PDP Holds Controversial Bayelsa Primary Amidst Tight Security
The party conducted the election despite a court order directing it to shelve the event for now.
The primary which held at Peace Park, opposite Government House in Yenagoa, saw military personnel and policemen out numbering delegates more than 3-1. There were about 400 delegates at the venue policed by military gunship helicopters, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and gun wielding operatives.
President Jonathan, who has technically taken over the security of the state with the massive deployment of federal troops on the streets of Bayelsa, was however a no-show at the primary – he stayed put in Abuja. State governor Timpre Sylva, all elected legislators from the state at the National Assembly (except Dickson) and state Assembly, local government chairman and top state government officials were also not present.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which is constitutionally mandated to witness the primary also abstained citing the court order.
Of the Seven aspirants that took part in the exercise, three walked out midway alleging irregularities and fraud. Christopher Enai, Austin Febo and Boloubo Orufa said the party had rigged the process to ensure Dickson emerged winner. Dickson eventually polled 365 votes from the 384 votes cast and was declared the party’s candidate for the February governorship race.
The PDP appointed Retired Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, the Minister of Police Affairs and former Military Administrator of Bayelsa State as chairman of the electoral panel for the exercise.
The courts are expected to play a major role in who eventually carries the PDP’s flag at the election as Sylva is expected to seek redress in court having been screened out of the primary by the party without giving a reason for its action.