A former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Tuesday described the claim of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson that he inherited a state treasury with N4,451 as the outburst of somebody “troubled by an attack of conscience.”
Sylva, in a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr. Doifie Ola, in Abuja regretted that one year after leaving office, “Dickson is still obsessed with the ghost of the former governor.”
He said, “The claim by the Seriake Dickson administration in Bayelsa State that it inherited from the former governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, a state treasury with N4, 451 was at best the outburst of a governor troubled by an attack of conscience.
“Everyday, all you hear is that some phoney amounts have been saved, but nothing is happening in terms of delivery of projects and good life to the people.”
The statement said rather than concentrate on what leadership ought to be, “Dickson and his cronies are busying chasing Sylva’s shadows, like the Biblical evil man who runs when no one is pursuing him.”
The ex-governor said the debt profile was nowhere near what Dickson claimed he met when he assumed office.
It said, “As for the questions of Bayelsa State debt profile and bond, contrary to insinuations in the Dickson outburst, Sylva ran the most prudent and transparent government Bayelsa had seen since the Fourth Republic.
“In spite of the enormous challenges Sylva faced when he took over from Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the state’s debt profile was not anywhere near what Dickson and his cronies want the world to believe throughout Sylva’s stay in office.
“By our records, we would have concluded payment of all our outstanding debts, except the bond, by February 2012. The N50bn Bond that the Bayelsa State Government under Sylva, took was on an even key as at the time Sylva left office. It was a project-specific loan; all money was paid directly to the contractors. No money came to the Sylva government. And the projects for which the loans were taken were almost completed at the time he left office.”
“The Sylva government had no chance of mismanaging the bond. The question of rising interest rates on the bond does not arise so long it is being serviced according to terms. Besides, the state government’s commitment under the bond was to end by 2013.
“We do not know the kind of arrangements Dickson and his gang made that extended the commitment to 2017, as they claimed.
“Moreover, when we left office in January 2012, the state’s monthly allocation from the Federation Account had not come. Sylva did not handover to Dickson. We are aware that Dickson has taken several loans and signed questionable Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders, while at the same time claiming to be saving money for Bayelsa State.”