Bayelsa Polls: I never accused Dickson of giving bribes to REC – INEC SPO
…says it’s APC’s mischief.
The Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO) with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ted Francis, on Wednesday denied accusing the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Baritor Kpagir, of collecting N200 million from Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to compromise the governorship election in the state.
Following the cancellation of the election in Southern Ijaw LGA, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had claimed that Francis had allegedly claimed on oath that Dickson allegedly bribed the REC to the tune of N200 million to compromise the election.
But in an interview with the African Independent Television (AIT), Francis came out to forcefully deny and denounce such statement credited to him by the APC as pure blackmail against INEC and attempt to discredit the election.
He said he was shocked to hear that his name was being peddled in the media for something he knew nothing about, noting that he felt embarrassed that such a statement could be fabricated to tarnish his name and that of the electoral body.
‘I want to use this opportunity to state categorically that I never said anything like that as the APC was only playing to the gallery. The statement was totally strange to me and I feel highly embarrassed by it all”, he said.
The Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) had in a statement signed by its Central Zonal Chairman, Bobolaiyefa Owopelei, dismissed the allegation as a figment of the imagination of the enemies of democracy and the Ijaw nation.
Following the rebuttal of the APC allegation by Francis, Owopelei reiterated his conviction that the state REC, Baritor Kpagir, could not be bribed because of his stance on integrity, adding that APC’s allegation was only a political stunt to discredit INEC having failed in a desperate bid to bribe the REC, compromise him and the election.
The group said in a statement that APC was bent on destroying the REC for refusing to be bribed.
“Immediately the REC granted interview that an interested party in the election reached to him to be bribed to compromise the election, the APC reacted negatively by sponsoring media war on the REC with the intention to embarrass and discredit him but the public can see beyond such antics’, he stated.
Meanwhile, reports indicated that APC governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva, has perfected plans to rig the rerun election in Ammasoma , Soutern Ijaw, a place considered to be the stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) being the hometown of the late former governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. Ammasoma is said to boasts of three wards with over 35,000 PVC card carrying voters.
It was gathered that youths in the area have called on the security agencies in the state to stop Sylva from taking refuge in the community saying that “his presence will disrupt the peace of Ammasoma”.
According to reliable sources, Sylva had been secretly spending the night in Ammasoma in the last three days and even alleged that he had finalized plans to relocate to Ammasoma on the eve of the rerun election on Friday and will be there all through the period of the election on Saturday.
“He hopes to call the shots from there all through the election on Saturday. Already youths in Ammasoma are planning to stage a protest to stop Sylva from taking refuge in the town for fear of creating tension and violence during the period of the election”, a top source hinted.