A group, South-South Peoples Assembly, SSPA, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately investigate the alleged “ignoble” roles played by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the military resulting in the cancellation of the governorship election in Southern Ijaw.
The December 5 Bayelsa governorship poll was declared inconclusive on Monday by the INEC over allegations of widespread violence, ballot box snatching and hostage holding of electoral officials in Southern Ijaw.
Addressing journalists at a news conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Tuesday, national secretary of SSPA, Dr. Ayakeme Whisky accused the military of using the “might” of the gun to deny the voters of their franchise.
He said the purported use of military gunboats to hijack electoral materials for their chosen party, if correct, was condemnable and inflammatory to peaceful electoral conduct.
Whisky reminded President Buhari that under the watch of former President Goodluck Jonathan, democracy was relatively deepened in the country.
He said, “Opposition parties in Edo, Anambra and Ondo States emerged victorious in the governorship elections conducted under Jonathan. Nigerians at this stage of our political evolution expect nothing short of permitting the flourishing of our democratic practice.
“Accordingly, in the spirit of anti-corruption war, we call on President Buhari to deal decisively with anybody, particularly the personnel of the military who allegedly colluded with the agents of a political party to attempt to rig the Bayelsa governorship election at the expense of free, fair and credible democratic practice.”
He also demanded that no military personnel should be deployed for electoral duties wherever election is conducted in the country.
He equally called for the outright disqualification of any political party that is found to employ the services of thugs and militants in order to serve as deterrent to others.
Whisky recalled that the SSPA, like other observers during the poll, received reports of skirmishes resulting in exchange of gun fire at Oporoma, the headquarters of Southern Ijaw, on Saturday during the process of distribution of materials.
He added, “The imbroglio, we gathered, resulted in the death of some persons. Given the tension generated by the ugly incident of death in an election that should have been otherwise peaceful, INEC postponed the election in SILGA to Sunday, December 6. This was indeed a right decision to avoid further escalation of crisis.
“Whereas there was still palpable tension in the area, given the fearless exchange of gun fire by hired thugs and militants in broad daylight, and without any concrete steps initiated to forestall further occurrence, INEC as we are told directed the distribution of electoral materials to the various wards at about 5pm.
“The directive was given despite the initial agreement by leaders of both parties to withhold distribution of electoral materials until there was substantial peace and order in the LGA. The decision, we understood, was premised on a report from a supervising DIG to the Inspector-General of Police.


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