Bayelsa REC denies unilateral results’ cancellation
INEC to issue statement today
FAULTING reports of his disappearance amid pressure by politicians on him, the Bayelsa State electoral commissioner, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, yesterday denied unilaterally cancelling the governorship election that took place in Southern Ijaw.
Besides, the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, has set up a commission to look into cases of violence in the state since 2007.
At the Executive Chambers of the State Banquet Hall, Dickson yesterday instituted a commission of six members to among things look into all cases of violent killings that have occurred since 2007, when his predecessor and main rival in the December 5 , governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva, was in office.
The REC, who expressed shock and anger over reports that he has
disappeared and was under pressure by some politicians told The Guardian in an exclusive interview that after the election, he took time off with the permission of his boss, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman to take a deserved rest and see his family “only for me to be hearing different sorts of stories that I have disappeared, that I was on the run, that I was this and I was that. In Nigeria, when things are not going the way of some people, they start attacking individuals, instead of the issues involved.”
On the cancellation of results in Southern Ijaw , Kpagih said it was not a decision he took alone nor was it premeditated. “I can’t just wake up and cancel an election. I was with three national commissioners that day and we even wanted to brief all the political
parties, but it was getting too dark .
“The statement I read that day was a prepared statement, it wasn’t
an offhand thing. I even said it thrice that I was reading the statement on behalf of the commission. I was baffled when I heard that I have run away and all sorts of things.
“I am fine and alive, but my major worry is that we are still doing things the way we used to do up till today. Instead of cross-checking facts like you are doing now, people just write things. You have been
wonderful in all your reports, if you had not mentioned that you are from The Guardian, I wouldn’t have answered your call,’’ he said.
Continuing, he said: “Our national office will make a pronouncement tomorrow on the next action to take on the issue of the election, because right now, it is out of my hands.’ ’
Dickson, while inaugurating the six-man Judicial Commission averred : “When we took over, there were rampant killings , extra judicial killings, cult-related killings and violence in all parts such that Bayelsa was known for violence and cult-related conduct.
We came in and reduced the level of violence and the state became the safest in the country .Unfortunately, before the election, there was a proliferation of arms in the state and the election was characterised by large-scale violence.”
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