Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) renewed their rivalry in Bayelsa with bickering on the disruption of inspection exercise of ballot papers used for the November 16 governorship election.
The Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja had granted the prayers of the PDP which prayed for the inspection of the ballot papers used for the election.
However the PDP in a press statement by its secretary Mr Godspower Keku accused the APC of sponsoring suspected thugs to disrupt the exercise over the weekend.
According to him the PDP team ably supervised by INEC officials had successfully inspected election materials for the Southern Ijaw local government Area and were preparing for the inspection of materials for Nembe Local Government Area before the thugs led by some APC chieftains invaded the venue.
Keku who disclosed that the disruption led to the suspension of the exercise by INEC and PDP for today Monday December 16 said the order of the Tribunal was for only INEC and PDP to inspect the materials.
“It is therefore a violation of the order of the tribunal and outright lawlessness on the part of the APC to disrupt the peaceful exercise.
The PDP in Bayelsa has called on the tribunal to ensure that the order given to inspect the 2019 Bayelsa Governorship election materials by the PDP be enforced. The PDP urged INEC to ensure that the venue of the inspection is secure and free of disruptive elements”
But in a swift reaction the APC have fired back accusing the PDP of ulterior motive of attempting to inspect the elections materials using underhand means to intimidate INEC officials.
The APC in a statement by its secretary, Mr Alabo Martins which absolved APC members of any wrong-doing alleged that the PDP sponsored suspected thugs numbering 50 into the inspection venue in the bid to create confusion and tamper with the electoral materials.
The party noted that the strategy adopted used by the PDP during the inspection was disturbing and called on INEC to ensure strict adherence to its order on inspection of electoral materials.
“We fear that the outgoing PDP government is set to destroy evidence of its defeat, distort sensitive electoral documents and tamper with same. In the circumstance, we appeal to INEC not to treat PDP’s conduct with levity and call the gang of interlopers and busy bodies off.”
INEC on its part through its spokesman Wilfred Ifogha, Head of Department, Voters Education and publicity, distanced the commission from the controversy between the two parties stressing that its position is to obey the order of the court
“INEC position is to obey the order of the Election Petition Tribunal by making available to the petitioner election materials used during the election for their inspection”