* Bemoans arrest of key members
Nseobong Okon-Ekong, Stanley Nkwazema and Emmanuel Addeh
The Governor of Bauchi State and Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign council in Bayelsa State, Senator Bala Mohammed, and the PDP candidate in the 2019 state governorship contest, Senator Douye Diri, have accused the Nigerian Army of colluding with the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC) to alter results which already indicate that the PDP was coasting to victory.
The PDP leadership said reports from its agents and supporters from the wards and polling units point to a victory for the party, but they elected to alert the Nigerian public and the international community that the General Officer Commanding the Sixth Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, who is supposed to be on transfer to the Nigerian Defence Academy has been the mastermind of orchestrated plot to rob the PDP of imminent victory.
According to the Bauchi governor, “Ordinarily, if this is a law abiding country, the APC is not supposed to be on the ballot. That party has no candidate in this election as far as we are concerned.
“We are leading comfortably and we call on our supporters to remain calm and law abiding. Bayelsa is the goose that lays the golden egg for Nigeria. It is too important to Nigeria and we cannot afford to leave it in the hands of people who will bring back militancy.”
Giving credence to allegation against the Nigerian Army, Diri wondered if soldiers have become part of the electoral process.
He said: “We have very credible information that the Nigerian Army is conniving with the opposition to change results. They are in Ogbia chasing away PDP agents and key stakeholders.
“The Ogbia Collation Centre is under siege by the Nigerian Army. It is against the law. By the Nigerian constitution, the army has no business with what happens at a collation centre. Therefore, we call on the soldiers to immediately withdraw. The invasion of the collation centre is unacceptable to us as a party.”
Lamenting the precarious situation that democracy in Nigeria finds itself, Diri said: “This is not the way our democracy will advance. Democracy is being arrested and under threat in Bayelsa. We call on people of goodwill in Nigeria, the United States of America and the European to help Bayelsa, least the opposite of democracy will occur in Bayelsa and in Nigeria.”
He added that the military have been embarking on the arrest of the party’s key members in Ogbia, where former President Goodluck Jonathan hails from.
“As we speak, they are arresting all our key members in Ogbia. By the constitution, the Nigerian Army does not have any business in a collation centre.
“The soldiers should be immediately withdrawn. This is unacceptable as a party and as candidates. The GOC should order his men from several battalions to leave. He should recall all his men from there.
“We reject all the results that have been doctored. They beat up innocent people. Beat up the youths. They arrested 10 youths who are PDP members in Yenagoa. They are all still being held,” he said.
While listing the names of those detained by the military, Diri said that several others picked up in Ogbia were still languishing in incarceration.
The National Vice-Chairman of the PDP for the South-south zone, Mr. Emmanuel Ogidi, said it was shameful that the army has soiled its hands by clearly taking sides with the opposition to upturn the assumed victory of the PDP.
He said: “What we should know is that power belongs to God. We should know that whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword. It is absurd that you are killing the same people you want to rule.”
Expressing confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to play its role as an unbiased umpire, the PDP leaders urged the election management body to disregard mutilated and doctored results.
“We know that INEC has restored hope to the weak in many instances in the past. We have no doubt that it will do the needful in Bayelsa,” he said.