Timipre Sylva, a former governor of Bayelsa state, says his problems began after the demise of ex-president Umar Musa Yar’Adua.
Yar’Adua was elected in 2007 but died in May 2010. Goodluck Jonathan, his vice-president at the time, replaced him as president.
The former governor, while speaking at an event — Frank Talk with Timipre Sylva — on Saturday in Abuja, said he started having problems because he was not in Jonathan’s “succession plan”.
Sylva won the Bayelsa gubernatorial election in 2007, succeeding Jonathan.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said once he became governor, Jonathan started fighting him.
He said Yar’Adua protected him until his demise because “he saw the good work I was doing”.
“As governor of Bayelsa state, I had running battles till the day I got in with the Jonathan system because I did not come through the Jonathan succession plan,” Sylva said.
“He wanted a different succession plan. I came in without him being in control and ended up as governor, so as vice-president he started fighting me and that was how my election was annulled in 2008 and I went back for reelection. Of course, Yar’adua at that time as president protected me because he saw the good work I was doing.
“As soon as Yar’adua died my problems began because I was not in that succession arrangement and of course they concocted all kinds of lies about me. I’m surprised that you have not asked me if I was a drug addict because that was one of the stories they spun around me. They said I take drugs.
“They said anything I wanted to take I will order a helicopter and fly in the air and then come down but Nigerians are ready to believe anything about anybody.”
The ex-governor said the Jonathan administration vowed to indict and jail him by all means, adding that it was the reason he was accused of owning 48 properties.
“That was how the 48 houses story came up. At some point, I thought I had denied it so many times that there was no need to deny it. If I have 48 houses I must own a street in Abuja,” Sylva said.
“I have published all the papers but governor Dickson of Bayelsa state decide to re-circulate this same story. Is it another set of 48 houses they returned to me? How many times will they return the 48 houses to me?
“The Jonathan administration had vowed to indict and jail me but they could not find – let them come and tell me how much they found in any account all over Nigeria, I challenge them because I didn’t have. Now they had to come up with a story, any house belonging to a friend of mine that they know, they ascribe to me.
“There were nine properties, properties of people in most cases I didn’t know so when we went to court all the people who owned the houses applied to join the case the judge had no choice, he could not tell EFCC to confiscate the properties because every owner of their property had come forward and proved that these houses did not belong to Sylva and that was how that judgement came about and they came up with 48 houses.
“The houses I owned, I went to court challenge EFCC, I owned those houses before I became governor and they were even declared in my Code of Conduct form. That story about me owning 48 houses is false. Totally false. If notice anytime they talk about cabinet – this story was trending every day when Buhari said he will expand the government.”