Bello condemns act, orders probe; Police confirm incident, begin investigation
As Dickson tenders video evidence of rigging, poll violence in Bayelsa
We have no business with Dickson —APC
By Clifford Ndujihe, Samuel Oyadongha, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Dirisu Yakubu & Winifred Azubuike
LAGOS — The violence which hallmarked weekend’s governorship polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states took a dangerous dimension, yesterday, as the Woman Leader of Engineer Musa Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Mrs Acheju Abuh, was reportedly burnt alive in her home by suspected political thugs.
Head of Communications, Wada/Aro Campaign Council, Mr. Faruk Adejoh-Audu, in a statement alleged that jubilant supporters of the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, and thugs said to be celebrating his victory carried out the act.
He claimed that thugs, chanting GYB 4+4, and shooting sporadically “arrived Mrs Abuh’s house at about 2pm, surrounded the house, and shut every entry and exit from outside. They then poured petrol on the building and set it ablaze as other terrorized villagers watched from hiding.
She reportedly attempted to escape through a window but was prevented by the burglary proof, with gunshots raining in her direction.
The bloodthirsty thugs waited, shooting and watching with relish as Mrs Abuh cried from inside the inferno until her voice died out. They reportedly left only when the entire house and Mrs Abuh had been burnt to ashes.”
The Police in Kogi confirmed the incident, just as Kogi State Government condemned the dastardly act and ordered immediate probe.
This happened on a day Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State tendered video evidence of electoral fraud and violence in Nembe, Ogbia, and Southern Ijaw LGAs of the state in Saturday’s election, and accused the Army of colluding with APC to rig the poll.
Also, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday said the Police were aware of plans by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.
Police confirm arson on PDP Women leader, as Kogi govt condemns act
The Kogi Stare Police Command confirmed the incident through its Public Relations Officer, DSP William Aya, in a statement, titled “Culpable homicide/mischief by fire,” said:
“On 18/11/2019 at about 1630hrs, one Musa Ety of Ochadamu, Ofu LGA reported at the station that at about 10:30 of same date, there was a misunderstanding between one Awolu Zekeri, aged 35 years, member of APC and one Gowon Simeon, a member of PDP, both of Ochadamu, in the process Gowon Simeon stabbed Awolu Zekeri with a knife on his lap, he died on his way to the hospital.
“As a result, angry youths in the area mobilized to the house of one Simeon Abuh of same address who is an uncle to the suspect, set it ablaze, and burnt one Salome Abuh, aged 60 years.”
Aya said three other houses were equally burnt, adding that the corpse had been moved to the University Teaching Hospital Mortuary, Anyigba, for autopsy.
He disclosed that the Police Mobile Force and Police Special Forces had been drafted to the area to prevent further breakdown of law and order, while investigation into the matter continued.
However, the state governor has directed his Special Adviser on Security, Jerry Omodara, to get to the root of the incident.
Governor Bello’s spokesman, Kingsley Fanwo, who confirmed this, expressed disappointment over what he described as “mindless attacks by rival parties in Ochadamu.”
He said: “We feel disturbed at reports of violence in Ochadamu that has led to the loss of lives and property in the community. It was reported that a supporter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was stabbed to death while party members were jubilating over the outcome of the governorship election.
“The reprisal attack by alleged APC members which led to the death of an innocent woman is criminal and condemnable. Our government would not shield party members who break the laws of the land.
“Governor Yahaya Bello has directed security agents to quell the rising tension and also ensure that perpetrators of the murder and arson are brought to book. The governor is elected to protect all Kogi people regardless of their ethnic or political beliefs.”
Fanwo, who said the State Security Adviser, Commander Jerry Omodara, has been given orders to ensure the crisis is brought to an immediate end, urged the people of the community to maintain peace as justice would surely be served.
Idika Kalu condemns act
Four-time minister and elder statesman, Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, condemned the act, saying ‘’our common humanity has been called to question.’’
His words: “Surely, even for a beleaguered Nigeria, this, if true, is an unpardonable outrage and barbaric politics at its worst! A veritable tipping point, if countless other similar incidents are dubiously discounted!
“Our common humanity is called to question, whomsoever we are. .this crime, surely, is beyond partisan politics. Our leaders in all spheres must declare a human tragedy in Kogi, indeed, in the entire nation.
“All men and women of goodwill, all who remotely regard themselves as leaders in this country, must demand full and prompt accountability for this dastardly act under whatever guise!
“Our creator will take vengeance for the bestiality displayed in the name of hateful party politics!
This is the last straw on the ceaseless assault on our civilization.”
How Bayelsa poll was rigged – Dickson
Meanwhile, Governor Seriake Dickson yesterday presented video evidence in support of the killings and election violence that characterised the conduct of last Saturday’s governorship election in Nembe local government area and other parts of the state.
Addressing a world press conference in Yenagoa, Dickson described the election as a charade and a carefully orchestrated plan to forcibly take over the state towards entrenching a one-party system.
He said: “This is not the first time we are having elections. People were killed, some ripped open and thrown into the river and up till now no arrest..
“As democrats, we believe in using democratic procedures in challenging what happened in Ogbia. In Ogbia, there was no collation done. In most of the areas, at the conclusion of voting, the soldiers came and rounded up everybody and forcibly took them to Ogbia town and asked all PDP leaders to leave to enable them replace with pre-written results. And so the results announced for Ogbia, like those for Southern Ijaw and Nembe were not real.
“What has happened in Bayelsa is one of the most brazen acts of distortion and rape of our democracy. What took place was not a democratic election. It was a military coup. It was the height of conspiracy by the federal government and security agencies to subvert the democratic rights of our people for the sole purpose of foisting the APC on the people.
