Elders, party supporters allegedly disrupt INEC’s stakeholders’ meeting in Bayelsa
Two elders loyal to the two contending political parties in the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa, almost engaged each other in a fisticuff at a stakeholders meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa.
Consequently, the meeting ended abrupt as Chairman of the Bayelsa Elders Forum (BEF), Francis Doukpolagha, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loyalist and representative of All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman at the event, Dennis Otitio, engaged each other in war of words that almost led to a fight.
This was due to disagreement over the issue of the people allegedly displaced in the 2019 general election.
Trouble started at about 1pm, during the second round of comments and discussion session by leaders of political parties when Doukpolagha was speaking.
Doukpolagha had expressed concern about Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were allegedly displaced due to electoral violence in the 2019 general elections.
But Otiotio, who had earlier spoken at the meeting on behalf of the APC, immediately interrupted him for mentioning the name of a community.
Otitio had shouted him down saying, he was lying and was joined by others in the hall claiming that Doukpolagha was one of the elders causing confusion in the state by not playing a neutral role, but instead live only for their stomachs.
The commotion caused by the two elders became so serious that it pitched some PDP and APC supporters against one another but for the intervention of security agencies.
The meeting ended abruptly as not even the presence of the INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, representative of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the heavy security presence could douse the tension.
Besides, Governor Seriake Dickson has argued that INEC has not given a convincing reassurance of it impartiality to the people of Bayelsa in the forthcoming governorship election.
He stated that it was worrisome and shocking that INEC betrayed the confidence of the Bayelsa people by its collusion with security agencies to rig the last Presidential and National Assembly elections in parts of the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Fidelis Soriwei, revealed that Dickson made the comment while speaking on political developments in the state, especially the forthcoming election during a live media chat in Yenagoa.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of APC, David Lyon, said the PDP and Governor Seriake Dickson lacked substance to campaign with hence they have resorted to campaign of calumny and blackmail.
Reacting to a statement credited to Dickson and the PDP candidate, Douye Diri, that the APC will introduce criminality, Lyon advised Dickson to tell Bayelsa people what he did with the trillions of Naira that accrued to the state in eight years of his administration instead of engaging in blackmail and fantasies.