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Bayelsa residents warn of fake voters

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NIGERIA-VOTE

  • APC, PDP disown them, police vow to check rigging

While the major political parties, the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Party (APC) have disowned the suspected fake voters, the state police command has acknowledged their presence in the state and assured that they would check their activities.

According to some residents who spoke with The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, they   noticed the arrival of  some strange persons, who were driven into the state on Monday evening. They became suspicious of these ‘neighbours’, due to their strange mode of dressing.

“Some of the men who came in trucks are in Swali Town, while some of them are in Sagbama. The women are located in some hotels around Igbim Road, while they are being carefully monitored by some elderly men, who serve as their ‘minders,’ ” a source said.

A civil servant in the state who claimed to have come in contact with these fake voters said that they volunteered some information about themselves.

“I noticed that some of them were highly educated. Most of them are civil servants, even some are senior government workers, just like me, because we compared notes. You know, civil service regulations are the same all over the country.

The part that is of major concern to us is the fact that they were
escorted into the state by armed mobile policemen. What this means is
that they have official backing and this is frightening,’’ the source said.

It also expressed concern that if thousands could be brought into the state some days before the election, others could have been relocated weeks before this time.

Another resident who also claimed to have interacted with the suspected voters said that they communicated in impeccable English. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nasiru Oki, told The Guardian that his command was aware of their presence and that they would be checked.

Oki said: “We are putting in place roadblocks and the same time we are bent on employing intelligence gathering to fish out these people. We are equally sniffing for information about them from reliable residents.”

He warned residents of the state not to involve themselves in any unwholesome act that would tend to work against the efforts of stakeholders to ensure a free, fair and peaceful election.

Also, the Joint Task Force (JTF), the security outfit saddled with securing the oil-rich Niger Delta region, has said that it will not be involved in the Saturday’s election. The outfit’s spokesman, Ado Issah, said yesterday that monitoring the election was a responsibility of the police.

On its part, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has warned youths against violence and any act capable of undermining the governorship election. Udengs Eradiri, the president of the body, told the youths of the state that no personal ambition of a candidate was worth the blood of any innocent Bayelsa resident.

He urged the youths to conduct themselves peacefully and orderly, irrespective of the outcome of the polls, adding that both Governor Seriake Dickson and former Governor Timipre Sylva remain Bayelsa people, working for the interest of the state. Eradiri spoke during the inauguration of Oronto Douglas Library and ICT Centre, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital yesterday.

Eradiri, however, said that the people of the state would hold the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accountable if the result of the Saturday polls fails to reflect the people’s mandate.

He said that former President Goodluck Jonathan gave Nigeria a free and fair election, noting that the least the APC-led government could do was to leverage on Jonathan’s legacy by ensuring that the principle of “one man, one vote” was followed to the letter..

In the same vein, the PDP urged INEC to avoid steps that could cause chaos during the governorship election in Bayelsa. Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said that the party had instructed its members in Bayelsa to monitor their votes.

“After an extensive investigation into the processes and procedures laid out by INEC for the December 5, 2015 Bayelsa governorship election, we have now become fully aware that the commission, in collaboration with security forces, intends to rig the election as they did in the October 31 Borno Senatorial bye-election,” Metuh alleged.

“The nation is aware of the electoral fraud in Borno State where INEC officials and security operatives were used to swap results in favour of the APC, a pattern that was repeated in the November 21, Kogi
governorship election,‎” he added.

The PDP, however, said that “Owing to our respect for the dead and the fact that we are in court over the Kogi election, we refrain from making further comments on obvious infractions by INEC and security forces in the conduct of that election.

“Nevertheless, the National Working Committee of the PDP wishes to declare to INEC and all security agencies that the people of Bayelsa State and our members have been fully rallied in their numbers to combat, head to head, any move by anybody or group whatsoever to rig the December 5 governorship election.

“We wish to make it clear to all, especially INEC officials, both regular and ad hoc that the atmosphere in Bayelsa is already charged and that any of them, who in any way allows himself to be used for manipulation would be doing so at his own peril.

“INEC should not pretend to be oblivious of the political terrain and volatile nature of Baylelsa State, especially given the recent history of militancy and as such should hold itself responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in the state,” PDP stated.

Meanwhile, no fewer than 5,000 personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) will be deployed by the anti-crime para-military outfit to monitor the governorship election. According to the outfit’s Bayelsa State Commandant, Mr. Desmond Agu, the operatives would be deployed in all parts of the state, including the riverine areas to ensure hitch-free polls.

Agu disclosed this yesterday while briefing his officers and men at the command’s headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. He warned them against compromising the standards of the corps and vowed to prosecute any corrupt officer found wanting.


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