Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to give minister-designate, Timipre Sylva, a substantive and grade A ministerial portfolio in the interest of the state.
Dickson, during a live media chat at the Government House in Yenagoa, said Sylva should not be a junior minister, popularly called minister for state.
The governor, who spoke while fielding questions on why he congratulated his predecessor and political rival on his appointment, said his gesture was borne out of his principle of politics without bitterness.
Describing Sylva as his ferocious and formidable opponent, Dickson said though he defeated his predecessor in their last political clashes, they remained brothers and friends after elections.
The governor appealed to Sylva to use his appointment to bring development to Bayelsa, urging him not to toe the path of former Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobir, who “spent his tenure attacking his government”.
He said: “What I displayed when I congratulated Dickson was political maturity and tolerance. We have been in the trenches for close to 10 years now, not talking bit attacking ourselves. He is a ferocious and formidable opponent. But I triumphed in the elections up to the tribunal to the Supreme Court. In the last general election, he led his party as usual and I led the PDP and you saw the clash.
“Bayelsa has not had the kind of opposition we have had. My politics is without bitterness. I fight hard when I need to for survival. Once I beat you, we become brothers and friends. He is a brother and a friend actually. We are not still in talking terms even now.
“When four years ago Lokpobiri was appointed minister; he was a campaign DG against me. During the 2015 elections, I faced the toughest political betrayal; they all ganged against me. Lokpobiri was the Director-General and Minister; Sylva as candidate and Chief Timi Alaibe with others who defected to the APC, but I won all of them with the support of our people.
“Even after that I congratulated and directed senators to support Lokpobiri. He has not acknowledged that till today; it didn’t stop him from being my political opponent. Nor do I expect Sylva not to be my opponent.
“I wish him the best and expect that he will use the position to develop Bayelsa. Bayelsa will like to have a substantive minister, not a junior minister, a grade A ministry and I expect him to use the position to bring development to the state and add to what I have done…”