The Bayelsa State Capital, Yenagoa, was on Monday locked down by a massive protest by members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP demanding the cancellation of the fake results from Southern Ijaw and Nembe Local Government areas of the state.
Chairman of the state PDP, Moses Cleopas who led thousands of the party faithful, called on INEC to reject the contentious results and conduct a rerun of the elections in the seven wards in Nembe Bassambiri and Wards 12, 14 15 and 16 in Southern Ijaw Constituency 4.
Cleopas said that it was shocking and unfortunate that INEC accepted results from an election that did not involve the use of the Permanent Voters Card as required by the Constitution and the Electoral Act guiding the operations of the commission.
He said that it was a bizarre show of desperation for INEC to declare fake results of an election in the crisis ridden arrears of Southern Ijaw where a PDP leader, Seidougha Taribi, was murdered and a Government House Photographer, Reginald Dei, was shot with voters scared from the polls by gun wielding men in Army uniforms.
The PDP Chairman said that it was equally sordid that INEC accepted results from Nembe Bassambiri where electoral officials and materials were taken to Darius hotel for thumb printing and made to produce results under duress.
He added that the same thugs backed the Army supervised the orgy of violence unleashed on Brass Local Government Areas where a Deputy Commissioner òf Police, Tope Okunola was abducted and beaten up by thugs under the supervision of an Army Officer òf the rank of a major.
According to Mr Cleopas, members of the PDP were pained that the commission could ignore by the wanton destruction of lives and property by security forces sympathetic to the interest of the APC in the last election to endorse fake results.
Mr. Cleopas said the protest was to register their displeasure over the tragic incident as well as the brazen rigging of the election.
His words:” In Nembe Bassambiri, elections didn’t hold because materials were carted away to Dairus Hotel with the aid of military personnel and suddenly its all over the place that election results from the 7 wards are being collated by INEC.
“This is unacceptable to us because they are all concocted results. In Southern Ijaw Constituency 4, wards 14, 15, 16 and even in 12, materials and results were carted away to Ogboinbiri where the results were collated and have been brought to INEC office for collation.
“Our party cannot watch that happen and that is why we are embarking on this peaceful protest as a party that believes in the rule of law.”
Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson, who was part of the protesters described what happened in Bayelsa as a clear rape of democracy.
He said that it was a glaring case of terrorism for voters to be scared away by gun wielding thugs and soldiers.
He also accused the military of conniving with the APC thugs to cart away election materials and falsified results in Southern Ijaw.
The Speaker who is also contesting the Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency seat, wondered why the military would indulge in such brazen display of bias and lawlessness.
“This is a civilian era, we ought not to experience the militarization of our electoral process. It’s an abuse of democracy.”
Also in his remarks, Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Kemela Okara stressed the need for INEC in the state to strictly adhere to its guidelines in the conduct of elections.
Barr Okara urged the electoral umpire to properly address the issues raised by the PDP and other political parties to avoid a break down of law and order.
In their separate remarks, the PDP Senatorial candidate, Chief Blessing Izagara and his House of Representives counterpart, Mrs Marie Ebikake, appealed to INEC not only to cancel the fake results but also provide a level playing ground for the electorate to choose their leaders.
Responding, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Pastor Monday Tom Udoh, commiserated with the PDP over the murder of their members during the election, describing it as unfortunate.
Represented by the Commision’s Administrative Secretary in the state, Mr. Lebari Samson Ndom, he assured the protesters that the Commission would look into the issues raised with a view to addressing them within the ambits of its guidelines.