Polls: Dickson accuses army of complicity in electoral fraud

PIC.19. From left: National commissioner, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prince Solomon Adedeji; chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and another national commissioner, Prof. Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, during the INEC’s presentation of certificate of registration to five new political parties, in Abuja on Friday (16/6/17). 03311/16/6/2017/Hogan-Bassey/ BJO/NAN

on February 25, 2019

  • Thugs kidnap, strip police officer
  • Governor crying wolf, says APC

Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, has accused military authorities, particularly the General Officer Commanding 6 Division of the Nigerian Army of subverting the will of the people in the electoral process in the state. Governor Dickson, who made the accusation during a press briefing in Yenagoa, decried unlawful order by the GOC to officers and men who provided cover for All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and thugs to carry out electoral fraud in some parts of the state during Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections. A statement by the Special Adviser, Media Relations, to the governor, Fidelis Soriwei, stated that the Dickson condemned killings and hijacking of electoral materials in areas such as Bassambiri, Oluasiri, Opu Ne,be, Agbere, Oweikorogha, Apoi, Azuzuama and Korokorosei.

He also alleged that the APC leader in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva and an oil surveillance contractor, Kodjo Sam, held electoral officials hostage at a hotel in Bassambiri, describing that as an act of terrorism. He, therefore, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject results from the affected areas to promote the integrity of the commission and the electoral process. He lamented that the Nigerian Army, a major respected public institution could lower its reputation to take directives from politicians to do their biddings contrary to their code of conduct guiding its operations.

The governor, who expressed sadness over the shooting of Government House Photographer, Reginald Dei and gruesome murder of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the Ward Chairman in Oweikorogha community, Mr. Seidougha Taribi, sympathised with their families over the incidents. He said his administration will set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the political killings and other offences committed during the 2019 general elections.

The governor assured that appropriate actions would be taken against those found culpable and that the outcome of the inquiry would be made available to all appropriate quarters including foreign missions. His words: “It is unfortunate that the GOC has turned this Division to be the most politicized in the country. Illegitimate orders were issued where a General and officers were seen escorting politicians and supervising elections in Bayelsa. That is how the military particularly the Nigerian Army has reduced its integrity.

“You all know how I respect and support security agencies in this state, who carry out their duties professionally and I will continue to do so. At Agbere, a community that has never known electoral crisis, they went with about 50 soldiers in company of the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, to scatter ballot papers, which made women to protest the violation of their rights. They have turned our state into a garrison of sorts. “The President Muhammadu Buhari that they are working for, how many guns has he bought for thugs to be shooting their own people in Katsina.

In the same vein, in Atiku’s Adamawa, do we see APC leaders bringing security personnel to terrorize and kill their own people because of election? “I have the evidence of the illegalities the General and his men perpetrated against legitimate voters, who were only out to exercise their franchise freely and peacefully. They provided cover to APC leaders. Every APC leader has hordes of security officials during the election, when we don’t even have enough police officers to man polling units.

“From all available intelligence, our state is under attack. APC thugs led by Timipre Sylva and a certain Kodjo, brandished weapons, shot and terrorized our people in Bassambiri and carted away election materials meant for seven wards. What Sylva and Kodjo did in Bassambiri was pure terrorism.” Governor Dickson, however, commended the people of Ekeremor and Twon Brass, who according to him, for the first time took the bold step to vote in the election. He attributed the development to his administration’s relentless advocacy for the respect for the fundamental human rights and the creation of a conducive environment for political participation in the state.

In a swift reaction, the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC, accused the governor of raising a false alarm about violence during Saturday’s elections in the state to try to conceal his own violent attitude to the poll. The party’s Publicity Secretary, Doifie Buokoribo, in a statement, said: “Dickson and his supporters in the PDP were to blame for any crisis during the election in the state following their groundwork, which they unsuccessfully tried to mask.” APC said neither its leaders nor supporters had anything to do with violence or illegal activities during the election, accusing Dickson of trying to divert attention from his plots by making hasty allegations against the party.

The statement read: “The All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State is highly disappointed but hardly surprised by the outrageous remarks of Governor Seriake Dickson during the presidential election in the state on Saturday.”Dickson was quoted by some online media of accusing the APC of sponsoring violence, without any proof, and purely based on hearsay, even by his own admission.

“We have always known that crying wolf is a fancy act performed with outrageous ease by Dickson. But accusing APC of violence after openly unleashing his security strike force, Operation Doo Akpo, on the state to intimidate the electorate during the Presidential and National Assembly elections is the height of indecency by a governor who ought to be the state’s chief security officer.

“Dickson’s character of raising false alarm to try to cover up his political machinations is well known to all, and we are happy the people are just not going to believe him. But, just to set the record straight, APC and its leaders have neither involved nor has interest or desire for any form of violence during or after the general election. “We are a party of peace and peaceful people, and no amount of provocation by Dickson and his cotravellers will make us deviate from the course of decency and democracy. Moreover, it is foolhardy for anyone to imagine that APC, whose President Muhammadu Buhari, by every indication, is going to sweep the poll would encourage anything that could disturb their imminent celebration. We advise Dickson to retrace his treacherous ways and join decent Nigerians in advancing the course of democracy.”

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State government, yesterday, alleged that a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Federal SARS (names withheld) has been taken hostage by thugs suspected to be loyal to chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr. Kemela Okara, who made the allegation, said that the thugs led by one Sunny Goli and backed by the military are mounting pressure on the police officer to accept fake results from Brass Local Government Area of the state.

He added that the police officer’s refusal to sign the fake result caused a disagreement between him and an Army officer and his men. According to him, the DCP, who insisted on submitting the right results to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was taken hostage in the waters and stripped naked by the thugs. Okara, who added that the situation has caused serious tension in Brass, lamented that the Nigerian Army seemed to have taken charge of collation of the election results in the area.