Christopher Uche, Yenagoa
The yesterday’s governorship election in Bayelsa state may have turned bloody as over eight supporters of both APC and PDP have been feared dead, while both parties have continued to point accusing fingers against each other.
There are indications that youths suspected to be political thugs have invaded all the strongholds of their supporters since Friday night, leaching mayhem and attacking opponents in their various communities.
The state Governor, while getting accredited in his Sagbama home, accused the opposition APC of attacking the PDP supporters, even as he accused security agents of aiding the APC supporters in letting out havoc to the PDP supporters.
It was alleged that few minutes to the commencement of voters’ accreditation exercise, tragedy struck, as suspected APC thugs attacked the headquarters of the Southern Ijaw local government area, Oporoma, with four persons feared dead and several others injured.
Several shots, according to our findings were fired to scare the people and pave way for the carting away of the election materials, but the security operatives attached to the area were up to the task.
As at the time of filing this report the operatives are still combing the area for possible arrest of the invaders, while normalcy has been restored, while people are getting for the accreditation exercise.
It was also alleged that about three persons equally died in Nembe, home base of the APC Candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva.
Governor Dickson also blamed the All Progressives Congress led federal government for the slowly nature of the card reader in spite of the assurances from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), lamenting that his finger prints could not show.
Governor Seriake Dickson who got accredited in ward 2, unit 5 at his Sagbama home town around 10.42am, accused the APC in the state of letting out violence against the supporters of the PDP.
“We have seen all the premeditated attacks from the opposition APC in the state, and I am not convinced of any steps the federal government has taken to ensure that things are done the right way.
“We have also seen that the other side is prepared for war, and they are promoted by the security agencies, and we have taken time to study these things”, the Governor alleged.
Meanwhile, the Director of Media and Publicity of the Sylva-Igiri Campaign Organisation of the APC, Chief Nathan Egba has raised the alarm over the violent attacks on members and supporters of the party across the state.
They accused Governor Seriake Dickson of importing over five thousand thugs from neighbouring states of Delta and Rivers State to cause violence in the election, lamenting that unknown faces now in most of the riverine communities of Bayelsa State have been terrorizing the people with gun shots to scare people away from the polling units.
“The wave of attack has confirmed our fears and alarm earlier raised that Governor Dickson was the one planning to cause violence”.
The affected communities are Oporoma in Southern Ijaw LGA, where the APC State Chairman, Tiwei Orunimighe, hails from, Nembe LGA, Brass LGA, home of the APC Guber candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, and Ekeremor LGA, home of the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.
In Nembe-Ogbolomabiri yesterday, 2 APC members were shot until the Military Task Force ordered every residents to go into their houses and remain in-doors.
In Sagbama town, headquarters of Sagbama Local Government Area, one APC supporter was attacked. Sagbama is the local government of Governor Dickson, who is the PDP candidate.
In Oporoma, headquarters of Southern Ijaw Local Government, it took the Military force to repel the PDP thugs, who had planned to snatch the sensitive election materials. Four persons were reportedly killed in the gun battle.
At Odioma community in Brass LGA, Chief Sylva, was attacked by PDP supporters on Friday evening. It took the intervention of the Joint Task Force to repel the thugs and whisked the former Governor and his entourage away.
Four journalists on the train of Chief Sylva, were missing in Odioma for several hours after the gun shots. It took the efforts of the JTF and local vigilante group to rescue the journalists from their hiding late night of Friday.
In Opolo town, the APC Ward 5 Campaign Organisation, Utovie Egba, was matchetted by PDP thugs, when they prevented APC polling agents from gaining access to the centre.
It was also reported that the country home of the Minister of state for Agriculture and Director-General of the Sylva/Igiri campaign organization, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri have come under attack by gunmen.
According to eyewitness report, some thugs suspected to have been hired by the Peoples Democratic Party from Delta state stormed the residence of the minister at Ekeremor town in Ekeremor Local Government Area in the early hours of yesterday morning.
It was further revealed that the said thugs overpowered security men deployed to Ekeremor and made their way into the minister’s compound causing mayhem with Senator Lokpobiri and others trapped inside the house.
Meanwhile, the Independent Nationaal Electoral Commission has suspended election in Southern Ijaw local government Area where it is said that over three persons have been confirmed dead, while over 43 persons have been arrested.
However, the state Commissioner of police, Mr. Nasir Oki, when contacted said there is no killing in the state, saying the election was free and fair.