Fresh anxiety trails Bayelsa impeachment crisis

VANGUARD Newspaper- Olamilekan Lartey

There are strong indications that uncertainty still pervades Bayelsa State following the deepening political crisis in the state, SUNDAY PUNCH investigations have shown.

The office of the deputy governor was sealed off and the administrative staff who had reported to duty on Friday could not gain entry to the premises which is located at the Creek Haven Government House.

Stern security agents at the deputy governor’s office and at the lodge turned back our correspondent who had visited the places to seek information on the development.

The two deputy governors, Mr. Werinipre Seibarugu, and Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, were nowhere to be found.

The state Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, had on Thursday sworn in Seibarugu to replace Ebebi who incidentally is contesting in court his removal by the state House of Assembly on June 24.

Although Seibarugu had performed his first official duty by inaugurating five new commissioners on behalf of the state governor, Chief Timpre Sylva, he did not report at the deputy governor‘s office for duties.

Also, Sylva‘s absence immediately after Seibarugu’s swearing-in ceremony became a subject of discussion by the residents.

Some residents who spoke to our correspondent alleged that Sylva had followed a set pattern and had abandoned the state at its most critical time.

There was also apprehension that Ebebi who had left the state since June would return on Friday to resume duties in his office.

This followed a Court of Appeal ruling requesting that the status quo be maintained in the state pending the determination of the suit before it.

But the Chief Press Secretary to Sylva, Mr Dofie Ola, told our correspondent that there were no two deputy governors in the state.

Ola said he had just been briefed by the legal adviser to the state government on the decision of the appellate court.

”The Appeal Court ruled that the parties should maintain the status quo ante at the time of the ruling. The report that there are two deputy governors is quite misleading,” he said.

He also denied that Sylva had abandoned the state, saying the governor went on a scheduled assignment overseas.

Ola said, ”After the swearing-in, he had to travel to South Africa, he had just been nominated to accompany the Senate President to South Africa. There was no abandonment whatsoever.”

Meanwhile, there were fears that Ebebi would arrive in the state on Friday to consolidate his hold especially on the political structure of the Peoples Democratic Party.

His loyalists in the House of Assembly had earlier been suspended indefinitely for their uncompromising role during the impeachment plot.

Also, two of his supporters in the state executive council were humiliated on Friday when Seibrugu inaugurated new commissioners to replace them.

Ebebi could not be reached at press time for comments on his next line of action.

His mobile telephone number was switched off when our correspondent tried to reach out to him.

However, signs that the political crisis in the state would lead to fresh agitation emerged from Ebebi‘s Ekeremor‘s constituency.

Indeed, youths under the aegis of the Voice of Ekeremor People gave a seven-day ultimatum to all Ekeremor indigenes holding political appointments in Sylva‘s government to resign.

The youth said it was obvious that Ekeremor was no longer a part of the government of the state.

They faulted Seibarugu‘s appointment as deputy governor because he was from Yenagoa, a neighbouring local government area.

Leader of the youth, Mr. Jonathan Lokpobiri, said, ”The nomination and appointment of Seibarugu as deputy governor of the state is done in absolute error and must be reviewed in the interest of our political brotherhood and sustainable peace.”

Lokpobiri said the people of Ekeremor had been treated with indignity and visited with internal segregation and political extinction.

He said, ”Could this mean that we do not have one person from Ekeremor or Sagbama who deserve the office of deputy governor? This revelation clearly shows what the government of our beloved state holds for the people of Ekeremor.”


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