The Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson has said the conduct and activities of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state did not build confidence in Bayelsans, urging them to improve ahead of the November 16th governorship election.
Addressing Bayelsans during a live media chat in Government House, Yenagoa, the governor said the action of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Pastor Monday Udoh, led to the abduction and kidnap of some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bassambiri in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.
Dickson alleged that in spite of the fact that some electorates sympathetic to the PDP were chased out of Nembe Bassambiri, the REC allowed electoral materials into the area, not minding the fact that area was pronounced volatile at the time.
He, however, urged the INEC to improve, as he wants Bayelsans to free to vote for any candidate of their choice, saying all the candidates taking part in the election are Bayelsans and he is their governor who wants a levelled playing ground for them.
He said: “I want to call on the INEC, their conduct and activities in the last election did not build confidence in Bayelsans. We had a situation where people were chased away from Nembe Bassambiri and the next day the Resident Electoral Commissioner and its officials allowed material to get to that area, that turbulent environment for people to be captured and kidnapped in the name of the election.
“I want Bayelsans to be free to vote for any candidate of their choice. All candidates taking part in the election are Bayelsans and I am their governor. So I want a levelled playing ground and a fair opportunity for all of them.
“The INEC, therefore, have a lot of work to do. We have never failed our people and they have not failed themselves, so INEC, an institution of the state must not fail our people. So I expect INEC to get ready to conduct a free and fair election.”
In a related development, the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has warned that it would not accept any form of attack on its personnel, ad hoc staff or materials to be deployed for the Bayelsa November 16, governorship election.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu, gave the warning in Yenegoa during the commission’s interactive session with the members of the Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council.
Yakubu said in addition to the governorship election in Bayelsa, INEC would be concluding Brass II State Constituency Election in Brass Local Government Area (LGA) on the same day. He also warned that the commission would not tolerate the issue of vote-buying.
He said that as an honest broker, INEC was committed to conducting a free, fair, credible, conclusive and acceptable election in Bayelsa.
Yakubu said that while INEC was ready for a credible election, the attitude of the political class remained a source of concern to the commission.
“We are concerned about utterances likely to breach peace during the campaign, on election day and during the collation of results.
“Let me remind the candidates that the commission working with the security will not accept an attack on your children, the people we will engage on election day.
“We are concerned on the mobilisation of armed persons to the voting and collation centres as we experienced in previous elections,” he said.
Yakubu commended the traditional rulers for their continuous support to INEC including the mobilisation of their subjects to register and collect their permanent voter cards as well as advocacy for peaceful elections. He urged them to continue with the advocacy for a peaceful election.Read Full Story