Igoniko Oduma;Innocent Oweh;Samuel Ogidan Yenagoa / Abuja – Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State on Tuesday made available video evidence in support of the electoral violence allegedly carried out by the All Progressives Congress (APC) during the conduct of the November 16 governorship election in Nembe Local Government Area and other parts of the state.
Addressing a world press conference in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Dickson described the election as a charade and a carefully orchestrated plan to forcefully take over the state in order to entrench the APC in the South-South geographical zone.
He also said the APC, by the huge electoral fraud reportedly committed by its leaders in the election, was preparing the ground to make Nigeria a one party state.
He condemned in its entirety what he termed the brazen connivance of security agents, particularly the Nigerian army, with APC thugs to hijack electoral materials in most local government areas.
The governor said soldiers were deployed to Ogbia LGA and other parts of the state led by a certain Lieutenant Col from the 6th Division of the Nigerian army to cart away electoral materials, thereby undermining the process in favour of the APC.
He, therefore, called on the APC-led Federal Government to take drastic action to safeguard the country’s democratic principles and protect the fundamental rights of Nigerians in every election.
Dickson, who was speaking for the first time after the conduct of the election, noted with dismay the involvement of the army in the killing of some members of the PDP, ballot snatching, and hijacking of election materials by APC members and declaration of results by INEC even in areas where election did not hold.
He urged Bayelsans to be calm, stressing that the reprehensible acts against democracy would be addressed through democratic procedures.
Dickson said: “This was not the first time that we were having elections. People were killed, some ripped open and thrown into the river and up till now, no arrest.
“As democrats, we believe in using democratic procedures in challenging what happened in Ogbia. In Ogbia, there was no collation done.
“In most of the areas, at the conclusion of voting, the soldiers came and rounded up everybody and forcibly took them to Ogbia town and asked all PDP leaders to leave to enable them replace pre-written results. And so the results announced for Ogbia, like those for Southern Ijaw and Nembe, were not real.
“What has happened in Bayelsa is one of the most brazen acts of distortion and rape of our democracy.
“What took place was not a democratic election. It was a military coup. It was the height of conspiracy by the Federal Government and security agencies to subvert the democratic rights of our people for the sole purpose of foisting the APC on the people.
“It has never been like this before. In 2015, it wasn’t as bad as this. In this case, not only was the army directed to take over our place, but to collude with the APC thugs to unleash terror on our people.”
He also described as rubbish the notion being bandied about by APC mischief-makers that it was disagreement between him and former president, Goodluck Jonathan, that led to their fake victory.
He emphasised that Jonathan remained a leader of the entire country whose image and reputation was too weighty to be dragged in the mud by the opposition party.
He explained that as a leader of the country, the former president was at liberty to receive visitors of the APC who paid him a visit but warned on the dangers posed by the satanic insinuations being woven around the visit by the APC to sell their diabolic plot to turn Nigeria into a one party state.
He said there was a vicious attempt to “legitimise the illegitimate” and indefensible electoral outcomes.
He stressed that no politician had stood by Jonathan more than himself, and that in the build up to the elections, he had visited Jonathan about 16 times to meet with him on the way forward for the PDP.
“My reaction is that President Jonathan remains a leader of our country. He is at liberty to receive members of any political party, but in the context of all that is going on, I know that the insinuations are not misplaced.
“APC came to Bayelsa to take the state and people by force. With the comments they are making about him, Oshiomhole coming to Bayelsa to praise Jonathan. What they were doing was laying the foundation to perpetrate fraud and violence.
“No politician has stood by Jonathan more than me. They simply used his name and image to legitimise illegitimacy. I can see the strategic content.
“They used Jonathan to expand the notion of disagreement and, after the rigging, to go to him like Pontius Pilate to wash off their hands and put it at his doorsteps to say he sanctioned it – but let’s accord him the right to meet with other dignitaries.”
Fake Police Responsible For Violence, Ballot Box Snatching— IGP
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has denied involvement of police personnel in the violence that characterised the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
He said those directly involved in such electoral vices were fake police officers.
Adamu said this in reaction to accusations that security personnel were seen at polling stations snatching electoral materials and aiding violence in both states.
Responding to questions from State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, he said the police helicopter that appeared to shoot teargas at Kogi voters was patrolling the sky to deter potential trouble makers.
He said the police knew before the elections that there would be violence in the two states.
Adamu also said there were reports before the polling day that politicians were sewing police and army uniforms for thugs in preparation for the exercise.
He said the police, therefore, provided identification tags for its personnel deployed for election duties.
The police boss said people in police or army uniforms who did not have the tags were fake.
“Before the threat assessment of the two states, we realised that there was going to be violence in the two states.
“Because during the campaigns we saw how the opponents were fighting among themselves, so we prepared so much for that.
“During one of the stakeholders’ meeting, I went to Kogi with the chairman of INEC and I also went to Bayelsa.
“Even at the point of signing the peace accord to conduct the election without any problems, after signing the peace accord in Kogi, within the hall, there was problem by the parties.
“So, we knew that it was not going to be easy and so we had to prepare heavily for the elections.
“During the elections, anybody you saw either in police uniform or military uniform that did not carry the tag that had been given for the election, that person was not a genuine police officer or military officer, or he was not on official duty.
“We were aware of the fact that or we were told that some politicians were going to sew police and military uniforms, so we devised some other means of identifying those that were on election duty.
“We gave them tags. So, no police officers in their senses – because we recruited and trained them before the elections to play by the rule, to be professional, work within where you are posted and not beyond.”
Rigging Of Kogi, Bayelsa Polls Can’t Stand, PDP Insists
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee (NWC) on Tuesday insisted that the alleged rigging of Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections by the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not stand.
The party maintained that there was no way it would fold its hands and watch the mandates clearly given to its candidates, Engr. Musa Wada in Kogi State and Senator Douye Diri in Bayelsa State, left in the hands of repressive usurpers, manipulators, and murderers.
The PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “Indeed, the nation is still at shock over the brazen show of violence, where security forces coordinated the invasion of polling units, shooting and killing of voters and carting away of ballot boxes to government facilities where results were altered and fictitious figures given to INEC to declare the APC candidates as winners.
“Nigerians watched with horror as APC thugs and security forces traumatised and held voters hostage, murdered our compatriots, injured and maimed many more in violent attacks that involved the deployment of police helicopters.
“Our party has been made aware of the roles played by the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as well as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in the elections.
“While we urge these officials to do some introspection on the anguish they have caused the people since the rigging of the elections, the PDP NWC assures that it will never hesitate to expose such ignoble roles at the appropriate time.”
The party said the irreversible fact remained that though evil might appear to thrive for a while, truth and justice would always prevail at the end.
The PDP warned the APC and its candidates to bear in mind that what they could not get through the ballot box, they could not get by violence, manipulation, and killing.
The party said it was undeterred in the determination to use all legitimate means available and allowed within democratic practice to confront the usurpers and retrieve the mandate in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The PDP said it would also file legitimate actions against identified INEC and security officials who aided the APC in the violent rigging of the election.
The NWC, therefore, urged all members of the PDP as well as all Nigerians of good faith to remain strong, united, and undeterred as the NWC commenced lawful actions in the pursuit of its mandates.
“Our party once again mourns our compatriots killed by the APC in this election, including our woman leader, Acheju Abuh, who was burnt to death by APC thugs at her home on Monday,” it said.
While invoking the wrath of God on the perpetrators of the gruesome killings, the party called on the police to immediately track down and bring their killers to book.
“Indeed, their death will never be in vain as the mandates for which they were killed will surely be recovered,” the party said.
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