Profile: Timipre Sylva, Ex-Bayelsa Governor Who Graduated With First Class In English

Last updated on November 13th, 2023 at 08:25 am


One of the politicians from the South-South geopolitical zone with a sterling academic credential is Timipre Sylva, an ex-governor and the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

On March 31, 2023, he resigned from the cabinet of Muhammadu Buhari to join the November 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the state he once governed.

We take a look at the biography of Sylva, his political journey.


Timipre Sylva

In this post, we’ll tell you all you need to know about one of the political players in the oil-rich state of Bayelsa.

  • Full name: Timipre Marlin Sylva
  • Date of birth: July 7, 1964
  • State of origin: Bayelsa
  • LGA: Brass Local Government Area
  • Home Town: Brass
  • Geopolitical zone: South-South
  • Political affiliation: PDP to APC
  • Alma mata: University of Port Harcourt
  • Wife: Alanyingi Sylva
  • Children: 3 (Taria Sylva, Timipre Sylva, Pagabio Sylva)

Timipre Marlin Sylva is a brilliant politician from the oil-rich state of Bayelsa. Born on July 7, 1964, he was the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Southern Nigeria, and the ex-Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in Nigeria.

Early life and background

He was born in Brass, Bayelsa (formerly Rivers State, of which Bayelsa State was split off from in 1996).
He had his education there and in Lagos. In the 1990s, he was also a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly


Sylva graduated from the University of Port Harcourt in 1986 with distinction in English (Linguistics).

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At that time, he was the best-graduating student from his department and departmental valedictorian.

In 2011, he was later awarded a Doctor in International Relations (Honoris causa) by the UBIS University.

Timipre Sylva political career

His political career started in 1992 when he won a seat in the House of Assembly election as a representative for the Brass constituency in old Rivers State. At that time, he was the youngest of all the members of the House of Assembly.

He continued in his political career as he was appointed as the Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum in 2004 under the auspices of Dr. Edmund Dakouru.

He resigned from that position to join the PDP gubernatorial primaries in 2006 in Bayelsa State, in which he was placed, second behind Dr. GoodluckJonathan.

After the PDP presidential primaries election and Dr. Jonathan was appointed as a running mate to HE Umaru Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory, the gubernatorial candidacy slot for PDP became vacant, and conventional wisdom took the better of the political actors and Sylva was promoted to occupy the position of PDP gubernatorial candidate.

Sylva won the Bayelsan gubernatorial election on May 29, 2007, as a candidate of the PDP and took over from Goodluck Jonathan who went on to be the Vice President.

In his inaugural speech, he went on to say that Bayelsa was “the least developed commercially and industrially” of all 36 states.

But in the 2007 election, Sylva’s opponent Ebitimi Amgbare of the Action Congress legally challenged his triumph.

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Although the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal upheld Sylva’s election, Amgbare took the matter to the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt which overturned the Tribunal’s ruling and annulled Sylva’s election on April 15, 2008.

The Appeal Court’s five justices were in agreement with their decision and ordered that Speaker Werinipre Seibarugo be sworn in to replace Sylva as acting Governor, with a new election to be held within three months.

A new election was thereafter held on May 24, 2008, and Sylva, who was running as the PDP candidate, won the election with 588,204 out of about 598,000 votes.

He was again sworn in on May 27 and promised that he would form a largely inclusive unity government.

But his tenure was terminated on January 27, 2012, by the Supreme Court with an acting governor appointed to run the state pending the election of February 2012.

He later decamped to the ruling APC and his loyalty earned him a portfolio in the cabinet of Buhari as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.

Plan for a Comeback as Bayelsa Governor

On March 31, 2023, he resigned from his ministerial position and obtained a governorship form to make a comeback as the governor of the oil-rich Bayelsa.

The election which was conducted on Saturday, November 11, 2023, saw Sylva contest against the incumbent governor Douye Diri. The final collation of the result by the INEC is still awaited.

Timipre Sylva Children

Married to Mrs Alanyingi Sylva, the family is blessed with three children, they are:

  • Taria Sylva
  • Timipre Sylva
  • Pagabio Sylva
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Appointment of Timipre Sylva by President Muhammadu Buhari

Considering his loyalty to the ruling APC before the 2015 general elections and in the 2019 general elections, President Buhari appointed Sylva as the Minister of State for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on Wednesday, August 21, 2019.

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