Dickson Calls for Protests over ‘Rigged’ Bayelsa Polls

  •  INEC reschedules elections in 39 units

By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State yesterday vowed to personally lead a demonstration over alleged election rigging in some parts of the state last Saturday.

Dickson, who called for the review of polls in Bassambiri, Oluasiri, Opu Nembe, Agbere, Oweikorogha, Apoi, Azuzuama and Korokorosei, maintained that there were hardly any elections in those areas.

Speaking yesterday during a media chat in Yenagoa, the governor alleged that a party in the state took electoral officers hostage at Darius Hotel, Bassambiri, describing it as an act of terrorism.

Vowing to “ lead from the front”, he called on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject results from the affected areas to promote the integrity of the Commission and the electoral process.

“So, I am not only alerting our people at the state and ward levels, I am telling the people of Bassambiri not to accept this and they have my support.

“For us, we will not accept this. I will lead demonstrations and protests aimed at vindicating the democratic rights of the people. Anybody who has been unfairly treated has a right to express themselves, but peacefully,” he said.

The governor lamented that the Nigerian Army allegedly took directives from politicians to do their biddings contrary to the code of conduct guiding its operations.

“I have all the evidence of the illegalities a general and his men were perpetrating against legitimate voters who were only asking to exercise their franchise freely and peacefully.

“From all available intelligence, our state is under attack. They shot and terrorised our people in Bassambiri and carted away election materials meant for seven wards” he said.

Dickson expressed sadness over the shooting of a Government House Photographer, Reginald Dei and murder of PDP  Ward Chairman, Mr. Seidougha Taribi,  In Oweikorogha community and sympathised with their families over the incident.

He said his administration would set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the political killings and other offences committed during the 2019 general election.

Meanwhile, INEC has said it was yet to begin collation of results of elections from LGAs in the state due to the terrain.

Head of Department, INEC Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Wilfred Ifogah, told journalists yesterday that the commission was also conducting  supplementary polls in 39 units in Ogbia and Sagbama LGAs.

“The elections in those areas were rescheduled due to Smart Card Reader (SCR) malfunctioning and mix-up in some units,” he said.