Bayelsa APC asks Lokpobiri to resign ministerial position
• ‘He bought the slot’
• Appointment was on merit, says Sylva
It appears there is a crack in the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as its chairman, Timipa Tiwei yesterday asked Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri to step down from office.
Tiwei, who addressed reporters at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, accused former governor of the state, Timipreye Sylva of single-handedly sending his preferred names to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, for appointment into the boards of government parastatals and agencies.
Flanked by executive members of the party in Bayelsa, Tiwei enjoined Lokpobiri to resign his position since, in the first place because he was neither a genuine member of the APC nor one who shared in the vision of the change mantra of Buhari administration.
He thereby urged President Buhari to wade into the issue by ensuring that genuine members of the party who made personal sacrifice in the build up to the 2015 general elections are duly rewarded with appointments into board and parastatals of government.
“We call on the minister representing Bayelsa, that is Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, to resign his appointment, reason being that he paid for the slot of his ministerial position and I also believe and those of us standing here know very well that he is not a member of the party.
“The issue here today is the appointments that we feel were supposed to be given to those of us in the APC in Bayelsa. Its a pity to say that somebody like Sylva who was supposed to be the leader of the party, today turned against the party and sold our party slots for whatever he feels may be money.”
When contacted, Sylva said his resolve to nominate Lokpobiri for ministerial appointment was based on merit.
“They felt that they are the ones that started the party and therefore, we should not deal with anybody who is coming late into the party. When the ministerial slot came, the chairman told me he wanted to be minister and he was not qualified to be minister. His only experience in Nigeria is that he has been a local government chairman, and I made him a local government chairman. He was local government chairman under me.
“That is his only experience in life and I told him he can’t be minister because this is a serious government.
“I also told them that the people who are joining us, we need to give them a sense of belonging and so, Lokpobiri was nominated. We also looked at the spread in the state. I was contesting for governor from the East, he, as the chairman is from the central and Heineken is from the West.
I felt we should take somebody from the West to be minister and Lokpobiri became minister.”
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