A coalition of over 100 non-governmental organizations under the auspices of Democracy Watch Nigeria has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject election results emanating from areas where elections never held in Bayelsa state
Addressing the media on Sunday, 17th November, 2019 at Megalams Hotel, Yenagoa, Bayelsa, Dr. Nwambu Gabriel who spoke on behalf of the coalition said that elections did not hold in Yenagoa Ward 5, Epie 2 Ward 4, Apiffa 2 Ward 2 and Epie 3 Ward 6, elections did not hold.
“Nembe LGA was the worst hit in pre-election and election related violence. Elections did not hold in Nembe LGA, Dr Nwambu said.
He also reiterated that some parts of Southern Ijaw and Ekeremor were completely disrupted with violence and election could not hold there.
Other member of the of the coalition present at the press briefing include; S. B Bafunsho, Organization of Justice for Equity Sustenance; Dr. Isaac Onyike, Centre for Strategic Conflict Management; Comrade Peter Nwokolo, Citizens’ Rights & Leadership Awareness Initiative; Sandra Osunde and Global Policy Advocacy & Leadership Initiative
The statement of the briefing read, “In any democratic state, the protection of rights of citizens remains the primary function of Government. In other words, the fundamental Human Rights as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended provides for the Freedom of Association of every citizen. Anything short of this tantamount to a violation of the rights of citizens. What we saw in some LGAs in Bayelsa state is an aberration to this constitutional provision and grossly not in consonance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended. We observed that elections did not hold in some parts of Bayelsa State as it was grossly disrupted by violence, intimidation and ballot box snatching. In some instances, there were complete absence of voting materials and Ad hoc staff.
“On Wednesday the 13th of November, 2019, a political party was having a campaign in Nembe LGA. Some blood thirsty gun men came to the venue and opened fire without any provocation whatsoever, killing scores of law-abiding Nigerians. Same gunmen prevented election from holding in Nembe LGA. Till the time of this briefing, there has been no arrests, no prosecution thus increasing the impunity associated with committing such heinous crime as perpetrators are largely known and seen moving freely in such communities.
“In Yenagoa Ward 5, Epie 2 Ward 4, Apiffa 2 Ward 2 and Epie 3 Ward 6, elections did not hold.
“Nembe LGA was the worst hit in pre-election and election related violence. Elections did not hold in Nembe LGA.
“Some parts of Southern Ijaw were completely disrupted with violence. There was no elections in Ekeremor.
“Our interest is to preserve the democracy of Nigeria.
“Several communities in Bayelsa state were sacked not due to flood or any natural disaster, but as a result of their affiliation to a particular political party. We did not see the IDPs living in Bayelsa state vote.
“There is a disconnect of the security architecture of the 2019 Governorship election in Bayelsa state and the reality on ground as observed by our coalition.
“In furtherance as Non-governmental and non-partisan organization, it is our collective determination to ensure that politicians who sponsor, fund, aide or abate violence would be made to face the full wrath of the law. We would report perpetrators to embassies so that travel bans could be issued on them and their families.
“Finally, in line with ensuring a transparent, free, fair and credible elections, we call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reject election results emanating from areas where elections never held in Bayelsa state as a way of strengthening our democratic tenets.”