• Demands cancellation of Bayelsa, Kogi governorship elections
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday called on the international community to impose a travel ban on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and other officials of the commission as well as some top officials of the Nigeria Police Force for their perceived roles in the Bayelsa and Kogi States governorship elections.
The party also called on INEC to cancel the two governorship and Kogi West senatorial elections for the brazen rigging, violence and thuggery that marked the November 16 polls.
PDP also dismissed reports of its plan to sanction former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, for allegedly aligning with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to defeat the party’s governorship candidate in last Saturday’s election.
Jonathan, it added, remained a respected leader of the party.
These were the high points of a press conference addressed yesterday by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
Secondus said: “The PDP, therefore, calls on the international community as well as international organisations including, the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), Commonwealth of Nations, the African Union (AU), and ECOWAS to immediately impose sanctions, including travel bans on the INEC and the police high command for abusing their offices and aiding or allowing acts that led to electoral fraud and violence in the elections.
“The primary duty of INEC and the police is to ensure free, fair and credible election. This, they observed in the breach as reported by agents, voters, stakeholders and independent observers in the elections. They must, therefore, be made to face the consequences to serve as deterrent to others.”
Secondus said the wave of terror that took place during the November 16 elections, was threatening democracy, constitutional order, national cohesion and safety of citizens.
“As the world witnessed, the official conspiracies, bloodletting and mindless killing of innocent citizens by agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to aid the forceful seizure of power in the November 16th Kogi and Bayelsa State governorship elections, clearly show that our democracy is under severe attack,” he said.
He accused the police, the military and INEC of working for the APC by deploying assault weapons, including helicopters, to coordinate the violent invasion of polling units.
The party alleged that maximum force, shooting, killing and maiming of unarmed civilians took place against people, who came out to perform their civic responsibilities at the elections.
According to him, killer security agents brutalised voters and carted away ballot boxes to government facilities where results were written in favour of the APC and handed to INEC officials to announce.
He said: “From the report reaching our party, no fewer than 30 innocent compatriots were killed and many more injured in this organised crime against humanity by the APC, the police and INEC.
“The only crime of the citizens was their expressed determination to vote for the candidates of their choice as governors of Kogi and Bayelsa States as clearly manifested in the results from the polling centre before the forcible seizure of the electoral processes.
“Most distressing is the gruesome incineration of one of our party’s woman leaders in Kogi State, Mrs. Acheju Abuh, in her home by APC thugs, a crime that was abetted by unscrupulous security agents.”
He said the PDP would not allow the crimes to pass.
“The leadership of our great party has thoroughly reviewed incontrovertible pieces of documentary evidence including video clips, graphic pictures, witness testimonies, manipulated results sheets, proofs of compromising of INEC officials and other hard facts to establish the culpability of the police and INEC in the electoral fraud as well as the unforgiveable culpable homicide and crime against humanity in the elections,” he said.
The PDP also restated that it had the details of the roles played by the police high command and the INEC as well as other security agents in the elections, adding that the details would be made public at the appropriate forum and time.
“It is instructive to call the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the fact that since the election, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC federal government has failed to take any concrete steps to investigate the issues and bring culprits to book. The police and INEC had also failed to take any decisive action to arrest and investigate their officers accused of involvement in various crimes in the elections,” he said.
He said the invasion of polling units and killing of voters to manipulate electoral results could not be allowed in the nation’s democratic space.
“If the APC’s political brigandage that happened in Kogi and Bayelsa State is allowed to stand, such would be extended to other elections, including the 2023 general elections and that would be a death knell to our democracy,” Secondus said, adding: “It is, therefore, a sacred duty we all owe our nation to pursue a redress for this crime within the ambits of our national and international laws.”
He concluded: “In this regard, the PDP calls for the outright cancellation of the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states as they are products of bloodshed and do not reflect the true wishes and aspiration of the people of the states.
“We also demand the immediate cancellation of the Kogi West senatorial election. This is the biggest fraud of the century.”
The PDP commended the people of Bayelsa and Kogi States for their resilience and resistance against oppressive forces during the election, stating that such patriotism would not be in vain.”
The party consoled those maimed during the elections.