“It has never been like this before. In 2015, it wasn’t as bad as this. In this case, not only was the Army directed to take over our place, but also to collude with APC thugs to unleash terror on our people.”
The governor urged Bayelsans to be calm, adding that the reprehensible acts against democracy would be addressed through democratic procedures.
Dickson also described as balderdash, the notion being bandied about by APC leaders that it was disagreement between him and former President Goodluck Jonathan that led to their pyrrhic victory, emphasizing that Jonathan remained a leader of the entire country whose image and reputation was too weighty to be dragged in the mud by the opposition party.
He explained that as a leader of the country, the former President was at liberty to receive visitors of the APC who paid him a visit but warned on the dangers posed by the satanic insinuations being weaved around the visit by the APC to sell their diabolic plot to turn Nigeria into a one party state and a vicious attempt to legitimize illegitimate and indefensible electoral outcomes.
He stressed that no politician had stood by Jonathan more than himself and that in the build up to the elections, he had visited Jonathan about sixteen times to meet with him on the way forward for the PDP.
“My reaction is that President Jonathan remains a leader of our country. He is at liberty to receive members of any political party but in the context of all that is going on I know that the insinuations are not misplaced.
“APC came to Bayelsa to take his state and people by force. With the comments they are making about him, Oshiomhole coming to Bayelsa to praise Jonathan. What they were doing is laying the foundation to perpetrate fraud and violence
“No politician has stood by Jonathan more than me. They simply used his name and image to legitimize an illegitimacy. I can see the strategic content. They used Jonathan to expand the notion of disagreement and after the rigging to go to him like Pontius Pilate to wash off their hands and put it at his doorsteps to say he sanctioned it…But let’s accord him the right to meet with other dignitaries.”
Fake policemen disrupted polls– IGP
Speaking on the violence that trailed the polls, IGP Mohammed Adamu, said the Police were aware of plans by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the exercises.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polls in parts of the two states were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags,” adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
The IGP, who said the security situation in the country was stable, however, said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of those that caused violence during the elections, adding that 11 arrests had been made.
On the alleged police extortion of motorists in South-East by police officers at check points, he advised that people should always copy the names of such police officers and report them to the police hierarchy in the area.
Jonathan’s loyalty is to Nigeria – Omokri
Speaking on why former President Goodluck Jonathan hosted APC leaders and comments that his support made APC win Bayelsa governorship election, Mr Reno Omokri, said the ex-President remained a member of the PDP but that his loyalty was to Nigeria.
In a statement issued yesterday, Omokri, a former aide of Jonathan, said the ex-President was, however, required to accept all Nigerians because of his role as an elder statesman.
Omokri was reacting to the controversy sparked off after Jonathan hosted some All Progressives Congress, APC, governors at his residence in Otuoke, following the victory of David Lyon, APC candidate in the Bayelsa governorship election.
Jonathan was said to have tacitly supported Lyon against Duoye Diri, candidate of the PDP.
Omokri said his former boss had no interest in partisan politics and that he welcomed anyone who paid him a courtesy visit.
According to him, it is more appropriate to say Jonathan’s “eternal party is Nigeria.”
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. Throughout his sojourn on earth, he has been a member of only one political party,” Omokri said.
“Dr. Jonathan is known for his stability and loyalty. These are character traits that have been lifelong companions of his. He is also an elder statesman and that role requires that he accepts all Nigerian citizens, and indeed all the world’s peoples, in the spirit of the brotherhood of man.
“As an elder statesman and Chairman of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Dr. Jonathan will receive people of goodwill who apply to pay him a courtesy visit, irrespective of their political or religious leanings. Though a Christian, he has received Muslim groups and diverse other visitors.
“Dr. Jonathan intends to devote the rest of his life on Earth to building unity, and engendering opportunity for Nigerians and Africans and he has no desire, or reason to engage in partisan politics beyond being a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“His being a member of the Peoples Democratic Party is institutional. In fact, it is more accurate to state that his eternal party is Nigeria, for which he reminds all Nigerians that they are brothers and sisters born from the womb of one Nigeria.”
PDP youths blame party leadership for Bayelsa defeat
Indeed, the failure of the PDP to retain the governorship seat in Bayelsa State has been blamed on the national leadership of the party.
A group of youths, under the auspices of PDP South-South Youth Vanguard, who stated this yesterday, also fingered what they called Governor Seriake Dickson’s high-handedness in the build up to selection of the party’s candidate for the election.
In a statement by its National Chairman, James Efe Akpofure, the youths claimed that monies exchanged hands between the party leadership and the governor over his choice of candidate.
The group further said Bayelsa people were not happy with Governor Dickson’s decision to feature a candidate that was not popular among the people, even as they described the choice of Diri as selfish.
Aside from blaming Dickson, the group also accused former President Jonathan of anti-party activities, stressing that no matter the issue, the governor, the party leadership and Jonathan ought to have found a way to resolve it.
The group said: “The failure of PDP to win Bayelsa State governorship election should be blamed on the party leadership led by Prince Uche Secondus.
“Governor Dickson failed to listen to the people. He brought an unpopular candidate, who does not have what it takes to win the election.
“The role of former President Jonathan didn’t help matters, rather, it escalated the situation.”
The Youth Vanguard called for the dissolution of the Prince Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee, NWC, of the party and also called for National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting to address pertinent issues affecting the party.
We have nothing with Dickson —APC
Reacting to Dickson allegation last night, APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said: ‘’What video? Is it about the election? We have moved past that stage. We have nothing with Dickson.’’