Ahead of the December 5 election, elders in the state, under the aegis of Bayelsa Council of Elders, BCE,on Saturday, gave their blessing to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Timipre Sylva.
The endorsement of Sylva by the elders came barely one week after the council also gave their blessings to the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Present at the meeting, which was held half way before the elders demanded that journalists excuse them, were Chairman BCE, Chief Francis Doupola and Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, Chief Alfred Diete-Spiff.
Others are His Royal Highness, King Agara Mozi, King Joshua Igbugburu, Dr. Amba Ambaowei, Chief Douglas Naingba, among others.
Briefing journalists after the closed-door meeting, Diete-Spiff, the Amanayabo of Twon-Brass and former military administrator of Rivers State, said they had given Sylva their blessing.
He also called on all the contestants for the governorship of the state to ensure that the upcoming election was free, fair, credible and violence free.
Diete-Spiff also called for voice vote from the elders in support of their motion to give blessing to Sylva’s bid, and the elders affirmed their support by shouting ‘ayes’.
Diete-Spiff stated, “We have told him what we want and as one of our members; we like to give him our blessing. We would like to appeal to all contestants to ensure that there is fair and violence free election.
“For Sylva, we will like to say God be with you. Goodluck. We all rejoice with you in your aspiration and we want to ask that all that you promised us here today are kept.”
Earlier, before journalists were sent out of the meeting, Chairman of the council, Francis Doupola, clarified that though some members were partisan politicians, the BCE as an institution was not partisan.
He said the council was a father figure to all, stressing that the interest of the council was to foster unity among Bayelsa people irrespective of political affiliations.
“Irrespective of the party you belong, Bayelsa is one. We are brothers and sisters. The group is made up of special people. As an institution, we are not partisan- we are a father figure to all.”
In his remarks, Sylva said there was no society that could develop without the stabilising influence of the elders.
He said he had never believed that the elders are not productive, criticising those who regarded them as unproductive and refused to pay them their pensions and gratuities.
He called on the elders to support his ambition to complete his tenure, saying by doing that, they had ensured justice.
He said supporting the APC would bring more development to the state, noting that as a minority state, Bayelsa needs the support of the centre.
Commenting on the blessing he received from the elders, Sylva said, “It is a good thing that my people accept me and want me back as their governor.”

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