By Lateef Ibrahim
The Bayelsa and Kogi States governorship elections held on Saturday, November 16 have been described as the “latest democratic coup” in the country.
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson who said this during an interactive session with the media in Abuja on Monday, insisted that the two elections could simply be described as a sham, stressing that they were not qualified to be called elections.
Governor Dickson revealed that the state government, under him, has set up a high powered fact finding panel to determine the actual number of the people killed as well as those injured during the governorship poll.
The Governor, a lawyer by profession, particularly lamented the brigandage that took place in Bayelsa State on the said date, accusing the All Progressives Congress, APC, the military, the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of ganging up to deprive the people of his state the opportunity to freely express their constitutionally guaranteed rights of voting to elect a governor of their choice.
The governorship candidate of the APC, Mr David Lyon was declared the winner of the said election by INEC, while the governorship flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Duoye Diri has already headed to the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the poll, which was widely acclaimed to be marred by violence as well as killing and maiming of voters and supporters of PDP.
Governor Dickson said, “What happened in Bayelsa state on November 16 is not an election. It is the latest democratic coup in the country. To call it an election will be a misnomer.
“ The reality in Bayelsa was that there was no election. To refer to what happened in Bayelsa as election is actually an insult. They only wrote results. There was no election”, he said.
The governor particularly cited the instances of the violence and killing that took place in Southern Ijaw, Nembe and Ogbia among other places, where he said results were merely written by INEC officials with the assistance of police, soldiers and thugs.
Hon Dickson put the number of confirmed deaths recorded so far in Nembe alone at twelve, while the number of those injured stand at 93.
“What took place in Nembe was a massacre. The brutality they visited on the people of Nembe, we had never heard of before. They actually butchered Nigerians. They killed some people, beheaded and butchered them, ripped their stomachs opened and threw them into the rivers so that their bodies will not be afloat.
“The governor, who said that a semblance of election was only allowed to take place in his own local government and part of the PDP governorship candidate’s council, stressed further, “there was no election. There was no one man, one vote in Bayelsa on November 16”.
Hon Dickson however maintained that in the eyes of the law, APC didn’t have a duly recognized candidate for the said election as two separate courts of law had expressly made that clear in their judgements, including a Federal High court in Abuja, which gave the ruling a day to the election.
The declaration of the APC candidate as the winner of Bayelsa governorship election by INEC, the Governor maintained, is a nullity, because, “Ideally, INEC shouldn’t have recognised any votes cast for them (the party and its candidate)”.