- Says election rigging, minister’s familiar turf
Bayelsa State Government has berated the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, for what it describes as a futile attempt to deflect attention from his shameful act to brazenly manipulate the results of Saturday’s House of Assembly election in his constituency.
An independent election monitoring group, in a statement, had accused Sylva of an “excessive show of desperation to win the Brass Constituency 2 State House of Assembly election with a clear attempt to compromise the electoral officials in the area.”
The group also alleged that the former Bayelsa governor “engaged in a show of force in his bid to manipulate the results from polling units in Okpoama and Ewoama communities using INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) ad hoc staff.”
Sylva is a native of Okpoama in Brass Local Government Area of the state.
Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Ayibaina Duba, in a statement he releasedon Sunday morning said “instead of addressing the issues raised by the group, Sylva disrespectfully chose to attack Governor Douye Diri in a loathsome and infantile statement that was full of bile.
“Interestingly, the group’s allegations were confirmed in a trending video showing the minister storming the collation centre at Okpoama with thugs. What is, however, expected of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart is contrition and not a disdainful arrogance.
“The government notes that like a leopard that never changes its spot, the minister actually returned to his familiar and infamous terrain of election manipulation and rigging once the results do not favour him and his party.”
The Commissioner further stated that Sylva needed to explain what he was doing at an INEC collation centre at Okpoama when he was not a party agent.
He wondered if the people of the constituency freely voted for his party, as Sylva claimed, why were known APC thugs openly intimidating voters that they suspected were PDP members or its supporters at Okpoama and Ewoama communities?
He added that “Sylva’s woeful claim that the Diri administration was inept and lacked acceptance already had a response from Bayelsans who voted overwhelmingly for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the presidential, National Assembly and House of Assembly elections in the state. The elections, which were a referendum on the performance of the Governor Diri administration, proved that Bayelsa State was indeed 100% PDP.”
The Commissioner said the APC and Sylva were only sulking over their terrible defeat and rejection by Bayelsans.
The government equally cautioned Sylva not to unduly heat up the state as he was not above the laws guiding the peaceful conduct of elections.
It said the Governor Diri administration would ensure that the peace in the state was sustained and that politicians exhibiting violent conduct during elections would not go scot-free.