Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Over 30 political parties under the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Bayelsa State yesterday demanded the removal of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Monday Udom.
The parties, which also sought the redeployment of several officials of the commission, said the call became necessary due to what they described as an “unholy alliance” of INEC in the state with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
According to the parties, there was no need for the leadership of the commission in the state to oversee the conduct of the forthcoming state assembly election if it could not ensure impartiality and non-partisanship.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday in Yenagoa, the state capital, the parties said they had lost confidence in the ability of the REC to conduct a free, fair and credible election next Saturday due to what transpired during the last presidential and National Assembly polls.
Chairman of CUPP, Mr. Tare Edwin, alleged that under the REC’s watch, materials were not only stolen, but the impartiality of the commission could not be guaranteed. The parties said: “We will not tolerate any manipulation this time around. There is an unholy alliance between the REC and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to undermine the forthcoming state assembly elections.
“We are calling on the national INEC to immediately redeploy the state REC due to his poor handling of the last presidential and National Assembly elections where elections materials were stolen under his supervision.
“We don’t see any reason why he should be conducting next Saturday elections. In the last elections, you are all aware that materials were hijacked and carted away by thugs.
“A total of 63 card readers were stolen during the exercise in different parts of the state namely: Brass 1, Nembe 23; Sagbama eight; Southern Ijaw 24, and Yenagoa six were missing.“The law stipulates that card readers must be used during the elections but here, where card readers were carted away and elections did not take place, results were just announced.”
Also speaking, the state IPAC Chairman, Mr. Eneye Zidougha, said they had lost confidence in the state’s electoral umpire.
According to him, “Another election is about to be conducted, we don’t have confidence in the REC anymore. There is connivance between security personnel and INEC officials. “It appears that some persons are bent on making the process frustrating, nobody is above the law, officers who have erred should be dealt with.”
Meanwhile, stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the APC in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area have agreed to work for the success of the state assembly election next Saturday.
The stakeholders, after a peace meeting with heads of security agencies in the state, resolved that security operatives deployed in Bassambiri should not be obstructed from entering the community to carry out their lawful duties.