The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has asked Presiden Muhammadu Buhari to forgive him for the disruption of his planned visit to Bayelsa State for the aborted inauguration of the All Progressives Congress’ governorship candidate, David Lyon, as govenor of the state on Friday.
Apart from gracing the event, the president was also billed to inaugurate the newly-built 17-storey corporate headquarters of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board in Yenagoa as part of activities for the swearing-in ceremony of Lyon.
Sylva, who is the leader of APC in the state, said in a statement on Sunday that it was regrettable that Buhari and his wife, Aisha, were about travelling to Yenagoa before the Supreme Court judgement nullifed Lyon’s election.
“I am aware that Mr. President and his lovely wife, Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari, had concluded arrangements to travel to Bayelsa to witness the inauguration of the APC governorship candidate as Governor of Bayelsa State.
“I, therefore, extend my apology to Mr. President and members of his entourage ” he said.
He also called for restraint and calm among the people of Bayelsa State in the wake of violent protests that erupted in parts of Yenagoa following the apex court verdict.
The protesters set bonfires on major roads and streets and destroyed property, including the private residence of former governor Seriake Dickson and that of Governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party, in Yenagoa.
According to Sylva, “the events of the last few days were provocative and regrettable.”
The former governor, who assured the people of hope, said, “But however tempting it might be for anyone to take the law into their hands, such temptation must be resisted in the greater interest of our state and the political stability of the country at large.
“The leadership of our great party – APC – has directed its team of legal experts to study the situation critically and proffer legal options available to the party, accordingly.
“We should, therefore, all remain faithful to, and have confidence in the wisdom and ability of the party leadership to provide direction at this very sensitive time.
“Once again, I call on all people of Bayelsa State, irrespective of whatever differences that may be, to eschew violence and respect the security measures put in place by appropriate authorities.”
The minister assured Buhari and the APC hierarchy that despite “this temporary setback”, the party remained strong in Bayelsa and its members were resolute in their support for a greater and prosperous Nigeria under the president’s leadership.