UK, US delegations visit Bayelsa for peaceful poll
By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday alleged that the Federal Government was preparing to commence Operation Crocodile Smile 4 to rig the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.
State party Chairman, Moses Cleopas, said that if the plan was not halted, it was capable of truncating the already existing peace in the state, noting that the police was capable of handling security issues during the election while the navy could man the waterways.
The PDP stressed that a recent statement by the All Progressives Congress Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, that the party was planning violence was made to justify the planned arrest and harassment of PDP major stakeholders in the state.
“It is also to enable the GOC 6 Division to carry out ‘Operation Crocodile Smile 4’ during the election so as to use the military to rig the election in favour of the APC.
“The Nigerian Army has no business conducting Operation Crocodile Smile when elections are being held in the state.
“The Nigeria Police has enough officers and men to monitor the elections and provide security during the election. Thus, the military should not be involved. Rather the Nigerian Navy should take responsibility to escort materials to the various communities in riverine areas” The PDP said.
Cleopas alleged that Oshiomhole was encouraging violent activities before and during the elections in the state because of his ambitious intent to deliver their governorship candidate at all costs.
The party added: “We also have evidence that the APC has planned to bring in 14 of its governors, especially from the North, to be in Bayelsa State 72 hours before the November 16 election and would remain to induce voters, compromise the security agencies, buy votes and compromise INEC officials from their states who are coming to participate in the election.
“They are to also bring PVCs from their states, which will be preloaded into about five hundred (500) card readers, which they have arranged to get from the ICT department of INEC at Abuja”
PDP said that last week’s attack the Special Adviser to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Youth Affairs, Mr. Bobolayefa Owoupele and release of the suspects after two hours without bail by the State Commissioner of Police was a pointer to what the federal government was planning.
The PDP urged the federal government to resettle voters who were displaced during the last election and stop its plan to deploy soldiers during the poll.
“The Federal Government should ensure that PDP members from Bassambiri that have been internally displaced and driven from their community during the February and March 2019 general election by APC thugs should be allowed to return to their community to enable them exercise their franchise, otherwise the election in Ward 4, 5, 6 & 7 of Nembe-Bassambiri should be rescheduled” it said.
Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Chief David Lion, has shunned the peace meeting initiated by the standard bearers of all political parties in the November 16, 2019 Governorship election.
It was learnt that 37 candidates were in attendance at a meeting held at Gloryland Castle and was initiated at the instance of the aspirants to ensure peace during and after the election.
The candidates who were present agreed to downplay their personal interest by collectively working together at ensuring that there is a prevailing peace in the State.
Also, the United States and the United Kingdom have sent delegations to meet with the two major aspirants on the need to ensure peace during the poll.
The US delegation was led by the Consul General, Claire Pierangelo while the Second Secretary (Political), Mr. Sarabjit Singh, led the British High Commission team.
In her remarks, when she visited the PDP candidate, Douye Diri, the US envoy, Pierangelo, said the team was in Bayelsa to meet with all the political players to discuss the upcoming election and expressed the hope that the poll would be peaceful.
“It is our sincere hope that we see free, fair, credible and peaceful election. These are important tenets of a successful democracy and this is what the people of Bayelsa want.
“We will come back as observers in November to help document and hopefully be a positive presence,” she said”
Similarly, Mr. Sarabjit Singh said they had been meeting the candidates of the different political parties, talking about how important it is that the election is free, fair and credible and for the people to refrain from engaging in violence.
“We came to Bayelsa to meet you, your main opponent, David Lyon (of the APC) and other candidates as well to get your thoughts and opinions on how and what you think about the election and its process,” he said.