Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has condemned, in strong terms, what he described as the Army’s invasion of Bayelsa, and the flagrant violations of the right of the people to vote.
He said the army, which, he noted, has a statutory responsibility to protect the territorial integrity of the country, has “assumed the sickening and disgraceful role of terrorising innocent communities, with a motive to rig elections in favour of the ruling party.”
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, yesterday, quoted him as having criticised the conduct of some soldiers and officers, while speaking as a special guest in an interactive live programme on Radio Bayelsa, Yenagoa.
The governor, who was exasperated by what he described as barbarism displayed by the soldiers, warned that he could call out the Bayelsa citizenry to embark on a massive peaceful protest against the illegalities being perpetrated by the army.
He said while the Navy has maintained its integrity throughout the period of the elections, the men of the army have allegedly engaged in hijacking electoral materials, “to spearhead plot to rig the elections for unpopular politicians of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
He alleged that the ‘infamous’ acts of the army were pronounced in Kolo, Imiringi, Otuasega, Otuokpoti, Ayama, in Ogbia, Nembe Bassambiri, Peremabiri in Southern Ijaw, Kolokumma Okpokuma, Agbere in Sagbama and other communities across the state.
He stressed that it was inconceivable for officers of the Nigerian Army to deploy soldiers to all politicians of the APC, who allegedly abused the privilege to use them “to carry out abhorrent and disgraceful act of ballot box snatching and rigging of elections in the state, contrary to the Electoral Act.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released some results of the House of Assembly elections conducted on Saturday.
Breakdown of the results so far released indicated that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has won four seats, and the opposition APC has also won four seats, while INEC declared Brass Constituency 1 inconclusive.
The seats won by the PDP are Nembe Constituency 1, Brass Constituency 3, Yenagoa Constituency 2 and Southern Ijaw Constituency 2. The APC won in Nembe Constituencies 2 and 3, Ekeremor Constituency 1 and Brass Constituency 2
Regardless, leaders of the APC in Opu Nembe (Nembe-Bassambiri) in Nembe Local Government Area of the state, the PDP and a domestic election observer group, Women Arise, have disagreed over the conduct of the House of Assembly elections in seven wards under Constituency 2, namely, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13, all in Nembe-Bassambiri.