Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
The crisis rocking the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress is far from being over as the state government has asked the party to vacate its secretariat located along Melford Okilo Expressway, Kpansia, Yenagoa.
The order to vacate the secretariat came some days after the National Executive Committee of the APC expelled the Bayelsa State Chairman of the party, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe; his deputy, Eddy Julius; and the state’s party secretary, Marlin Daniel, from the party.
Before the expulsion, the state chapter of the APC had been enmeshed in a lingering crisis involving a faction loyal to a former governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, and another one loyal to Orunimighe.
Speaking at a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Friday, the Solicitor General of the state and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Preye Ageda, said the state government had acquired the said property (secretariat) in 2010 from one Chief Ipigansi Izagara.
Ageda said, “In 2010, the Bayelsa State Government acquired a property belonging to Chief Ipigansi Izagara along Melford Okilo Expressway, Kpansia, Yenagoa, as a Government Guest House.
‘’The assessment, valuation and discussions held before the acquisition of the property were handled by the Executive Secretary of the Capital City Development Authority, the then Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Opuala Charles, and a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva.
“The property was duly paid for and the government took possession of the property as the owner and the keys were handed over to the state government by Chief Izagara.
“Thereafter, the property was rehabilitated by Gefesco Enterprises Nigeria Limited for a total sum of N43m and the final payment of N23m was made by the current administration after an initial payment of N20m by its predecessor.
“The government subsequently used the property as Presidential Campaign Office and after that, the property’s keys were handed over to Chief Diekivie Ikiogha, who was then the Chief of Staff to the Governor. It is to be noted that the said Chief Ikiogha defected to the APC without handing over the property’s keys to anyone.”
The solicitor general further said that the APC allegedly broke into the property and illegally took possession of it.”
Ageda also noted that the state government, rather than taking any action that could lead to a breakdown of law and order, proceeded to the state High Court and obtained an interim order for the party to vacate the property, which it refused to obey.
He said, “Be that as it may, recent developments within the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC require that urgent steps be taken to ensure that the said property is protected from avoidable damage and the resultant waste of government resources.
“At the moment, the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC is in deep crisis with opposing groups forcibly taking possession of the property from each other.”
He called on the Inspector General of Police; Director-General, Department of State Services; and heads of security agencies in the state to caution the APC and ensure that there is law and order in the state.
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