Says INEC a repressive tool
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has compared the circumstances surrounding the conduct and outcome of the November 16 Kogi and Bayelsa state governorship elections to Hitler’s Germany, saying that the hope Nigerians had in democratic practice has been destroyed.
In a reaction to the exercise, the party said through a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary on Sunday in Abuja that Nigerians and the entire world watched in horror as the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government allegedly trampled on the nation’s democracy “with an utmost impunity that can only be obtainable in Hitler’s Germany and Samuel Doe’s Liberia, where the lives and rights of citizens meant nothing to suppressive power mongers”.
It observed that citizens agonised as APC-controlled security forces “aided armed hoodlums to invade polling centers, shoot and kill innocent citizens, cart away ballot boxes, stuffed them with already thumb printed ballot papers in favour of APC, after which results are allocated to the APC and handed over to a compromised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce against the will of the people”.
The statement added: “It is distressing that under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, votes no longer count; power and governance no longer derive from the people but from violence, manipulations and the barrel of the gun. Nigerians now ask; are we still in a democracy?
“With the outcome of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, Nigerians and the world have lost hope in our institutions of democracy and security system as presently constituted.
“They have completely lost hope in INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, which has shown itself to be a repressive tool in the hands of dictatorial forces.
“As a party, we condole with the families of our compatriots that were killed in Kogi and Bayelsa states and prayed that God grant their souls eternal rest.
“The shameful elections conducted in Kogi and Bayelsa states have damaged the fate of Nigerians in a democratic order.
“Nevertheless, the PDP remains strong and united in the face of all odds. Nigeria is our nation and no individual or group can appropriate our collective sovereignty as a people at all times.
“Our party will, therefore, continue to fully exert itself in upholding the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians despite the manipulations of the APC.”
The PDP urged Nigerians to remain resilient and focused, adding: “Our party will, in due course, address Nigerians on the way forward in the overall quest to retrieve stolen mandates, rescue our nation from dictatorial forces and reinforce democratic practice in our country”.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced results for the Bayelsa state governorship election in six local government areas with the All Progressives Congress (APC) taking an early lead.
The APC is leading its closest runner up, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with 86, 330 votes.
In the state collation exercise held at the Pro. Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre in Swali Road, Yenagoa, out of the six Local government areas announced from the eight LGAs in the state, the APC has grabbed four, polling 206, 260 votes while the PDP won two, polling 119, 930 votes.
From the results announced by the INEC at the State Collation Center, in Sagbama LGA, the APC scored 7,831 votes and PDP 60,339 votes. In Nembe, where there was pre-election violence, PDP scored 874 votes and APC 83, 041 votes.
Others are Kolokuma-Opokuma, PDP 15,360, APC 8,934, Brass, PDP 10,410, APC 23,831, Yenagoa, PDP 19,184, APC 24, 607 and Ogbia, PDP 13763, APC 58,016.
Meanwhile, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for early distribution of election materials and deployment of personnel to the various pollings units, saying the commission conducted a credible, free and fair governorship election in Bayelsa state.
The IPAC also commended Bayelsans for the peaceful manner they conducted themselves during the election, saying the just concluded election is the most violence-free election since the state was created in 1996.
Speaking during a press conference in Yenagoa, the acting chairman of IPAC, Chief Obi Mac-Wilson, encouraged Bayelsans to remain calm, and let the INEC do its job by announcing the results.
He said: “Bayelsans in their numbers have shown courage and the general desire to elect a leader that would be in the helms of affairs of the state.
“We thank all Bayelsans for their peaceful disposition and atmosphere they presented during the election that is now adjudged a violence-free poll. We thank the INEC, as the umpire for this election, for their commitment.
“We wish to also applaud security agencies for being a neutral and professional manner they conducted themselves during the election. We, therefore, urge Bayelsans to remain calm as INEC announce the results.”
Meanwhile, several mild dramas over the voting process played out during the collation at the media centre on Sunday.
One major issue was the allegation that the election was marred with some irregularities including vote-buying.
Accord Party (AP) chairman in the state, Mr Victor Wezinipre Fisi, who doubles as the state agent for his party, alleged compromise by INEC ad-hoc officials in the field.
“There was a lot of vote-buying at the field and I’m surprised that in Nembe where there was a crisis before the actual voting day.
“No crisis was allegedly recorded while some other units’ results in other local government areas were cancelled.
“You can see the level of compromise by INEC ad-hoc staff in the fields.
“For instance, in the case of Brass LGA where an INEC electoral officer said because his colleague was held hostage, they had to cancel results from there was not fair.
“Things ain’t done that way. Every other LGA experienced a cancellation and none was cancelled in Nembe.
“Something is fishy. INEC’s hands are tight now. There’s no way they can cancel any result at the state level even though the process was questionable.
“INEC ad-hoc staff were taking instructions from politicians,” he alleged.
He, however, commended INEC for the exercise, urging all Bayelsans to accept whoever wins at the end should be taken as God’s will and resort to the election tribunal if need be.
As of the time of filing the report, preparations were on to commence announcement of the results from Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas.