The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has been lambasted on social media by some Bayelsans, for using the state-owned International Airport despite criticizing it as a failed project during the last administration of Senator Seriake Dickson.
Sylva, a former governor of the state had in 2019 during his 55th birthday celebration in Yenagoa, challenged Dickson to always make use of the Bayelsa airport since he claimed the project had been completed.
“My challenge to the present Governor of Bayelsa State is that he should be landing in Yenagoa in the airport he has built. I don’t know but let him be landing there.
“Please, somebody go and tell him, that my only challenge to him is that he should be landing in that airport if that airport is finished. It has been commissioned, why has he not been landing there? I went to hire a plane to land there but they said there was no airport like that. Let him tell us the real story behind the airport”.
However, on Thursday Sylva, accompanied by the Senator representing Bayelsa East in the National Assembly, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo landed at the airport in a chartered private jet.
The Minister was in the state to attend the two-day 1st African Local Content Roundtable Conference, which took place at the NCDMB Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa.
Even the management and staff of the airport were bewildered seeing the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader, as he moved from the tarmac to the VIP Lounge to his waiting car at the parking lot.
Pictures of him leaving the airport later found its way to social media with many people expressing surprise at his decision to use the airport despite claims of it not being functional.
Tari Olotu said: “This Sylva is a shameless man. Is this not the airport he was saying does not exist and all sorts of nonsense, now he is landing here and enjoying it.
“This is the problem of Bayelsans, especially our politicians, they play politics with everything. You can imagine the negative press and bad image his outburst then had caused the state and the former administration.
Imomotimi Bebe while reacting to the development urged Sylva to apologize to Dickson and Bayelsans for his negative comments on the airport.
He noted that it is only a sincere apology that will make the people forgive him and not see his usage of the airport as hypocritical, after claiming it was a white elephant project.
“Timipre Sylva should apologize to Senator Henry Seriake Dickson for all the wrong statements he made about the airport. He should also do same to us Bayelsans.
“It is only when he does that, that the moral burden of the hypocritical weight he carries will be less on him. Otherwise, he will continue to feel guilty over his past remarks on the airport”, he said.