Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the people of Bayelsa State to ‘come out in their numbers to exercise their franchise and to defend their votes fully’ even as it also warned the Independent National Electoral Commissions (INEC) and other agents against ‘manipulation.’
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Wednesday, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief
Olisa Metuh, also alerted that the ‘electoral commission, in collaboration with security forces, intends to rig the election as they did in October 31 Borno Senatorial bye-election.’
“The nation is aware of the electoral fraud in Borno state where INEC officials and security operatives were used to swap results in favour of the APC, a pattern that was repeated in the November 21, Kogi governorship election.
“Nevertheless, the National Working Committee of the PDP wishes to declare to INEC and all security agencies that the people of Bayelsa state and our members have been fully rallied in their numbers to combat, head to head, any move by anybody or group whatsoever to rig the December 5 governorship election.
“We wish to make it clear to all, especially INEC officials, both regular and adhoc that the atmosphere in Bayelsa is already charged and that any of them, who in any way allows himself to be used for manipulation would be doing so at his own peril.
“Bayelsans, conscious of the ugly records of brazen doctoring of votes by INEC in favour of APC in the earlier mentioned Borno and Kogi governorship election, are now fully determined to stop the commission in its trail and ensure that such is not repeated in their state,” the PDP spokesman said.
Metuh, therefore, drew the attention of the INEC boss, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu as well as other staff of the commission involved in Bayelsa election to note ‘the fact that the state has unique political characteristics and its resistance level to electoral injustice and fraud comes with dreadful costs.
“INEC should not pretend to be oblivious of the political terrain and volatile nature of Bayelsa state, especially given the recent history of militancy and as such should hold itself responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order in the state.
“Our members and supporters in Bayelsa state are not afraid and cannot be intimidated by guns. They will come out in their numbers to exercise their franchise and to defend their votes fully. We therefore, caution the military and other security forces to keep to the dictates of their
constitutional role of peripheral security in elections, as any infraction on the freedom and rights of our members and supporters will not only be faced with stiff resistance but will also be dragged to the international court for justice,” he said.
Continuing, Muetuh called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ‘note that this country cannot afford to aggravate an already charged environment. Any attempt to rig the result of Bayelsa election will be a clear invitation to civil unrest in the region, thereby further heating up the polity.’
Stressing that ‘Bayelsa is a core PDP state and our overwhelming support base indicates this,’ Metuh warned that ‘anything short of the will of the people as evidenced in a transparent process will be vehemently resisted.
“The PDP insists that for a guaranteed free and fair election, all votes must count; they must be collated and announced at individual polling units and all security agencies and electoral officers must play by the rule.
“Expecting INEC to conduct a free, fair and credible election is not an impossibility considering the record of the PDP in ensuring credible polls in eight elections in the last five years.
“We call on all our members in Bayelsa to remain vigilant, focused and fearless throughout this process even as we expressly direct them to resist rigging by all means necessary,” the party spokesman said.