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Bayelsa: Steer clear of poll, PDP tells military

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has asked the military to steer clear of politics in Bayelsa State.

It said that the military should know that its constitutional duty “is to protect the territorial integrity of the country,” adding that it would be wrong for its men and officers to act as if they were politicians.

The Acting National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday.

He alleged that there were plans by the All Progressives Congress to use the army and other security agents to intimidate eligible voters in the state.

He, however, said that the gallant action of the voters frustrated the alleged plan of the security agents.

Secondus said, “I want to thank the women and the youth of Bayelsa State especially the Southern Ijaw youths who rose to the occasion and resisted intimidation by hoodlums to hijack materials.

“We were told that security agents came with armoured cars and harass and intimidate the people.

“In confirmation of this report, the Independent National Electoral Commission cancelled that election in the local government.

“We advise the security agencies, especially the military to know that they are Nigerian soldiers and not the APC army and they must therefore not play partisan politics. Their duty is to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and must be so guided.

“They are to protect all of us whether the APC or the PDP. They must not be involved in politics.”

Secondus said that the Southern Ijaw Local Government had always been the stronghold of the PDP for the past 16 years, insisting that nothing had changed to make the people of the area vote against the party in that state.

He said his party believed that the inconclusive election had been won by the PDP and lost by the APC.

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State APC has raised a fresh alarm over the level of alleged complicity of the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, in the last Saturday’s governorship election.

The party, in a statement by Sylva-Igiri Campaign Organisation on Thursday, had earlier raised the concerns that some top officers of the commission in Yenagoa office were working for the Peoples Democratic Party to undermine the election.

The Director, Media and Publicity, SICO, Chief Nathan Egba, said the APC had thought that Kpagih would remain neutral and not allow his relationship with the former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, to affect the conduct of the election.

But his actions, according to Egba, clearly showed that he was doing the bidding of the former President who appointed him into INEC as a REC in 2012.

He said, “We are now compelled to let the whole world know that Kpagih and Jonathan were colleagues in the Nigeria Customs Service.

“Kpagih rose to the position of an Assistant Comptroller-General of the Customs before his compulsory retirement in 2008, after which he was appointed into INEC by Jonathan.

“The body language of Kpagih, who is from Rivers State (state of birth of former First Lady, Dame Patience) was a clear indication that he was acting out a script handed down to him to deliver the PDP like he had done previously.”

“For Kpagih to have allowed the charade, called election in the seven local government areas already declared, sends strong signals that the Independent National Electoral Commission was willing to just announce the PDP the winner.”

Egba said the preliminary report of the number one election monitoring group in Nigeria, Transition Monitoring Group, had painted the true picture of the December 5 election, which was charasterised by violence, intimidation and manipulation.

He said as a campaign organization, they were worried that the umpire, INEC, would accept results in such LGAs as Sagbama, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia and parts of Yenagoa despite their protest highlighting that the electoral process had been compromised.

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