The Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) has raised alarm over plan of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to rig the December 5 governorship election in favour of All Progressives Congress(APC) in Bayelsa state.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the party National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh said APC had concluded plans to rig the Bayelsa governorship election “just as it did in October 31 Borno Senatorial election and in November 21 governorship election.
Gentlemen of Press,
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after extensive investigation on the processes and procedures laid out by INEC for the December 5, 2015 Bayelsa governorship election, we have now become fully aware that the 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.
“Owing to our respect for the dead and the fact that we are in court over the Kogi election, we refrain from making further comments on obvious infractions by INEC and security forces in the conduct of that 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 any body 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.
“We are all aware of the marching order handed down to the new INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at his furtive meeting with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, to rig Kogi and Bayelsa elections in favour of APC, but we wish to let the commission know that attempting so in Bayelsa will have huge repercussions.
“Prof. Yakubu and all INEC officials involved in Bayelsa election must 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 Baylelsa 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.
“In the same vein, we are privy to the fact that some partisan security operatives have been deployed to Bayelsa state to help rig the election, but let it be known that no amount of force can subdue our people.
“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.
“We want 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.
“For purposes of emphasis, Bayelsa is a core PDP state and our overwhelming support base indicates this. Therefore, 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.
“Finally, 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.