Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has said that soldiers attached to former President Goodluck Jonathan were being used to harass and intimidate candidates of other political parties in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of the Bayelsa State.
The State Chairman of IPAC, Mr. Eneyi Zidougha, said that the soldiers protecting the former president had veered from their primary security responsibility to engage in illegal act of subversion against innocent voters and party agents in Otuoke.
Zidougha said that the soldiers were sighted moving from one polling unit to the other to intimidate the electorate with a view to swaying their votes in favour òf Jonathan’s candidate and party.
The IPAC boss who said that the action of the soldiers had tainted the integrity of the electoral process, called for the cancellation of the election in the area.
Zidougha stressed that a call for the cancellation of the election became pertinent in view of the acts of intimidation by the soldiers which scared away voters and agents of political parties in the election.
He said: “The Interparty Consultative Assembly has observed with dismay, the activities of Soldiers attached to former President Goodluck Jonathan in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area.
“The soldiers have embarked on a shocking desecration of the electoral process as they moved from one polling unit to the other to harass agents and supporters of other parties.
“He said that it was rather sad that somebody of Jonathan’s status who is seen as a major promoter of democracy in Nigeria, having accepted defeat in 2015 could be distorting the electoral process in his country home.
“As major stakeholders in the election, we find the act of the soldiers totally unacceptable. This repulsive act of intimidation has clearly tainted the electoral process.
“We therefore, call on INEC to investigate, and cancel the results of the election in the area for a rescheduled election to take place.
“We also urge the former president to be conscious of the minimally-expected behaviour expected from somebody who was privileged to rule the country. His decision to embrace a feigned ignorance in the face of grave acts of terror against innocent voters and party agents is most regrettable.”