Sylva: Odili is my father, I didn’t send protesters to his house

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Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, on Thursday said he never sent protesters to the Abuja home of a former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, in Abuja.

He was reacting to an accusation by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, that he and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Adams Oshiomhole were responsible for the protest.

He said he regarded Odii as a father and could never resort to such.

He also accused Wike of arranging the protest.

Speaking in a statement, he said: "I returned yesterday, February 19th, 2020, from an official engagement abroad to read Governor Nyesom Wike’s statement: to the effect that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and I are responsible for protests in front of Governor Peter and Justice Mary Odili’s house. There is no truth in that strange claim. Governor Wike should know in what high esteem I hold Governor Peter and Justice (Mrs) Odili whom I have known and worked with long before Governor Wike came into the picture. It will not occur to me to malign the person and image of people I hold up as role models.

I hope Governor Wike or those working with him have not organized this protest with the intention of hanging it on our neck. To incense the Supreme Court towards us, knowing that we intend to approach the Supreme Court again.

What Governor Wike is doing is akin to deciding a matter bordering on criminality by way of Originating Summons where the issues have not been investigated and the accused given an opportunity to defend himself. Why will a Governor hasten to conclusions? If this is not adding salt to injury, what is?

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I have been so numbed by the events of February 13ththat I could not even contemplate any other course of action than to approach the Supreme Court again. I am a man of peace and would not support any action that can cause a breach of the peace.

I have had several encounters with the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2012. I have never, at any time, attempted to protest their judgment. You know how difficult it is for an old dog to learn new tricks. Why will I now?

On the issue of securing Governor Peter and Justice (Mrs.) Mary Odili, I have this to say: Governor Wike as Governor of Rivers State has the duty to protect all Rivers people including the Odilis. I hope he has lived up to this duty creditably. It is for Rivers people to judge. As for the threat to me, ultimately it is God that secures not man or even a Governor.

Let me conclude with these words for Governor Wike: “Those whose palm kernels were cracked by the gods should not forget to be humble.”