Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said he would have relocated his mother, Mrs. Eunice Ayi Ebele Jonathan, to Abuja if Governor Douye Diri had lost the governorship election held a week ago in Bayelsa State.
Jonathan spoke on Friday night when he visited Diri in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The visit came almost one week after Diri defeated the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timpre Sylva, to secure a second term as governor of Bayelsa State.
But Sylva has said the comments by former president were unfortunate.
The former president hailed Governor Diri’s efforts at tackling insecurity, saying his re-election means the state would be a lot safer.
While congratulating the governor for winning the election, Jonathan, who himself is a former governor of the state, said if he had lost, the gains made in curbing insecurity would have been lost.
“We don’t want to go into an unnecessary crisis in the state. Results have been declared and we believe the election was conducted.
“We believe the governor won the election and we plead that people should accept it and work with the governor. Let all of us support him so that the state will move ahead.
“There should be nothing that will push the state backward. We should think about the development of the state starting from the issue of peace and security in the state, within this last period – three years plus, there have been significant improvements in terms of cultism kidnapping, and so on.
“I was saying before this election that if Diri loses this election, I would have relocated my mother to Abuja.”
While recounting how his cousin was kidnapped and killed, Jonathan expressed optimism that with Diri returning as the governor of the state, the situation would soon be a thing of the past.
“My cousin was kidnapped two times – on one of those occasions, one of my cousins, Solo, was killed because they threw him into the river and he didn’t know how to swim.
“So, we’ve passed through hell in this state and we’ve seen a little light at the end of the tunnel.
“So, people should calm down, and allow Diri to focus on governance so that he will be able to propel this state forward so that we will benefit as citizens of the state,” he added.
Diri had earlier in the day received his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a second term in office.
He would be sworn in for another four-year tenure next year.
However, Sylva reacting to Jonathan’s comments said the comments by Jonathan on the outcome of the poll was unfortunate.
Sylva, in an Instagram post, said he “sincerely” hoped that the former president was misquoted.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement is unfortunate,” he wrote.
“I sincerely hope he was misquoted. Let me just quote our respected Wole Soyinka: “you can take the hippopotamus out of the swamp but you cannot take the swamp out of the hippopotamus.”
Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa