The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has reacted to the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the rescheduled election in Southern Ijaw LGA, describing it as a vindication of its earlier position that conducting the said election as INEC did was a wrong decision on account of security concerns in the area.
The PDP in a statement issued on Monday night by the Director of Publicity of the Restoration Campaign Organisation, Jonathan Obuebite, said before the election was conducted it had informed INEC and security agencies that the whole of Southern Ijaw had been taken over by thugs.
The take over, the party said, was with the support of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) who, he claimed, were receiving direct instruction from Abuja to ensure that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Timipre Sylva was declared winner, adding “our advice was ignored.”
Obuebite stated that the PDP was for a free, fair and credible election and as such election in Southern Ijaw must be conducted in an atmosphere that could guarantee the participation of the people without let or hindrance and ensure its credibility.
According to him, as at 4pm on Sunday, election materials were still being distributed and wondered how such process could lead to a transparent election, adding that it was an orchestrated plan to rig the election as voting went on in the dark.
Obuebite said the situation also afforded political thugs to infiltrate the polling units snatching ballot boxes, intimidating voters under the supervision of the military amidst general apathy.
The PDP accused INEC, the police and army of colluding with the APC to rig the election, stressing that all that happened in Southern Ijaw last Sunday was co-ordinated by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal, with the aim of deflating the majority votes of Governor Dickson and then announce APC flag bearer, Timipre Sylva, as the winner.
Dickson was announced by INEC to have won 7 of the 8 LGs in the state with a margin of 33.000 and has thus fulfilled constitutional requirement of 2/3 spread and popular votes but without Southern Ijaw as the only LG remaining.
Obuebite further said that in a manner to perfect the rigging plan, the state commissioner of police and head of the Directorate of State Security (DSS ) were randomly changed ahead of the election.
He said, “Before now, we know that the SGF was coordinating the whole rigging plan and we alerted President Muhammadu Buhari and the public. They know they cannot win without rigging through violence and the whole world have seen what happened on Sunday. It was a rape of democracy. There was a premeditated effort on a multiple level of conspiracy to rig this election, involving INEC, army and the police.
“It is true that a top army officer, one major Sanni, gave election materials to APC members at three polling units and zoomed off with his team, throwing the whole place into turmoil to allow APC have advantage. Of course, APC leaders have all along been saying it everywhere that they will to use federal might and they tried but failed.”
The PDP called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the rerun election in Southern Ijaw is conducted under a violence-free atmosphere whenever it is rescheduled, stating that his integrity as well known was being damaged by those it said were close to him.
“Except we have a truly secured environment, the situation will continue to be like that and that will not only damage President Buhari’s image locally and internationally but puts democracy and the people at risk,” the party said.
Obuebite justified the cancellation thus: “In a situation where so many people had even ran away from home on account of insecurity having been traumatized the previous day and others still seeing a repeat scourge of violence, it ran against good conscience and judgement to say you are conducting election in that kind of atmosphere thereby disenfranchising a lot of people in a crucial election. This is against the spirit and letters of democracy and we accordingly condemn this charade in totality.
“What the people want is a free, fair and credible election and in this respect, the process must be above board. They had a hidden agenda but the good people of Bayelsa State will continue to resist such evil tendency.”