The All Progressive Congress and 12 other political parties in Bayelsa state have announced plans to boycott the rescheduled state House of Assembly elections expected to hold Saturday, April 18, in eight constituencies.
A coalition of the 13 political parties, at a media briefing in Yenagoa, stated that they pulled out of the elections after discovering that the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission had entered into a “concrete agreement” with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to undo other parties.
The parties, in a statement signed by the state Chairman of the APC, Tiwe Oruminighe, Gerebo Joseph (UDP), Abbey Daniel (APA), Helen Okorodas (ACD), Tukuwei Powede (ACPN), Bezi William (UPP) and Olomu Ebiowei (LP), Edwin Tare (DPP), King-George Lucky (CPP), Isaac Eze (MPPP), Oniekpe Prince (SDP) and Owei-tongu Woniwei (AD), said INEC and PDP had perfected a plot to hoard all sensitive materials meant for the election.
“Their ploy is to hoard all the sensitive electoral materials, result sheets inclusive, such that after the conduct of the election with non-sensitive materials, INEC staff, the electoral officers of the eight local government in the state will converge at designated places to enter their manufactured results into the original result sheets in favour of PDP,” the opposition parties alleged.
The aggrieved parties further accused PDP of perfecting an illegal arrangement to use the military to intimidate, harass and muzzle other candidates and genuine voters to favour the PDP candidates.
“The PDP intend to repeat their manipulative tendencies as experienced in the recently conducted state House of Assembly elections where INEC manipulated the result in favour of the PDP candidates,” the parties said.
“Armed military men were guarding INEC staff, the electoral officers and ad-hoc staff, while the illicitly entered fake results into the original sheets. Armed military men were shooting gun sporadically in a deliberate bid to intimidate the electorate during election. Electoral materials including the ballot boxes and ballot papers were snatched and taken to unknown destination to carry on their fraudulent practices.”
The parties said they chose to boycott the elections to avoid bloodshed, destruction and maiming which could be provoked by the “wicked intentions” of PDP and INEC.
INEC last week rescheduled elections in eight state constituencies in the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Baritor Kpagih, said the affected constituencies were Ekeremor Constituencies 1, 2 and 3; Kolokuma/Opokuma constituencies 1 and 2; Sagbama constituencies 1 and 2; and Southern Ijaw Constituency 1.
Mr. Kpagih explained that the election shift in the affected constituencies in four local government areas of the state was in agreement with the stance by stakeholders that no election should take place in the constituencies without full complement of ballot papers.
He denied any complicity of the electoral body with any political party to subvert the electoral process.
Meanwhile, the PDP in Bayelsa has denied allegations of plans to rig the rescheduled elections slated for April 18.
Osom Makbere, publicity secretary of the PDP in Bayelsa described the allegations as totally false, baseless and misleading.