PDP, INEC bicker over presiding officers for Bayelsa guber poll
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have bickered over the recruitment of supervisory presiding officers (SPOs) for the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.
The State PDP governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri’s campaign organisation’s spokesperson, Dr. Jonathan R. Obuebite, yesterday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) and INEC of contracting a don of the Federal University, Otuoke to allegedly supply APC members as SPOs to subvert the election
The spokesman urged INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to prevail on the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Monday Udoh, to “withdraw the list without delay in the interest of peace and engage the services of neutral and credible SPOs from institutions outside the state.”
He explained that the call became imperative due to the “shocking discovery that INEC had published a list of supervisory presiding officers which was handed over to them by the APC in a desperate bid to rig the governorship election.”
The PDP, therefore, demanded the immediate removal of the State REC, who according to him, “has lost the credibility having shown an unacceptable level of bias to carry out a free, fair and credible election in the state.
He stressed that the electoral umpire has a responsibility to assure the Bayelsa people by its actions that it was prepared to conduct a credible election.
Obuebite alleged: “Bayelsans and Nigerians have seen that with what has just happened, the APC is not ready for a free, fair and credible election. But, I am not surprised because they have a penchant for illicit behaviour during electioneering period. All they have always been known for is to truncate, undermine and subvert the will of the people.”
But INEC spokesperson, Mr. Wilfred Ifogah, has described the allegations as unfounded and baseless.
He explained that the SPOs’ list had nothing whatsoever to do with any university administrator.
The INEC image-maker stated that the SPOs recruited and trained by the commission were from federal ministries, departments and agencies in Bayelsa State.
He wondered why out of the 46 parties contesting the forthcoming poll, only the PDP was “complaining and making spurious allegations.”
Efforts to reach the APC spokesperson, Doifie Buokoribo, for comments were unsuccessful at press time.