The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has appealed to Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, to investigate the role of the military in the violence that occurred in the state during the last general election.
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 Bayelsa State capital, Moses Cleopas, the PDP Chairman in the state, said the activities of the army deployed in Brass, Nembe and Southern Ijaw LGAs should be queried by the military.
He wondered why “the army kept sealed lips on the killing of two PDP members in Southern Ijaw LGA without provocation by soldiers”, just as he lamented that PDP members were prime targets during the elections and such situation is “totally unacceptable”.
He further took a swipe at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, wondering why the commission declared three constituencies in Brass, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw, already won by PDP candidates, as inconclusive.
Cleopas, however, said the victory of some candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was temporary and vowed that his party would go to the Tribunal.
He said PDP won all the seats in areas where proper elections were conducted, while alleging that APC manipulated the process in cahoots with the military and INEC to win a few seats in the state.
“The PDP won everywhere in Bayelsa and in places where the APC has been declared winners. We will reclaim our mandate,” he said.
In Ekeremor Constituency 1, Cleopas said a chieftain of the APC invaded the area with soldiers and forced INEC officials to alter results under duress.
He continued: “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 were taken over by hoodlums. They chased away all PDP members from the community. Policemen, who went there to maintain the peace, were driven out by APC in that area. They wrote results. There were no proper elections there.
“In the areas declared inconclusive, in Ogbia Constituency II, we were winning before military men came and carted away materials in Otuokpoti. Same in Brass Constituency II and Southern Ijaw 4; it was pure abracadabra.
“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 in which military men whisked away INEC officials, who were rounding off elections. He also 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.