Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Chairman of the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC), Dr. Perekeme Bertola Saturday resigned his appointment about 71 days to the local government election in the state.
Despite Bertola’s resignation on Friday, the state governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson said the state would hold the forthcoming council election scheduled for August 10.
Perekeme announced his decision to resign in a letter addressed to the governor on May 31, thanking him for the opportunity to serve and expressing hope that his resignation would not affect the process.
In his resignation, Bertola alleged threat to his life, which he claimed, was not unconnected to the conduct of the forthcoming local government election.
In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Dickson commended for the service he rendered to the state, especially, particularly for setting in motion the conduct of the August 10 local government election.
Regardless of the development, the governor assured that the council election would still go on, as the other members of the commission still form a quorum to carry on with the conduct of the council poll.
Dickson, therefore, directed the most senior member of the commission to tentatively take charge in acting capacity, pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.
“It is shocking that members of the opposition will go the length to harass, intimidate and threaten Bertola and his family all in their desire for him to do their bidding during the council election,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Moses Cleopas urged the state government to ensure the conduct of the local government elections despite alleged threats by elements of the opposition in the state.
He explained that no amount of threats should be allowed “to truncate the planned conduct of the local government polls. It has come to the attention of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State that Bertola has resigned from his position.
“Investigations by our party conducted into this sudden development revealed shockingly that Perekeme and members of his family were threatened by members of the opposition political parties who lack the capacity to win any free and fair electoral contest in Bayelsa.
“It is on this note that we call on the Government to proceed with planned local government polls designed to bring in Bayelsa’s next party chairmen and Councilors. It would be sad to accede to the criminal intent of these characters.
“We hereby call on the police and other security agencies to investigate this audacity being exhibited by criminals masquerading as politicians with a view to arresting them for prompt prosecution.”