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GEJ,INEC and 157 Delegates Absent… As PDP Coronate Jonathan's Candidate

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President Goodluck Jonathan is conspicuously absent from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries currently going on at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State. People had expected that he would be in the State since he is also a

delegate, but so far, no reason has been given for his absence so far.

Also absent at the primaries, which is about to begin as at the time of filing this report, is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which has before now maintained that it is a law abiding institution and would not be drawn into controversial party issues as an umpire.

As at the time of filing this report, about 400 delegates including the candidates of the party have been accredited amidst tight security. The Governor of the State, Timipre Sylva is believed to be out of the State in order to avoid a possible arrest.

It is believed that he has travelled to Abuja from where he has called on the people of the State to maintain calm and go about their businesses as he would soon be vindicated.

His statement read: "Governor Sylva calls on the people of the state to refuse to be intimidated or provoked into any form of violence over the needless troop deployment. He urges all residents of the state to remain calm and go about their normal businesses, trusting in the ability of our democratic institutions to address the existing political anxiety in Bayelsa State."

Former Governor of the State, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha, who says he is satisfied with the conduct so far, added that it is not compulsory for the President to be in the State for the primaries to hold. According to him, what matters most to the President is for the exercise to be smooth and successful.

About 15, 000 securities are said to be on ground and are keeping tab on the State, especially those believed to be loyal to the embattled Governor. The security men are drawn from the Police, Air force, Navy and Army.

The Bayelsa State Police Commissioner, Hillary Opara, says that security has been intensified in the state, adding that he had received reinforcement of personnel and arsenals from eight states in readiness for the primaries. He said that he has been given four additional Armoured Personnel Carriers, 17 Police Mobile Force units, four Lorries and other patrol vehicles to beef up security in the state.

The PDP says that its refusal to honour the court injunction is based on what it believes are stipulations in the Electoral Act which restricts the intervention of the courts in the conduct of scheduled party primaries. The PDP, which initially denied receiving any order from the Federal High acknowledged the order on the eve of the elections but said that the court is not qualified to entertain the suit.

In a motion filed by the PDP's counsel, Mr. Olusola Oke, against the injunction secured by Governor Sylva, the PDP said that it was wrong for the court to assume jurisdiction in the case knowing that the 2010 Electoral Act does not permit it to do so.

Meanwhile, in a communique issued by the Concerned Statutory Delagates in Bayelsa state and made available to / , the group who forms the majority of the 157 statutory delegates to the Bayelsa state PDP Guber Primaries, vowed not attend the special state congress in obedience of the court order.

The statement reads thus: 'We the undersigned, being statutory delegates to the Congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa state for the selection of the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Bayelsa state do wish to state as follows:

'That we are delegates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa state for the election of the gubernatorial candidate for the February 2012 governorship election, which said state congress is scheduled for Saturday, 19 th November 2011.

'That we have resolved not to participate in the said congress owing to the order of interim injunction by the Honourable Justice G. O. Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja restraining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from holding the Congress pending the determination of the Motion on Notice in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/931/2011 between Timipre Sylva, Independent National Electoral Commission, Peoples Democratic Party and another. The said order of Interim Injunction was given on Tuesday, 15 th November, 2011.

'As law abiding party member and true believers of the rule of law, we shall not participate in a process that is purely contemptuous of a judicial order capable of bringing the judiciary into disrepute.

'We call on all party members to obey the order of Court in order to avoid a degeneration of the tense political situation in Bayelsa state as we are already witnessing', the letter written in the PDP letter-headed paper stated.

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