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LG poll: Bayelsa Electoral Commission chair resigns, alleges threats to life

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…as Governor Dickson accepts resignation

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has accepted the resignation of the Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) Dr. Perekeme Bertola ahead of the August 10, 2019 local government election in the state.

Bertola on Saturday resigned his appointment citing threat to his life and family by opposition political parties and thanked Dickson for the opportunity to serve the state.

The governor in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, also commended Bertola for his services to the commission and for setting in motion the conduct of the election.

He said regardless of the development, the council election would still go on, as the other members of the commission were in quorum to carry on with the business of conducting a hitch-free council poll.

The statement noted that the most senior member of the commission would take charge in acting capacity, pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.

The statement expressed shock that members of the opposition would harass, intimidate and threaten Bertola and his family all in their desire for him to do their bidding  during the council election.

While wishing Bertola success in his future endeavours, the statement called on Bayelsans to be aware of the subterranean moves by members of the opposition to scuttle the planned council election using different crude means but said they would fail in their mission.

Following the development, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly led by Speaker Koombowei Benson summoned an emergency sitting of its members.

It was gathered that the lawmakers approved the nomination of Ball Oyerede as the new Chairman of BYSIEC  and Emmanuel Charles as a member of the commission.

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But the Bayelsa State Chairman òf the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Moses Cleopas, called on the state government to ensure the conduct of the local government elections despite threats by the opposition in the state.

Cleopas said in a statement  that no amount of threats should be allowed to truncate the planned conduct of the local government poll and urged security agencies to investigate the development. 

Cleopas said the party’s investigation showed that Perekeme was threatened by opposition political parties to pull out of the planned conduct of the local government elections.

He stressed that some disgruntled elements  in Bayelsa opposition who lacked the capacity to win free, fair and credible elections were behind the nefarious plot to prevent the conduct of the local government polls in the state.

The PDP chairman called on the police and other security agencies to ensure immediate investigation of the threats to the lives of the  SIEC boss and his family members by the opposition with a view to bringing the culprits to book.

He said: “It has come to the attention of the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party in Bayelsa State that the Chairman òf the State Indepedent Electoral Commission, Dr. Bertola Perekeme, has resigned from his position.

“Investigations our party conducted into this sudden development revealed shockingly that Dr. Perekeme and members of his family were threatened by members of the opposition political parties who lack the capacity to win any free and fair electoral contest in Bayelsa.

“It is on this note that we call on the Government to proceed with planned local government polls designed to bring in Bayelsa’s next party chairmen and Councillors. It would be sad to accede to the criminal intent of these characters.

“We hereby call on the police and other security agencies to investigate this audacity being exhibited by criminals masquerading as politicians with a view to arresting them for prompt prosecution.

“As a party, we are preparing for the election with the intent to win. Only the unpopular and those with evil intent would be against the conduct of free and fair polls at the local government level in the state.”

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