The Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, has denied having any hand in the protest that rocked the Abuja residence of Justice Mary Odili, in the aftermath of the judgment of the Supreme Court, which nullified the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC, at the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election.
While lampooning the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, for alleging that he and the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, were behind the protests, Silva described Wike’s claims as outright falsehood, saying that Wike could have organised the protests to blackmail the APC leadership before the Supreme Court, being fully aware that the APC was prepared to approach the court for a review.
The former governor of Bayelsa State, in a statement he personally signed, said that Wike’s allegations are tantamount to adding salt to injury, adding that he had remained in a state of numbness since the judgement was passed, insisting that the only thing he could think about was to approach the court for a review.
Sylva said, “I returned February 19th, 2020, from an official engagement abroad to read Governor Wike’s statement to the effect that Comrade Oshiomhole and I are responsible for protests in front of former Governor Peter and Justice Mary Odili’s house.
“There is no truth in that strange claim. Governor Wike should know in what high esteem I hold former Governor Peter and Justice (Mrs) Odili, whom I have known and worked with long before Governor Wike came into the picture. It will not occur to me to malign the person and image of people I hold up as role models.
“I hope Governor Wike or those working with him have not organized this protest with the intention of hanging it on our neck, to incense the Supreme Court towards us, knowing that we intend to approach the Supreme Court again.
“What Governor Wike is doing is akin to deciding a matter bordering on criminality by way of Originating Summons where the issues have not been investigated and the accused given an opportunity to defend himself. Why will a Governor hasten to conclusions? If this is not adding salt to injury, what is?
“I have been so numbed by the events of February 13th that I could not even contemplate any other course of action than to approach the Supreme Court again. I am a man of peace and would not support any action that can cause a breach of the peace.
“I have had several encounters with the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2012. I have never, at any time, attempted to protest their judgment. You know how difficult it is for an old dog to learn new tricks. Why will I now?
“On the issue of securing former Governor Peter and Justice (Mrs.) Mary Odili, I have this to say: Governor Wike as governor of Rivers State has the duty to protect all Rivers people, including the Odilis. I hope he has lived up to this duty creditably. It is for Rivers people to judge. As for the threat to me, ultimately it is God that secures, not man or even a governor.
“Let me conclude with these words for Governor Wike: ‘Those whose palm kernels were cracked by the gods should not forget to be humble’.”