By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the violence that heralded the last general elections in Bayelsa, has invited former Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) acting Managing Director, Prof Nelson Brambaifa to appear before it.
The Commission, under the Chairmanship of Justice Inikade Eradiri, is inviting the top All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains whose names had been mentioned during the sittings to appear before it to clear their names of sundry allegations.
But the APC had recently rejected the proceedings of the panel, stressing that Governor Seriake Dickson, who set up the panel was an interested party during the polls and was therefore not devoid of bias.
Apart from Chief Sylva, others invited include a member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Israel Sunny-Goli and Mr. Famous Danumiegha, the candidate of the APC for the Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the last election.
The commission of inquiry which has received written and oral testimonies on the role played by politicians since it commenced sitting heard the testimonies of eight fresh witnesses, during its sitting on Thursday.
Led in evidence by the Commission’s counsel, Prof Festus Emiri, the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Daupirimo Ikuromo, said despite the peace accord signed, thugs allegedly forced the leadership of Okpoama and Ewoama Communities to compel their people to vote only in favour of the opposition.
Mr. Ikuromo stated that he and other PDP stalwarts did not have the opportunity to exercise their franchise as they were chased out of the community.
He said those who came out to vote were beaten up and forced back into their houses, insisting that the Army and other security agencies were under the control of the APC during the period.
Chief Ebitimi Ayah, the Regent of Ewoama community said he was compelled to authorise a proclamation ordering his subjects to vote only APC or risk losing their lives.
The traditional ruler averred that the community was thrown into fear by the heavy presence of thugs and threats to monitor and deal with whoever voted the PDP and its candidates.
Also, the Auditor of Nembe Chiefs council Chief Kio Eldred-Siari, indicted officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps who according to him prevented him and other PDP supporters from voting on the day of the election.
Another witness who is the Director Strategic Communication, Governor’s Office, Chief Nathan Egba-Ologo, said that an existing peace accord was violated by the APC leaders and thugs.
He said that the thugs who laid siege on Okpoama community rough-handled the 84-year-old Chairman of the Council of Chiefs, Chief Allen Orukari, and compelled him to approve an announcement forcing his subjects to vote only for the opposition or leave the community.