Diri, Sylva sign peace accord, banter over November 11, 2023 governorship election 

Bayelsa state governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Saturday’s governorship election, Senator Douye Diri, and the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, have continued to trade accusations over alleged plans to perpetrate violence through stockpile of arms during the election.

Diri and Sylva, who signed peace accord alongside candidates of other political parties in Yenagoa, Wednesday, organised by the National Peace Committee chaired by the former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), began to trade accusation of violence shortly after embracing each other. 

Speaking with newsmen at the venue of the signing ceremony, Governor Diri said the peace accord would be ineffectual because the APC candidate is lying about violence and arms stockpiling in his Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA.

He said: “Sylva has accused me, Douye Diri of stockpiling arms in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, that should be the fastest lie of the year, and that shows that this peace accord is going to be ineffectual, because if a man chooses to be telling lies even in the face of this peace accord, then something is wrong.

“I was really embarrassed when I got that information, and everybody knows in this state those who are given to violence and the flash red points. Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA has never been a flash red point. I think the candidate of APC, Chief Timipre Sylva may have stockpiled arms on Kolokuma/Opokuma and I call on security agencies to immediately go into action to see if Timipre Sylva is bringing the devilish action he has been taking in Nembe where he has disallowed the people of the area to participate in the democratic electoral peaceful processes.

Also speaking, APC candidate and former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, said there has been a lot of violence orchestrated by PDP in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, expressing the hope that the peace accord will make the key actors in the election stand back and work for peace.

He said: “APC today has come to demonstrate that we are committed to peace in Bayelsa State, but we are not comfortable with the disposition of our opponents, there has been a lot of violence orchestrated by PDP in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, but I’m hoping that the peace accord will make all of us to stand back, and ensure there is peace in this election.

“This is a very significant ceremony, and for us in APC, we are very happy that this is happening, because we always stood for peace and we hope that other parties will obey and abide by the peace accord, having signed it, we believe it will at least change everybody not to do what they are planning to do because we hear all the plans, we hear thugs imported from other states,” he said.

Speaking during the signing of peace accord ceremony, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), urged Bayelsans to vote for peace and togetherness come Saturday.

Represented by the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese of Catholic Church and Secretary of the Committee, Bishop Matthew Kukah, the former Head of State advised the contestants not to see the signing of peace accord as mere formality.

He said: “Many Nigerians are asking if this signing of peace accord worthwhile at all, or is it just a formality, and the people who are being accused are the people involved in the process, mainly the politicians themselves.

“The good thing about democracy is that we know the contestants, we know their family, we know their community because they grow up among themselves, so election should be like family event, Bayelsa is not a very big state, Bayelsa is a community eating almost the same food, the same language, the same dance.”