Bayelsa State ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its rival, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have accused each other of trying to rig the Southern Ijaw supplementary poll in order to secure needed votes to win the stalemate Gubernatorial election.
Speaking ahead of the rerun poll slated for January 9, the state Governor and candidate of the PDP, Seriake Dickson told his main rival and the APC candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva to “accept defeat or be ready to be humiliated by the people as no militant can deliver him and the APC”.
The governor also urged youths’ presidents and Community Development Committee (CDC) chairmen to prove that they were ready for free, fair, credible and violence-free polls.
Dickson claimed during an interactive session with youth leaders and CDC chairmen at the Government House in Yenagoa, that APC chieftains were jittery because “they do not have grassroots support and this is the right time to prove to the entire world that the APC has no support base”.
He said: “We believe in free and fair elections, but the APC cannot come to your villages to decide for you the right to vote for who you want. They know that you have decided from unit to ward and to community. We are going to defeat them fair and square.
He alleged that APC were trying to utilize hoodlums to secure votes: “In Peremabiri, in broad daylight, a miscreant, supported by the military, attacked and invaded the community for no just cause. But to intimidate them, ahead of the rescheduled poll…” he said.
In reaction, the Bayelsa State APC warned Governor Dickson against pushing his ambition to the extreme to the detriment of the state.
According to the state APC Chairman, Chief Tiwe Oruminighe, Dickson’s desperation and inordinate quest to get a second term, has pushed him into political romance with former militants.
“The governor is full of deceits. I want Bayelsans to know that the governor is the person who will be doing something but will be shouting to deceive the people about what he is doing,” Oruminighe declared.
He added: “The elections that took place in Ekeremor, Sagbama and Nembe, which he claimed he won, were marred by violence. A minister’s house was under fire, but the governor accused the minister. He did not talk about the safety of the minister. The governor is inciting Bayelsans against Bayelsans. He would call the chiefs and the people and incite them.
“The governor’s desperation is becoming too obvious and he has become so restless. He talks about people as if people do not know him in Bayelsa before.
“Look at the way Dickson became the governor of this state – through violence. If you remember, the flag bearer of the party, who was then the incumbent governor, was removed from office by force. It was like a military coup. Dickson, as a governor, came through the back door. That is why he is so scared. I feel that he has never contested an election before.As the days go by, he becomes more desperate, saying all kinds of things…”
By Olisemeka Obeche