Ahead of Saturday’s Bayelsa state governorship supplementary election in Southern Ijaw, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of plans to use security agents and INEC officials to rig the election.
But in a swift response, the APC expressed worries at what it called the ‘latest and familiar antics of the PDP which has been beating war drums” ahead of Saturday’s poll, describing it as a ploy by PDP to intimidate eligible voters, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and security operatives deployed to ensure peaceful, free and credible election.
In a statement issued by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, in Abuja, the APC maintained that it is important that security agencies must be on high alert over the dangerous threats by the PDP to cause a breakdown of law and order in the state on Saturday.
The PDP had in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Tuesday in Abuja, directed its members in the state and particularly Southern Ijaw Local Government, to use all means necessary in a democracy to resist any move by the APC to rig the election, stressing that the directive became necessary following its (PDP’s) loss of confidence in the INEC, and security.
Besides, the PDP instructed its members and supporters not to leave the polling area after casting their votes, but to remain alert within the distance provided by the law and go ahead to use all means necessary to defend and protect their votes, should there be any attempt by anybody to rig the process.
The party called on the international community and all well-meaning Nigerians to note the ceaseless undemocratic activities of the APC-led federal government and to hold it responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order during the Saturday’s election.
The party alleged it was aware of plots by the APC to use compromised security operatives and INEC officials to attempt to produce fictitious votes and declare itself winner, but vowed that any such unholy bid would be greeted with vehement resistance and dire consequences.
The PDP leadership reiterated that Southern Ijaw is a well-known PDP stronghold and that it would never accept any results that do not reflect the will of the people.
According to the party: “We issue this statement as direct notice to the APC and their compromised INEC, military and other security operatives who have been stationed to ostensibly assist to produce fictitious votes with which the APC intends to declare itself winner.
“Let it be known to all that PDP is fully mobilised for Saturday’s supplementary election. Our members across Southern Ijaw have been stationed in every polling unit, every collation centre and every exit and entry point in the area, and have been directed to use all means available in a democracy to stop the APC in their trail.
“Southern Ijaw Local Government is a well-known stronghold of the PDP and we will not in anyway accept anything short of free, fair and credible elections, abundantly reflecting the will of the people.
“Anything to the contrary will attract terrible consequences. We restate our resolve that never again would the PDP allow itself to be manipulated out in any election at any level, no matter the intimidation by the APC-led administration.
“Consequent upon our loss of confidence in INEC and security agencies, we hereby make public our instruction to our members and supporters not to leave the polling area after casting their votes, but to remain alert within the distance provided by the law and go ahead to use all means necessary to defend and protect their votes, should there be any attempt by anybody to rig the process.
“The PDP will intently monitor and keep records of activities, including all votes cast in every polling unit in Southern Ijaw and our members will not hesitate to unleash a legitimate anger, if at any point in collation, fictitious figures appear. In this regard, any INEC official who becomes a tool in the hands of evil will have him or herself to blame.
“Finally, we call on the international community and all well-meaning Nigerians to note the ceaseless undemocratic activities of the APC-led Federal Government and to hold it responsible should there be any breakdown of law and order during the Saturday’s supplementary election in Bayelsa State”, it warned.
But the APC expressed worries over the threat saying: “The APC is worried by the latest and familiar antics of the PDP which has been beating war drums ahead of Saturday’s Bayelsa state governorship supplementary election in Southern Ijaw Local Government.
“The party is aware of the PDP’s ploy to intimidate eligible voters, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security operatives deployed to ensure peaceful, free and credible supplementary elections in Bayelsa state on Saturday.
“While the APC prays for a peaceful, free and credible supplementary election come Saturday, security agencies must be on high alert over the dangerous threats by the PDP to cause a breakdown of law and order in Bayelsa state on Saturday.
“Already, the PDP leadership through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, has issued instructions to PDP members and supporters to go ahead to use all means necessary in Saturday’s supplementary election in the Southern Ijaw, come Saturday.
“This is among other dangerous threats by the PDP warning of ‘terrible consequences’ to INEC officials and security operatives.
“As the saying goes, history may not repeat itself but it rhymes. It is clear that the PDP is still hung over its old ways of doing things. The days of ‘do or die’ politics is over.
“Never again will the country return to the PDP ways of election fraud and violence. Change has come.
“We call on the PDP to embrace the new Nigeria where elections are peaceful and votes of the people count.
“The APC is confident in INEC and security agencies ability to deliver peaceful, free and credible supplementary election come Saturday.
“On election day, we urge Bayelsans and all eligible voters in the state to go about their legitimate activities. We also call on INEC and security operatives to be mindful of the dangerous threats by the PDP, while also focusing on its legitimate election duties.
“The APC encourages the people of Bayelsa, particularly Southern Ijaw Local Government to come out during Saturday’s Bayesla supplementary election and vote massively for the APC governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, as he is poised to deliver on APC’s change agenda as well as the dividends of democracy that has eluded the state.
“Looking back at the last seven months under the APC, it is clear that the party is on the right track to delivering on its change agenda. It is the right of Bayelsans to abandon a sinking ship and join one that is smooth-sailing”, it stressed.