story being circulated in the media by the opposition to the effect that I was involved in an altercation or fracas with my party leader and APC governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva. The story is fictitious and malicious. At no time did such an incident happen between the APC leader and me or between him or any other member of the APC.

“Chief Sylva is the APC leader and my leader, and he has the complete loyalty and support of the entire APC family in Bayelsa State. I have no reason to disrespect him or doubt his leadership of our great party. Neither does our chairman, Chief Tiwe Oruminigbe, whose name was also used in the lie circulated by PDP in their desperation to ridicule APC and try to score cheap political points.

“The attempt to sponsor negative rumours about our governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, is, to all intents and purposes, the only campaign message and strategy of the opposition and its jittery candidate. But it is a huge joke that cannot save the drowning party from a crushing defeat on December 5.

“The distraction by the opposition will never succeed in dividing APC in Bayelsa State or distracting its attention from the goal of rescuing Bayelsa from a regime of deception.”

Meanwhile, a major crack occurred between the State Chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe, and Sylva over running mate on Tuesday.

Supporters of Orunimighe had staged a protest at party’s secretariat in Yenagoa following speculation that Sylva had picked another running mate instead of Orunimighe.

The protesters alleged that Sylva had reneged on his promise of running with Orunimighe, whom they claimed made it possible for Sylva to emerge as the candidate for the party at the primary election.

Based on what was gathered, Sylva had allegedly picked a retired Principal, Wilberforce Igiri, from Forupa community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state to be his running mate.

The protesting supporters, drawn from wards and local government areas of the state, vowed to sink the party instead of allowing Sylva’s preferred choice.

The protesters, who destroyed Sylva’s billboards and posters in major places, insisted that if Sylva failed to run with Orunimighe, he should forget his ambition of running for the election slated for December 5.

The protesters shut down the state secretariat to prevent people from entering and coming out, maintaining that Orunimighe had worked so hard for the party’s survival that he should be betrayed now.

Some of the placards carried by the protesters read, ‘Monkey work, monkey go chop’, ‘Tiwe Oruminighe is the choice of the grassroots, not anybody else’, ‘Why monkey work, bamboo wan chop’, ‘No Tiwei no Sylva’, ‘Sylva is an ingrate to pick somebody else’, among others.

When Punch visited the party secretariat today, it was discovered that Orunimighe was meeting with his supporters over Tuesday’s incident.

It was learnt that the state chairman might have accepted his fate as the party was said to have already submitted the name of Wilberforce Igiri to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

However, some of the loyalists of Orunimighe were seen complaining about the development, saying that the party should rescind the decision or they would throw caution to the wind to ensure that Orunimighe was reconsidered.

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