The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) abandoned and betrayed its candidate in the November 11 governorship election and former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva at a time he needed them most, Concerned members of Bayelsa State APC said on Friday.
They also demanded sanctions and punishment for all those who compromised against the party in the last election, saying they can no longer be used as sacrificial lambs to satisfy some vested interests
The Spokesperson of the Concerned Members of the Bayelsa APC, Dr. Otiti Etionumeya, made the allegation during a press conference held at the party’s secretariat after submitting a petition to the national chairman of the APC, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje.
The petition titled, “SOS: Bayelsa State APC Can No Longer Continue To Be The Sacrificial Lamb”, was signed by over 38 members.
The letter reads, “We, the undersigned are bona fide members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa State chapter and we write with searing pain in our hearts over the brazen electoral heist perpetrated against our governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, his running mate, Great Joshua Maciver and the entire APC family in the state in the November 11 2023 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.
“We state unequivocally our utter shock, disgust, and disappointment at the audacious compromise and subversion of the will of the people of Bayelsa State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in its bold-faced cancellation of a whooping 84,806 votes scored by our great party, the APC in the above-mentioned election.
“Despite employing underhand tactics by unleashing wanton violence on members of our party in the lead-up to the election and during the election as well as emptying the treasury of the state to engage in unbridled vote buying which commenced weeks before the election, the people of Bayelsa State still rejected the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Douye Diri, and instead opted to vote overwhelmingly for our party’s candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva and his running mate Great Joshua Maciver.
“Unfortunately, and rather sadly, INEC abandoned its role as an unbiased umpire as it was given cover by security operatives to perpetrate an electoral heist of monumental proportion against our great party and the people of Bayelsa State.
“We find it strange and curious that our party’s candidate was left in the lurch by the party at the national level at a time he needed the support of the party the most, and are therefore inclined to believe that the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC has once again been used as a sacrificial lamb to satisfy some vested interests without any consideration for the party’s teeming members and supporters who have worked assiduously and at great cost for our party’s victory.
“If the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) wasn’t sacrificed to please some vested interests, how do we explain the audacious cancellation of results in areas such as Ogbia, Nembe, Brass, and Southern Ijaw L.G.As where our great party had a clear lead until the unfathomable happened, with the INEC jettisoning the respective collation centres where the results ought to have been declared and moved the collation of results to the state collation centre in Yenagoa, the state capital where results already declared at polling units with our party in clear lead were cancelled in flagrant contravention of Section 51 of the Electoral Act, 2022?
“Meanwhile, results in Gov. Douye Diri’s stronghold of Sagbama, Kolokuma/Okpokuma, and Ekeremor were allowed to be collated at their respective local governments area collation centres. We also saw the cancellation of results in other places where the APC were in clear lead across the state thus exposing the deep-seated conspiracy to deny us victory.
“We find it rather curious that while INEC hinged its decision to cancel votes gotten by our party on the by-passing of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), the electoral umpire looked the other way in the PDP strongholds where the BVAS were reported to have been by-passed despite the protestations from our agents and went ahead to declare the results in favour of the PDP at the designated collation centres.
“It is noteworthy to state that we are not oblivious of the fallacies peddled against our governorship candidate in some quarters by some fifth columnists in our party working in cahoots with the PDP government in the state purporting that our party’s candidate lacked the wherewithal to win the election. As can be seen by all, our party’s candidate proved his mettle by garnering over 200,000 votes as against the 175,196 votes allotted to the PDP candidate but sadly, INEC overreached itself and cancelled 84,806 votes scored by our party’s candidate and ended up declaring Douye Diri re-elected as the governor of our dear state.
“We also find very disheartening the statement credited to you on the 24th of November 2023, wherein you were reported to have said, “We lost the election in Bayelsa, and we have conceded in good faith. You directed that the elections should be free, fair, and peaceful, and it was so.”
“Mr. Chairman, Sir, we make bold to say the governorship election in Bayelsa State was neither free nor fair as it was characterized by intimidation, violence, and manipulation of results in favour of the PDP. We therefore with profound respect, beg to differ with your position on the Bayelsa State governorship election.”
“We, therefore, humbly, and passionately appeal that the party spares nothing at ensuring that the stolen mandate freely given to our party’s governorship candidate and his running mate is duly restored as we can no longer afford to be the sacrificial lamb in every governorship election.
“We also demand that all members of the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC who are known to have engaged in anti-party activities during this election be severely sanctioned to serve as a deterrent otherwise we may just have successfully legitimized anti-party activities in the Bayelsa State chapter of the APC. It was George Washington that said, “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”
“We believe strongly that wielding the big stick against party stalwarts who worked against the success of our great party is needed to save the Bayelsa State Chapter of the APC from disintegration and we implore you not to shy away from doing the needful in this instance.
“It is our earnest hope that these concerns we have raised, as well as the demands we have made, shall be accorded priority attention by our great party under your experiential leadership.”
Moreover, the group said “While we look forward to a prompt and favourable response from you, please be assured of our esteemed regards.”