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The Peoples Democratic Party Youth Network has cautioned against the deployment of the military for electoral purposes during the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial poll in Bayelsa.
The Secretary General of the PDPYN Comrade James Oputin, said in a statement on Monday that the soldiers have shown bias by their antecedents in providing purported security during previous elections.
Oputin recalled that soldiers of the Nigerian Army shot and killed a Government House Photographer, Mr. Reginald Dei and a PDP Ward leader In Oweikorogha, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area on Election Day on February 23, 2019.
He added that soldiers connived with APC thugs to cart away election materials and aided the wildest rigging in Bayelsa history which gave the party its victory in the last senatorial election.
He noted further that soldiers who arrested the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Mr. Nabena Yekini with arms at Odi quickly released him at the prompting of their superiors.
The PDPYN Scribe said that the Army authorities have not reacted to build confidence in the people since the gruesome acts of right violation and unprovoked murder of the journalist and his friend during the last election in Southern Ijaw.
He said that the PDPYN and the Bayelsa people who have not forgotten the grisly incident and other acts of bias inked to the Army are indeed wary of the deployment of soldiers whose brazen activities left no one in doubt that they were on a mission to rig election for the APC.
Oputin advised the Indepedent National Electoral Commission against the planned use of soldiers to suspicious intent inimical to the credibility of the commission and the electoral process in Bayelsa.
He said the PDPYN, the umbrella body of PDP youths across the state, was aware of the desperate plans involving militants and some security agencies to attempt to wrest political control in Bayelsa.
He called on the human rights organization such as the Amnesty International, the Civil Liberty Organisation, the civil society world and the international community to stand in defence of the right of the Bayelsa people to elect their leaders without threat of assassination and molestation.
Oputin said that INEC has a responsibility to adhere strictly by the electoral law by allowing the police to lead security provision during the election.
He observed that anything short of that would amount to the execution of the plot to subvert the will of the people through electoral manipulation and fraud with the aid of the Army.
However, Oputin said that INEC could use the services of the Nigerian Navy to escort election materials as the personnel of the Navy displayed noticeable professionalism and good conduct during the last election.
He pointed out that current Army Exercise, Operation Crocodile Smile in Bayelsa was a surreptitious attempt to deploy soldiers to harass PDP members and rig the election.
He called on the Chief of Army Staff, and indeed the leadership of the Army to discourage the deployment and abuse of soldiers and the image of the Army for electoral purposes.
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