The political arena in Bayelsa state has continued to thicken with hate with the December 5 governorship poll just around the corner.
This follows a statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa state chapter, that thugs of the ruling party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) launched an attack against its members at communities in Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government areas of the state.
In a statement on Friday, November 20, by the Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organisation (SICO), the allegations against the PDP also shows that wave of attacks sweeping across the state, has left one of the APC members, Andrew June, dead, The Nation Reports.
Chief Nathan Egba, SICO’s director, Media and Publicity, alleged that June was murdered at Oweigbene community in Ekeremor when suspected PDP thugs ambushed members of the APC.
According to Egba, the alleged thugs of the PDP also wreak havoc in Otuan community ward 5 in Southern Ijaw local government area as many buildings belonging to APC members and campaign banners were all destroyed.
Egba said: “This unwarranted attack is coming on the heels of warning by the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, to deal with anyone who perpetrates violence and violates electoral laws during the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
“Andrew June, an APC stalwart in Oweigbene community was murdered by a mob of PDP supporters alleged to have been sponsored by a PDP chieftain.
“The deceased, June and several APC supporters who sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of the attack were ambushed at Toru-gbene community en route Oweigbene after the APC rally in Ekeremor town, Ekeremor Local Government Area on Wednesday, 18th November, 2015.
“The deceased and other APC supporters sustained injuries from machetes cut and were rushed to Ojobo General Hospital in Burutu local government area of Delta state, where June later died.
“The injured APC members are still receiving treatment in different hospitals in the area while the remains of the deceased have been deposited in a mortuary at Oporo.”
“In Otuan, the thugs were led by two serving Special Advisers to Governor Dickson, and members of the Bayelsa Volunteers Force (BVF) to unleash terror on innocent APC members.
“A well-known member of BVF brought in thugs from outside Otuan community while one of the thugs reportedly chopped-off the ear of an APC supporter during an inspection tour of damaged APC campaign materials.
“The attack continued later in the evening of Thursday, November 19, till the morning of Friday, November, 20th, 2015 as PDP supporters kept shooting sporadically to intimidate and scare APC supporters.
“Residents of Otuan community, a strong-hold of the APC have now deserted the community as people had to run for their lives.
“Already, the leader of the party in Otuan ward 5, Prince Coronation Tokpo, forwarded a petition on the incident to the Commissioner of Police to investigate the provocative attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We call on Governor Seriake Dickson to respect the peace accord he signed by calling his supporters to order to avoid further blood-shed.
“Bayelsans could now confirm the party and candidate that is violent and desperate to use force in a bid to win the election at all cost.
“The Governorship candidate of the APC, Chief Timipre Sylva, was billed to tour communities in Southern Ijaw local government area in continuation of his campaign before the reported attack on the members,” he said.
Some days ago, the PDP alleged foul play ahead of the polls, saying the APC had plans to rig the election. But in a swift response, Sylva’s campaign organisation accused the PDP and its governorship candidate Dickson of planning to create mayhem in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the governorship elections in Bayelsa state will be held on December 5.
The election will see key political figures in the state slog it out to make a triumphant entry into the state government House, popularly called the Creek Haven.
However, with the heated confrontations, power tussles and cacophony already being experienced in the build-up to the election, the struggle for the existing political space and power in Bayelsa state is quite disturbing.
Many have suggested that the battle will be a two-horse race between a solidly backed PDP Governor Seriake Dickson, against the self-acclaimed experienced former governor Chief Timipre Sylva of the APC. However, some have tipped the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate, Moses Simon to spring a surprise.