Disagreement over IDP Voting Disrupts INEC Bayelsa Stakeholders Meeting

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stakeholders meeting on Tuesday in Yenegoa was brought to an abrupt end following disagreement over Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) voting in the Nov. 16, poll.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the event which took place at Lady Daima Memorial Event Centre, Yenegoa, started at about 11 a.m., and went on for about two hours before it was disrupted following remarks by Chief Francis Doukpola, the state Chairman of the PDP Elders Forum.
Doukpola had expressed concern over large number of IDPs in the state, attributing the problem to violence in the 2019 general elections.
“For me the worst election we had in Bayelsa was the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections. We had very better experience, as a result of that election.
“I regret to inform you that half of the communities in the state are now in IDPs camps; they are no longer in their communities simply because they belong to certain political party.
“Efforts to return the people to their communities so that they can exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election are not yielding result.
“The worst affected community is Basambiri in Nembe Local Government Area (LGA) of the state,” he said.
But his remarks were interrupted by Mr Dennis Otiotio, who earlier spoke on behalf of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for mentioning the name of a community resulting in hot arguments among party loyalists at the hall.
NAN further reports that after futile attempts to continue the meeting, organisers had no choice than to end it with the national anthem.
Speaking earlier, Otiotio had stressed the need for centralised security command for security personnel deployed to cover election.
He suggested that once security personnel were deployed for an election, they should be under INEC control.
Otiotio also stressed the need to ensure that presiding officers deployed for elections knew the right thing to do.
“I have discovered that most of mistakes leading to litigation in elections were committed by ad hoc staff,’’he said.
He also accused the state chapter of Inter-Party Advisory Council of not carrying along parties who were members of council in its dealings with INEC.
However, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Abdulmajeed Ali, who represented Inspector General of Police, Mr Muhammad Adamu at the event told newsmen shortly after that the incident was normal.
He assured that the police would do everything to ensure that the election was free and fair.
“We want to advise political parties and their candidates to warn their supporters and ensure that everybody conduct himself in peaceful manner.
“The Nigeria Police Force will ensure that it provide enabling environment for everybody in the election,’’ he said.
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