INEC stakeholders meeting ends in commotion

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Twenty Four hours after Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu has cautioned that politicians could derail the governorship elections in Bayelsa State as a stakeholders’ meeting called by the electoral body ended in commotion at the Lady Daima Event Centre Yenagoa.

The commotion was triggered by the comments of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and Chairman of Bayelsa Elders Forum, Chief Francis Doukpola who accused INEC of turning a blind eye to the plight of people living in Internally Displaced Camps(IDPs) in Nembe- Bassambiri following the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Yakubu and the Inspector- General of Police, Mr Muhammadu Adamu represented by Deputy Inspector- General of Police, Operations, Mr Abdulmajeed Ali had made remarks when Doukpola made reference to the 2019 election describing it as the “worst election we had in Bayelsa”.

He said Bayelsans had a bitter experience because of the election and many people especially in Nembe- Bassambiri are afraid to go back because they belonged to another political party.

At the mention of Nembe- Bassambiri community by Doukpola, Chief Dennis Otiotio, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) interjected and told the INEC Chairman and others that Doukpola was lying.  Otiotio had support from other stakeholders in the hall and they rained verbal insults on Doukpola for not playing a neutral role as an elder.

Not even the presence of Yakubu, Ali and armed security men could douse the tension as more stakeholders joined in blaming Doukpola for making inflammatory remarks that have disrupted the meeting.

Officials of INEC sensing that the building of tension could lead to break down of law and order quickly called for vote of thanks for Yakubu and other dignitaries to hurriedly leave the hall.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Police Force has said 30,000 Policemen would be deployed for the Bayelsa governorship election.

Ali who warned that the Police would not condone any act of violence called on politicians to talk to their supporters to ensure that peace reigns on the day of the election.

“Politicians would not be allowed to move freely. They should vote and go back to their various houses”, he said.

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