Nigeria: AC Sets For Tribunal In Bayelsa
Nigeria: AC Sets For Tribunal In Bayelsa, An Oil-Producing State
THE Action Congress (AC) in Bayelsa State is not in a hurry to let Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Vice Presidential candidate be. There are talks of nasty political dealings in the state said to be tainted with corruption. In a chat with AKANIMO SAMPSON, our Port Harcourt Bureau Chief,Oon Thursday, on his way to Abuja, the 'fleeing' AC standard bearer said the party will challenge the purported PDP victory.
Given the outcome of the guber polls in your state, did you ever anticipate what you saw and what measure was there to stop this kind of occurrence abinitio?
I was not surprised because it was clear that the PDP government from the centre to the states they controlled they have been desperate. We saw this desperation very early in the day. What one saw on Saturday was a mere manifestation of that desperation. But I can assure you that we will do anything to make sure that they don’t have their way. Let me tell you what happened in Bayelsa state that day. Election is a complete process. It starts from the voter registration to the day you pick forms and all that. INEC took up this process. The process was supposed to continue with the effective distribution of materials from the centre to the various local units by the INEC. That aspect of the process took place in Bayelsa state. But what did not take place was the voting. Materials were actually moved but the sensitive materials were not given to the electoral officers. Even the electoral officers were not given the result sheets for the various local government areas. They were not even trusted to be given the materials. They were only given the insensitive materials – ballot papers, boxes etc. when they distributed the materials and realized that there were no result sheets, they abandoned the materials in INEC office. Some of the materials as at that afternoon were still floating on River and others Nun. These people know the implication of distributing the materials without result papers. It could be disastrous. The people then abandoned the materials and took off with the money given to them. So when voting did not take place, how can you announce the result? The actual exercise of voting was frustrated. As a candidate, I did not vote because the materials were not there at my unit Ogobiri ward II.
Are you saying that this was the situation generally in all the LGAs of the state or just in a few places?
I monitored the elections with my colleague, Hon. Braimbaifa of DPP in the state. We moved from one place to another. Materials did not even get to Oporoma. If it did not get to Oporoma, how will it get to Amassoma? It got Sagbama LGA headquarters but it could not leave there because of the problems I have aforesaid. I roved Yenagoa with camera, and there was no voting. AIT was at my place to film the voting, but there was nothing like that.
Will you now say that this was a calculated attempt by the PDP to rig the elections?
Definitely, they have become so unpopular in all the states they control. They knew they would fail in a free and fair election. In Katsina state where the PDP Presidential candidate comes from, election was free. Why then can’t the same happen where the running mate comes from? Why should Jonathan frustrate the process in Bayelsa state? We will challenge this result in the court. The fear of their unpopularity made them to cast the votes in Government House. If you have a credible candidate, why then should you be afraid? CNPP in the state has been calling for the removal of the INEC office from where it is now, you know it is directly opposite the government house. Government keeps INEC there so that as materials are coming, they will just cart them to the government house.
AC in Rivers State has called for the cancellation of the election in the state, are you in support of that decision in Bayelsa?
Certainly. Even if INEC had turned round to announce me as the winner of that election, I will still reject it because I will believe that I was not voted. I want to be a governor that Bayelsans voted. I want a thorough process not a faulty one like this. So we call for the cancellation of the election in Bayelsa state.
Some candidates in the state were said to have been heavily paid by PDP to step down, why didn’t you accept the money when you knew that it was going to end like this?
I was approached.
Others were approached too. I was offered as much as N180
million but I turned it down because I said we must go in to
this race for Bayelsans to choose among the twelve of us who
will govern them. I will be satisfied with that.
AC is the strongest opposition in the state. We came in only last year and I am the strongest opposition. So one will believe that this was the highest amount they could offer. If I were to step down for a better and credible candidate, I will not even collect a dime. Even with a billion naira, I cannot step down for an incompetent person presented on a faulty platform. But let me tell you that no matter what they will manifest in the state, we will deliver 25 per cent to our Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the Presidential election. I can assure you that