The Bayelsa government says there is no going back on the August 10 Local Government elections despite threats by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and 76 parties to boycott.
Gov. Seriake Dickson, said on Tuesday that the planned boycott of the poll by some political parties, particularly the APC, was a demonstration of their inability to win elections in the state.
Dickson stated this during a meeting with members of the State Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the party’s secretariat in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as saying that the election would hold on the 10th of August as scheduled.
However, the APC and 76 other political parties had vowed that they would have nothing to do with the Aug. 10 polls as the State Independent Electoral Commission was constituted by members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Dickson, who acknowledged the APC’s right to boycott the election, however, stressed that the party lacked the popularity and the capacity to challenge the PDP under his leadership in a free and fair election devoid of federal intervention.
He stressed that the APC was in no position to contest the upcoming governorship election if it could not demonstrate its strength in the council election.
Reacting, Mr Doifie Buokoribo, Spokesman of the Bayelsa chapter of APC maintained that its position was borne out of the fact that members of rival PDP cannot conduct credible elections when their party is participating.
He said the poll was a ploy by the current administration to use the council election to plant his men, who would rig the forthcoming November 16 governorship polls in favour of the Party.
It would be recalled that 76 other political parties had on June 17 announced plans to boycott the polls over the dominance of the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) by card-carrying members of PDP.
Buokoribo noted that the APC does not expect the PDP members that make up the BYSIEC to conduct a credible elections, adding that it was against the principle of natural justice.
He dismissed Dickson’s claim that APC was pulling out of the polls out of weakness.
“The decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa Chapter, to boycott the local government polls is not a sign of weakness.
“It is the way of strength. It is wisdom. This is an election to be conducted by the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission.
“This is a commission that is effectively an extension of the Bayelsa State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). If PDP is the main house, the Bayelsa SIEC is the back house!
“In the past two months, this electoral outfit has had three Chairmen. All of them are card-carrying members of the PDP. The first one is now a candidate for the same election he was scheduled to conduct.
“The second one just rounded off his tour of duty as a member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly under the platform of the PDP.
“The incumbent served as a local government chairman under PDP. Indeed he was a PDP aspirant for the Bayelsa Central Senatorial seat in the 2019 general elections.
“We will not do Gov Dickson and his party the favour of participating in a game in which the referee is a member of our opponent’s team.
Not only are the rules rigged against us, the forthcoming elections are completely illegal,” Buokoribo said.