Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has accused the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Monday Udoh, of violating the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal order on the inspection of election materials.
Diri said in defiance of the tribunal’s order, the REC allowed the All Progressives Congress (APC) to inspect sensitive and non-sensitive voting materials used during the November 16 governorship election.
The tribunal had granted the prayer of the PDP counsel to inspect the materials.
However, instead of complying with the order of the tribunal, the REC allowed APC, which is not a party to the prayer, to be part of the exercise.
Diri in a statement made available to newsmen described the involvement of APC in the exercise as a flagrant abuse of the tribunal’s order.
He accused the REC of partisanship, saying his role in recent times justified the position of the PDP that he is working for the APC.
The governorship candidate contended that the REC was working in collaboration with APC to defy the tribunal.
He called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, to beam his searchlight on the activities of the Bayelsa REC.
“The activities of the state REC confirm the fears of the PDP that it would be a huge challenge for the PDP to get justice in the ongoing legal battle,” he said.
Diri, while restating his confidence in the judiciary, called on INEC to do the needful by cautioning its REC in the state.
On the disruption of the inspection exercise by thugs believed to be working for the APC and led by a well-known chieftain of the party, Barrister Dennis Otiotio, Diri described the act as condemnable and undemocratic.
He said he was not surprised that the APC resorted to brigandage and hooliganism at the inspection venue, adding that the party was known for such acts.
Before the last governorship election, thugs loyal to the APC had reportedly unleashed violence on PDP members and supporters during a campaign rally in Ogbolomabiri-Nembe, which led to the death of a staff of the state-owned radio corporation among others.
Diri, therefore, called on security operatives to investigate the disruption of the exercise and bring the culprits to book.
The thugs allegedly invaded the venue shortly before the commencement of the inspection of election materials for Nembe local government area, forcing INEC to postpone the exercise.
The tribunal on December 9 permitted only the PDP and INEC officials to inspect the election materials.