Timipre Sylva, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, has reacted to his defeat to Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party at the just concluded polls.
Dickson was adjudged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to have polled 134,998 votes against Sylva’s 86,852 votes.
Speaking at a news conference in Yenagoa on Monday, Sylva rejected the result and said the APC would contest the result in court.
Sylva also alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission and the PDP were in cahoot to manipulate the election in favour of the incumbent governor.
“This was collusion between the INEC and the PDP. Even the cancellation of elections in APC strongholds was a clear collusion. So, we feel that we have not had a free and fair treatment. I believe that in any free and fair election in Bayelsa, the APC will win.
“But unfortunately, why we are trying to be free and fair, our opponent is bent on rigging the process, because as we heard, they were bent on keeping Bayelsa. Then there is no way you can win. They were just bent from the beginning to rig the process.
“The results have been announced, but as far as we are concerned, they are completely unacceptable to us. However, we have called on all APC members to keep calm. There is no point for anybody to take the laws into their hands.
“We will seek redress in a competent court of law, but I will like to put this on record that as far as the APC is concerned, what happened in Bayelsa State was not a proper election.
“It was just the normal impunity of the PDP playing out. Of course, this institution was already set up by the PDP. It was inherited by this government and it will take a while before we see a complete disappearance of this attitude from Nigeria.
“So far, we have told our supporters to just keep calm and wait for instructions from us. I address the press to let you know the position of our party.”
“I said it over and over again that I did not have confidence in the state’s REC and the Administration Manager. I even reduced my complaint to writing and we sent a petition. Usually before an election of this magnitude, the INEC officials are switched.
“They send them to other states and bring other electoral commissioners to the state. This time, they chose a team that was already in place, set up by the PDP as a rigging machine.
“This was the same team that returned almost 100 per cent of all voters in Bayelsa to the former President Goodluck Jonathan in the state and we feel that these people could not have given us a free and fair treatment.
“Unfortunately, our cries fell on deaf ears. On Sunday, they proved themselves true to type. We believe that the election could have even been declared inconclusive on Sunday because there were still lots of votes outstanding – 53, 000 votes and they still declared the result against the law.”
“Even though, I did not get any reprieve, I had to take part in the election. I went into the election hoping that the REC would have a change of heart and do the right thing.
“The Bayelsa INEC set up is a part of the rigging machinery of the PDP. They sent materials to nearest communities while neglecting those in the farthest communities, because they are our strongholds.
“The PDP strategy was to frustrate election in Southern Ijaw Local Government and they colluded with INEC to do this. There was no election in Southern Ijaw LG. The cancellations were done at the local government level, which was a misnomer. When we complained at a time, the INEC panel said they did not have the power to cancel any part of an election, but they cancelled the Southern Ijaw votes.
“Most of the Supervising Polling Agents were their people, and when I complained to the REC, he said that he had instructions to engage experienced hands for the election. These experienced hands were the same set of SPOs, who have rigged several elections in the state in the past.
“The whole thing is like a rat in a cat’s court. A rat can never win in a cat’s court. The election was procured for the PDP. It was a turnkey project for the PDP.”