Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday confirmed the disruption of a court-ordered inspection of electoral materials used during the November 16 governorship poll in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
However, the electoral umpire said it was left for the aggrieved party to take up the matter with the relevant authorities, stressing that its job was to comply with the order of the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, to allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) examine the documents.
It was gathered that the exercise taking place at the Swali, Yenagoa office of the election body was halted following the chaos occasioned by some loyalists of the opposition party in the state.
INEC’s Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Wilfred Ifogah, though admitted that the process was cut short abruptly, noted that the inspection of the materials was continuing after the initial disturbance.
“INEC’s position is to obey the order of Election Petition Tribunal by making available to the petitioner election materials used during the election for their inspection.
“Whatever claims and counter claims that arose and disrupted the process yesterday should be better given by the parties involved,” he said.
But the PDP accused the All Progressives Congress, (APC) of disrupting the inspection of the governorship election documents as granted by the Election Petition Tribunal currently sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
In a statement signed by the state Secretary of the PDP, Godspower Keku, the party said that the exercise was going on as scheduled when it was disrupted midway by the APC thugs led by one of the party’s chieftains.
“The PDP team ably supervised by INEC officials had successfully inspected election materials for the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area before the thugs invaded the venue,” the party scribe said.
He said that while the PDP team was preparing for the inspection of Election materials for Nembe Local Government Area, the party stalwart led APC thugs, threw caution to the wind and stopped the exercise.
“This led to the decision by both the INEC officials assigned for the task and the PDP inspection team to suspend the inspections for today.
“It is worthy of note that the order issued by the tribunal on December 9, 2019 permits the PDP and INEC officials only to inspect the election materials.
“It is therefore a violation of the order of the tribunal and outright lawlessness on the part of the APC to disrupt the peaceful exercise” the party said.
The PDP in Bayelsa State called on the tribunal to ensure that the order given to inspect the 2019 Bayelsa Governorship election materials by the PDP is enforced and urged INEC to ensure that the venue of the inspection is secure and free of disruptive elements.