OrderPaperToday – As the Bayelsa State governorship race hot up, Governor Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his main challenger in the All Progressives Congress (APC), former governor Timipre Silva have locked horns over a N12 billion loan allegedly being sought by the former to prosecute the elections.

The Silva campaign organization specifically accused Gov. Dickson of attempting to get approval for the N12 billion loan from the Bayelsa State House of Assembly by subterfuge to enable him win re-election at all cost, warning that the move would plunge the state into avoidable indebtedness.

A statement by the campaign organization signed by its Director of Media, Mr. Nathan Egba alleged that the loan was being sought in two separate tranches and warned banks and other financial institutions not to accede to the governor’s request. The APC candidate said it has also alerted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the matter.

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The statement said the plot was to sell a dummy to the state lawmakers that part of the loan “will be used to fund constituency projects, whereas in truth, this money is expected to be used for the campaigns and election expenses.”

But in a reaction, Gov. Dickson denied and faulted the claims by his opponent saying it was part of the unending mischief of the APC propaganda for which the party is well known. A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, noted that the Dickson administration was not seeking a loan but only accessing an existing loan facility that had already been approved for the state’s airport project.

The governor hit back at his predecessor saying that Sylva left Bayelsa as one of the most indebted state in Nigeria. “Under Sylva, there was routine diversion of funds meant for payment of civil servants’ salaries and benefits. A whopping N300bn agriculture loan from the World Bank had no tangible effect in the state,” the statement claimed.

Dickson added: “Where were the projects established or farms set up or the fisheries development as proposed under the loan? What happened to the N3bn Millennium Development Goals’ funds made available to Sylva? It is unfortunate that Sylva left a legacy of a crippling debt profile in Bayelsa State as governor. As a matter of fact, the bond obligation of the state totalled N125bn under his watch.”

Reported October 30, 2015

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