By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has lashed out at Governor Seriake Dickson for setting up what it described as a “strange judicial commission” on electoral violence with its members as clear targets.
APC State Publicity Secretary Dofie Buokoribo at a media interaction yesterday in Yenagoa advised members of the party not to have anything to do with the panel.
His words, “Following the Presidential and National Assembly elections, Governor Dickson established what he called a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the violence that marked the exercise.
“Now, Dickson is a major player and beneficiary of the general elections. Yet, he is inaugurating a Commission of Inquiry. This is clearly against the rules of natural justice. A man cannot be a judge in his own case.
“More than that, the general elections were federal elections governed by the Electoral Act. As a matter on the Exclusive Legislative list, the state government has no role to play.
“On these grounds, we reject Governor Dickson’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry. Accordingly, the APC in Bayelsa State would like to advise its members not to have anything to do with the commission.
“The Electoral Act has already prescribed the relevant punishment for any offence that has to do with the elections.
“This strange Judicial Commission of Governor Dickson is a witch-hunt with our members as the target. Under Dickson, our members have always been victims of his needless aggression.
“Finally, we welcome the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase the presence of the armed and security forces in a number of states, including Bayelsa.
“In particular, we welcome the new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olushola David, posted as Command CP to supervise the elections.
“We urge him to be neutral. On no account should Dickson’s outfit, Operation Doo Akpo, be allowed to operate on Election Day.
“The outfit has no electoral function. Dickson had used the outfit in the past to compromise our elections. ”
On the Saturday polls, the APC said, “By all indications, the stakes are higher in this election than the national elections that held about two weeks ago. This is hardly surprising. All politics is local.
“Besides, in our peculiar circumstance, control of the State House of Assembly would be a major indicator of how our governorship elections holding later this year may turn out.
“Until the emergence of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), there were no serious electoral contests along party lines in Bayelsa State.
“At that time, once you had the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), you were almost certain of victory in the main elections. It was in that sense that our state used to be referred to as a one-party state. That is now history.
“Today, nobody can accuse the APC of not actually existing in Bayelsa State. In the last Presidential Elections, we gave President Muhammadu Buhari 37.5 percent of the vote. We also secured one seat in the Senate and two in the Federal House of Representatives. We are convinced that without the rough and tumble that characterised that election, we could have done better.”