Bayelsa Elders warn against deployment of soldiers to ‘rig elections’
•NUP denies endorsing Sylva
• Gov’s aides, 2000 others defect to APC
•Group alleges plot to manipulate INEC, others
THE Federal Government has been warned to be ‘cautious in the deployment of troops, especially the soldiers for unlawful duties or to rig’ the imminent Bayelsa State goernorship election.
The warning came from Bayelsa Elders Council (BEC) on Sunday after a three-hour meeting.They warned that any attempt to manipulate the December 5, 2015 election would reverse the gains of democracy in the last 16 years.
Also, the council lauded the incumbent governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, after presenting his administration scorecards in the last four years. They noted that another four years would afford the incumbent governor to consolidate on the peace, prosperity and development of the state and urged Bayelsans to re-elect him.
Noting the sensitive nature of the state, the elders in a four-paragraph communiqué signed by Chief Francis Doukpola, (MFR) and Hon. Thompson Okorotie, the Chairman and Publicity Secretary respectively said it would resist any attempt by the Federal government or any of its agency to ignite crisis in Bayelsa in the name of politics.
It stated that in as much as it welcomes deployment of soldiers to the state for the election, the noble idea should be not be politicized.
In attendance at the meeting were the the chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, Chief Francis Doukpola, HRM King Alfred Papapriye Diete-Spiff, Kings Joshua Igbuguru, Joshua Igbagara, Jonathan Kubor, G.A Lawson, Mala Sasime, Napoleon Orianze among other royal fathers.
The list also included Chief A.M.Aduba, Senator Inatimi Spiff, Senator John Brambaifa, Professor T.T. Isoun, Hon. T.K.O. Okorotie, Dr. Georgina Ngeri-Nwagha, Chief Alex Ekiotenne, High Chief J.F.Eseimokumor, Major Andrew Oputa, Hon, Augustin Lugbenwei and Elder Zee Debekeme and others.
And it was endorsement galore on Monday for former governor gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipreye Sylva, as some aides of Dickson, members of the State Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and over 2,000 of its members defected to its rival.
The decamped to the APC during the kick-off of Sylva’s governorship campaign.
Three members of the SWC of the PDP, Assistant Secretary, Ben Oliver; Assistant Organising Secretary, Miriam Kingsley; ex-officio member, Diepreye Alaga together with two Special Advisers to Dickson, Oberiaghakuma Yossou and Ayobeya James, all crossed the carpet to join the APC,whose National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, received them and presented the party’s flag to Sylva.
Among those present at the kick-off were a former Military Administrator of Lagos State, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa; a former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Segun Oni; Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri and former Acting Governor of Bayelsa, Chief Nestor Binabo.
Others were APC state chairman, Mr. Tiwei Oruminighe, National Organising Secretary of APC, Senator Osita Izinaso, two-time member of House of Representatives, Mr. Warman Ogoriba among some party leaders.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) has said it is a non-aligned body and as such cannot endorse anyone for political office.
This is contrary to the rumour being spread by the APC.
Sylva has allegedly claimed endorsement by the body, but in a chat with the media in Yenagoa, the Assistant General Secretary Bunmi Ogunkolade told the public to disregard it.
He reiterated the position of the national headquarters that the NUP could not have endorsed any governorship candidate in the state since it is a non-political body.
Also, Bayelsa Restoration Campaign Organization (RCO,) has unfolded the plans of the leading opposition party in the State to rig the election which include the sowing of military/police uniforms for its political thugs and cloning of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The national secretariat of the APC had been previously accused of planning to use funds from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to prosecute the Bayelsa and Kogi states governorship election but the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, denied the allegation.
However, briefing newsmen on Tuesday in Yenagoa, the Campaign Director of the RCO, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite said APC was making frantic efforts to use the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for sinister purposes.
His words: ”We can say without any fear of contradiction that a lot of efforts have been made by the APC leadership in Bayelsa State to infiltrate INEC at both state and national level to ultimately rig the election.
“We have unearthed a dubious plan to compromise INEC Bayelsa office to give authentic result sheets to APC leadership during the election which will then be used to rig the election.
“However, we can confirm that this plan has been rebuffed by INEC officials since it bothers on criminality; hence we conclude that this was why the APC has been chorusing ‘lack of cooperation’ by INEC in the state. If we may ask: what manner of cooperation do they want from INEC in Bayelsa State?
We have also discovered that APC in Bayelsa State is busy cloning and buying up PVCs which they hope to use to distort the outcome of the election by falsifying results of the card reader as well as compromising the card readers that would be sent to PDP strongholds throughout the state.
We can also authoritatively inform you that APC at critical levels of leadership is working in collaboration with two Northern governors and some important elements in the Presidency to achieve the daring objective of rigging the Bayelsa governorship election. In this regard, we are aware that these people are perfecting the use of the military and police to intimidate voters and indeed hijack both electoral materials and result sheets at polling centres and during the transportation of these sensitive materials to the respective locations on Election Day.
To ensure the success of this plan, we can also confirm to you that already, APC has sewn both Police and Army uniforms to be given to APC thugs on the Election Day to enable them hijack electoral materials and intimidate voters at polling units purporting to be soldiers and policemen on duty but they are fake. We know for a fact that some of these recruited thugs are already in our midst scattered across the state.”
Calling for the timely invention of President Muhammadu Buhari because of the sensitive nature of the Bayelsa election, the campaign organization submitted that any attempt to rig it would be resisted.
Noting the pedigree of Buhari on corruption and transparency, RCO affirmed that the President would never allow such a rape of democracy and hopefully the leadership of the aforementioned institutions that would be charged with the responsibility of supervising the election would also take a cue from him by allowing the democratic process to prevail without interference.
He added: “This is the least expected as a key element of change in our body politic. We have had enough of bloodshed on account of election manipulation and it is high time we moved ahead in our democratization advancement in this country. Enough is now enough.”