PDP GUBER PRIMARIES: ARMED SOLDIERS, POLICEMEN, OTHERS TAKE OVER BAYELSA
Ahead the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Bayelsa State, the Presidency has deployed massive troops, mobile policemen and plain clothe security agents to the streets of Yenagoa.
The massive deployment of troops, in anticipation of crisis due to the controversy trailing the disqualification of Governor Timipre Sylva by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP and claims and counter-claims over the conduct of the ward congress has forced banks, companies and schools to close.
Sylva had obtained a court order restraining the PDP from going ahead with the primaries but the national secretariat of the party, through its publicity secretary, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali, had insisted that the party would go ahead with the primaries, citing the amended Electoral Act, which bars court from issuing injunctions to stop elections.
Most banks had posted notice on their gates that they would be closing for business at 3pm yesterday because of the security situation in the state. The management of the banks stated that the banks would adhere by the closing time until the security situation in the state improve
Also, parents refused their children and wards to go to school. Oil companies directed their workers to go home and report on Monday when the election issue would have been sorted out.
Sources said because of the threat of some ex-militants to resume bombing of oil installations, troops have also been deployed to the creeks to ensure that economic saboteurs do not have their way.
Soldiers had taken over security, from Igbobene to Edipie, on a stop-and-search operation causing traffic gridlock. Another batch of soldiers patrol the streets of Yenagoa to complement the efforts of armed mobile policemen, who were deployed to the state from neighbouring states.
Motorists in Yenagoa, since the beefing up of security, have been complaining about the huge extortion by the armed policemen. Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilary Opara, who confirmed receiving such complaints, said he has sent the provost around the various checkpoints to warn the policemen on duty. He disclosed that two policemen have been arrested for extortion and are currently facing orderly room trial, stressing that they would be dismissed if found guilty.
The police boss assured Bayelsans that law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear, as the police would ensure adequate security for residents.
Meanwhile, one of the aspirants, Mr. Seriake Henry Dickson, has said there was no way the primary election would not hold since the court did not say that PDP should not hold it. He assured his supporters and delegates rooting for him that the election would hold.
In a related development, Forum of Councillors in Bayelsa, in conjunction with the Forum of Legislative Leaders in the eight local government areas of the state has called for a massive boycott of the governorship primary election if the PDP goes ahead with it. According to its chairman, Adoga Godswill, since there's a court order the primary election would be a nullity if it holds.
He decried the desperation by some PDP members in insisting that there was ward congress when it did not hold, adding that most members of the councillors' forum for refusing to be used to give legitimacy to the congress have been threatened with arrest.