The debate organised by a local radio station in Bayelsa State and the British Council for all the candidates in next week’s governorship election was turned into a battle field when Governor Seriake Dickson and his predecessor in office, Chief Timipre Sylva freely traded insults,ThisDay reports
Tempers flared between the governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), when Dickson described his predecessor’s administration as being characterised by killings and cult-related violence.
But Sylva immediately retorted by calling Dickson the outgoing governor, a statement which made the governor very angry.
Angrily, Dickson called the attention of the moderator of the debate, Ben Lawson, to the comment and countered by describing the APC candidate as showing no respect for his administration.
Dickson and Sylva also argued over issues on child rights in the state and security, with Sylva insisting that he left behind a state that was peaceful as the architect of the amnesty programme of the federal government.
He wondered how Dickson could claim that security had deteriorated when he (Sylva) inherited an administration at a time the home of a sitting vice-president (Goodluck Jonathan) had been bombed by militants.
He lamented that since he left office, the rate of insecurity under the current administration had risen and was worrisome.
Dickson however dismissed Sylva’s claim as “political”, saying his administration had put in place enduring peace, adding that the recent cases of kidnapping were the handiwork of some elements trying to score political points.
The altercation between the two forced the moderator to call them to order several times or use other candidates to douse the tension.
After the debate, the DPM candidate, Moses Siasia, was adjudged by the audience as the most composed and with the best plans for the state.
Also, the candidate of the DPC, Henry Akpeli, was adjudged the most entertaining personality of the evening with a political programme presented in a calm and dispassionate manner.