Bayelsa poll: Group alleges plan to use fake police, INEC staff

Bayelsa State

A group, Pan Nigeria Democratic Alliance, PNDA, has alerted of alleged plans by a frontline candidate and old political war horse in the November 11, governorship election in Bayelsa State to compromise the electoral process by using fake policemen to hunt opposition figures before and during the poll.

PNDA also alleged that it has credible information that the same governorship candidate was working round the clock to recruit retired and serving Resident Electoral Commissioners and Administrative Secretaries across the country and other category of electoral workers to perfect massive rigging of the election.

The candidate, the group gathered, was going about dropping the name of Mr. President to intimidate electoral staff to whip them to order to compromise some staff of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to do his bidding and manipulate the electoral process.

Polling box

Convener of PNDA, Chief Olaitan Adewale, in a statement, Sunday, said: “Bayelsans are hereby called upon to be resilient and stand firm to protect their legitimate right to choose who leads them. We are also warning Nigerians generally to be wary of such a politician, who would not mind setting the whole house on fire because of his personal ambition.

“The governorship election scheduled to hold in November 11, may be the worst in the history of Nigeria and cause collateral damage to the image of the administration of President Bola Tinubu and consequently erode the democratic credentials of Mr. President, if adequate steps are not taken to ensure free and fair election in the state.

“That same politician only recently concocted a baseless petition to the office of the Inspection General of Police, who defied the sovereignty of Bayelsa State, by deploying some policemen from Abuja to occupy Nembe Bassambiri without recourse to the state chief executive or the state police command.

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“We are aware of the fact that the police SWAT team is being kept and fed by that same desperate politician, who recently boasted that with the militants, one of whom is his deputy behind him, the results will be written and announced.

“Defenders and promoters of democracy know that no political office is worth shedding the blood of anybody for. Elections are matters of the majority choosing a candidate but the desperation this candidate has so far shown is nothing but the contrary.

“Already some souls have been lost in Nembe- Bassambiri courtesy of these characters.

“We are appalled by the desperation of this governorship candidate who wants to circumvent the process at all cost. He is planning to sew police uniform for his thugs to harass and intimidate opponents.

“Not only that, he is recruiting INEC officers into his payroll and wants to compromise even genuine ones to do his bidding and manipulate the process in his favour.

“This is after his efforts to use the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, to drag the Presidency into the mud by his desperation for them to support his devilish plan, failed.

“Every politics is local, we know, but it could have national and even greater consequences.

“This current democratic dispensation shouldn’t be allowed to be manipulated by such selfish characters.

“We all remember how such corrupt political and electoral processes caused widespread violence and mayhem in some parts of the country during the First Republic eventually led to a military coup and even a civil war which threw the country into protracted military rule.

“We don’t pray for such in our dear country and we thank God that people like President Tinubu and others who fought for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria are in the saddle. President Tinubu would not want the labour of ensuring that the nation returned to civil rule be in vain.

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“We implore the President to ensure that those taking criminal steps to undermine democracy in Nigeria are not supported or allowed to take us back to the dark days of rigging election they should rather be dealt with.

“As for the governorship candidate and his supporters, they should know that it is not only the people of Bayelsa State that are watching the trend of things, but that the whole country and the international community are not left out.

“Recently, we all have seen how not allowing the will of the people to prevail in elections has led to a gale of coups in some African nations, which president Tinubu who is the chairman of ECOWAS is doing everything possible to restore democracy in those countries.

“Bayelsa is bigger than the personal ambition of an individual and we won’t allow anybody to toy with the future of the people of the state,” Olaitan said.

He added that the people of the state are ready to defend their votes and would be supported by all lovers of democracy in the country and the world at large.

He also reiterated an earlier call by the group that using the Bimodal Voters Accreditation Machine System, BVAS, without the necessary codes was unacceptable to them.

“The Adamawa broad daylight political robbery which was foiled by the people is the plan this politician is planning to adopt and Bayelsans must resist him,” the group added.

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