The immediate former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has been asked to reveal his real identity and the authenticity of his academic certificates.
A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, threw the challenge on Friday.
Frank also faulted a statement signed by Horatius Egua, the media aide to the Minister which had describes him a “political prostitute, blackmailer and jobber.”
According to him, the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi who was Sylva’s classmate and the Governor-Elect of Abia State, Alex Otti, who was his contemporary at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) should come forward to tell Nigerians the names for which they knew him.
Frank in a statement said Sylva could not advance any cogent proof to resolve the glaring discrepancies in the names in his academic certificates “now fueling suspicion about his true identity and allegations of certificate forgery.”
He was responding to a statement by Sylva in which he denied any wrongdoing for parading multiple names but failed to address germane issues concerning his true identity and academic qualifications, saying he rather resorted to name calling and insults.
The Bayelsa-born activist had earlier in a petition to the National Assembly, Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Services (DSS), among others, called for urgent and thorough investigation into the name and certificates being paraded by the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
Frank said, “If there is anybody that is a blackmailer, it is Sylva who has continued to parade different names to present himself as Governor and Minister.
“It is not enough for Sylva to call me all sorts of names with abuses, but let him tell the public his true identity and prove that his academic certificates which is the issue at stake are genuine.
“As a public servant who has been opportune to govern Bayelsa State, served as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and presently warming up to be re-elected as Governor, the people of the state in particular and Nigerians in general deserve to know who Timipre Sylva is.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the onus lies on the ex-minister to present unassailable proof as to why he waited till 2022 to gazette his correct name which had kept changing like a chameleon over the years.
“For instance, who is Anagha Timipere, Marlin Anagha Timipre, Anagha Timipre Marlin and Chief Timipre Sylva as contained in his Primary School certificate, WAEC certificate, first degree certificate and postgraduate certificate respectively?
“He claimed that the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was his classmate and the Governor-Elect of Abia State, Alex Otti, was his contemporary at the University of Port Harcourt.
“The question is, by which name or names did Amaechi or Otti know or call him at the time because his first degree certificate after graduation in 1986 did not reflect Timipre Sylva which is his current name.
“Amaechi and Otti are very much alive, let them tell Nigerians by what name they knew Sylva then?
Again, he claimed that the certificate forgery case against him at a Federal High Court in Abuja was dismissed in 2023, but I make bold to say the case was not dismissed for lack of merit but that Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI), who were the petitioners/plaintiffs applied to discontinue the case.
“Our investigation revealed that in processes Sylva filed in support of a libel case in America, he claimed that he first changed his name in 1987 but in a statement he issued three days ago, he said he changed his name in 2022 and gazetted it.
“This in a nutshell shows a man who is not only dodgy about his true identity but a serial liar who has succeeded in attaining top political positions in the country based on dubious names and credentials and who is therefore, not qualified to rule Bayelsa state again.
“Let Sylva know that his attempt to politicize this grave issue has failed. Bayelsans and Nigerians will continue to ask him to come clean on his name and I, Comrade Timi Frank, would be at vanguard of that crusade irrespective of intimidation, name calling, harassment and divers attacks from Sylva.”
Frank also called on the National Assembly and relevant security agencies to expedite action on his petition so as to establish the truth or otherwise concerning the allegations.