PDP, APC Trades Blames As Violence's Threatens Bayelsa Election – Nigerian News| Faith Ola's Blog, Read latest Celebrity News PDP, APC Trades Blames As Violence's Threatens Bayelsa Election - Nigerian News| Faith Ola's Blog, Read latest Celebrity News

PDP, APC Trades Blames As Violence's Threatens Bayelsa Election



There has been increasing reports of violence in Bayelsa State as the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress, whose candidates are leading contenders in the state governorship election, accuse each other of being responsible for the development.

Ahead of today’s election each of the parties had claimed the other was plotting to rig the election and import thugs to intimidate and attack its supporters.
Despite assurances by both the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigeria Police that adequate arrangement had been made for the election, card reader problems, shortage of incidence forms and violence emerged early in the morning.

A few hours before the start of accreditation, one of our correspondents reported that the country home of the Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri had been attacked by gunmen.
Eyewitnesses said thugs suspected to have been hired by the PDP carried out the attack, while the minister was in the house.
By 9am, a group of soldiers were spotted rushing to a polling unit where INEC ad hoc workers were being threatened by thugs.

Another of our correspondent reported that on Friday night, APC governorship candidate, Mr. Timipre Sylva, along with his entourage, was attacked.
It took the intervention of securities operatives to repel the attack.
Amid the emerging violence, card readers failed to accredit former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Patience, and some of his relatives.

Although he and his wife were eventually accredited, several of the people with him had to fill incident forms, which he said were inadequate.
The experience prompted him to call for a review of the use of the card readers – its technology and complaints about its use – ahead of the 2019 elections.

“About five people who came with me including my mother, my elder sister and a former commissioner in Bayelsa State (were rejected),” Jonathan said.
“These are known people, they cannot go and carry a fake or cloned card, yet the card reader rejected them for accreditation.”
The card reader also failed to accredit the state Governor and candidate of the PDP, Mr. Seriake Dickson.

Dickson questioned the logistic arrangements made by INEC as well as the steps taken by security operatives to maintain the peace during the election.
He said, “I have received disturbing remarks of premeditated brutal attacks on my party supporters in Brass town; premeditated attacks in Ekeremor town; and APC-sponsored attacks on party supporters in Oporoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government, resulting in the death of at least one person.

“I am not convinced by the steps that the security agencies have taken in creating a conducive, safe and secure political environment for this voting to take place.”
Sylva also expressed concern about security measures in place, stressing that there had been several attacks by thugs loyal to the PDP on APC supporters.
The Director, Media and Publicity, Sylva-Igiri Campaign Organisation, Chief Nathan Egba, had earlier accused Dickson of sponsoring violent attacks on members and supporters of the APC across the state.

He alleged that Dickson imported over 5,000 thugs from Delta and Rivers states to cause violence in the election.
According to him, the thugs have been terrorising people in riverine communities in the state, scaring them away from the polling units with gunshots.

The reports of violence had been more widespread in Southern Ijaw LGA, where the All Progressives Congress state Chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe, is from.
Around 10am, reports emerged that five people had been killed in a clash between militant groups in the LGA, which is considered a flashpoint in the state.
By midday, the Situation Room, a coalition of over 70 civil society groups, which is monitoring the election, quoted the Bayelsa Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, as saying that INEC officials had been held hostage at Oporoma, the headquarters of the LGA.

Shortly after, it said the INEC Electoral Officer for Southern Ijaw LGA had announced cancellation of election in the LGA with a new date to be announced.
Around 1:30pm, election observer, the Transition Monitoring Group Quick Count Observers reported that no polling unit had opened for election in the LGA.
However, INEC has yet to confirm the development.

There were reports of shootings in other parts of the state as well, including Brass LGA. For instance, around 11am, thugs disrupted the electoral process and made away with electoral materials at unit 4, ward 10, in the local government area.
The state capital, Yenagoa, was not left out with thugs reportedly disrupting the accreditation process – destroying the ballot boxes and voters’ register at polling unit 06/08/07/015-016, Gbarain 1, in Yenagoa am. Around 10:28am.

--punch

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