PROBE MILITARY ROLE IN BAYELSA ELECTORAL VIOLENCE…PDP TELLS BURATAI

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State, has appealed to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to investigate the role of the military in the violence that occurred in the state during the last general elections.

The party alleged that some army officials directly participated in the elections and called on the military to redeem its image by probing incidents linked to them.

Speaking at the party’s secretariat in Yenagoa, the Chairman of PDP, Moses Cleopas, said that the activities of the army deployed in Brass, Nembe and Southern Ijaw, LGAs should be queried by the military.

He wondered why the army had kept sealed lips on the killing of two PDP members in Southern Ijaw LGA without provocation by soldiers.

Cleopas lamented that PDP members were prime targets during the elections, describing the situation as “totally unacceptable”.

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He further took a swipe at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, wondering why the commission declared 3 constituencies in Brass, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw already won by PDP candidates as inconclusive.

Cleopas, however, described victory of some candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as temporary and vowed that his party would retrieve them in the tribunals.

He said PDP won all the seats in areas where proper elections were conducted while the APC allegedly manipulated the process in cahoot with the military and INEC to win few seats in the state.

The party boss said that in Nembe all PDP members were chased away from Bassambiri, where APC candidates were declared winners.

He said: “The PDP won everywhere in Bayelsa and in places where the APC has been declared winners, we will reclaim our mandate”.

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In Ekeremor constituency 1, Cleopas said a chieftain of the APC invaded the area with soldiers and forced INEC field officials to alter results under duress.

He said: The APC chieftain came with military men and doctored results and forced INEC to change results to the advantage of his party. This will not stand.

“Nembe 2 and 3, Bassambiri was taken over by hoodlums. They chased away all PDP members from the community. Policeman who went there to maintain the peace were driven out by the APC in that area. They wrote results. There was no proper elections there.

“In the areas declared inconclusive, in Ogbia constituency 2, we were winning before military men came and carted away materials in Otuokpoti Same in Brass constituency 2 and Southern Ijaw 4, it was pure abracadabra,” he alleged.

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“We are going back for the inconclusive polls, but a situation where armed military men were used to harass our people cannot be tolerated”

The PDP chairman said he had a personal experience where military men whisked away INEC officials who were just rounding off elections and named a senior military officer as the culprit.

“It is on this note that we call on the Chief of Army Staff to investigate the activities of his officers and men in Bayelsa because it has become recurrent that army men now chase PDP members away from election points in favour of the APC”, he said.
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