September 22, 2015

Violence mar APC Bayelsa primaries...ends in deadlock

APC governorship primaries in Bayelsa today ended in deadlock after it was marred by violence and fraud when thugs invaded the venue. Some aspirants as well as party officials including the Chairman of the Electoral Committee and Edo state governor Adams Oshiomole was held hostage and was later smuggled out of the venue by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) and soldiers. Read the full report sent in from Bayelsa after the cut...

The Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, venue of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary, was on Tuesday turned to a battle field as supporters of two leading governorship aspirants, Timi Alaibe and Timipre Sylva engaged themselves in violent clashes which left scores, including Alaibe, injured. "It was a pathetic sight to see a political event reduced to a combat", said an eye witness.

Trouble was said to have started when it was discovered by Alaibe and his supporters that accredited delegates from Brass, the LG of his arch-rival, Sylva, were far more than all delegates from the other LGs combined. It was in a bid to challenge what was seen as an anomaly by Alaibe and his supporters that a heated argument ensued resulting in a free- for- all between the opposing camps. In the process, Alaibe and many others sustained injuries.

To demonstrate his anger and disapproval of the electoral process, Alaibe was also said to have stormed out of the venue with his supporters in protest. Further investigation showed that many of those who participated in the fracas were ordinarily not supposed to attend the primary because they were not delegates but came as organised party thugs and militants on both sides to drum support for their respective choice of aspirants.

The bloody violence in which all manner of weapons were freely used, including broken bottles, cutlasses, knives and charms could have led to loss of lives except for the quick intervention of the police and other law enforcement agencies on ground. Even as the police used tear gas to repel elements seen as hired thugs and militants, a number of the victims loyal to Alaibe complained bitterly that they were stabbed by Sylva’s men.

All efforts by the Adams Oshiomhole committee responsible for the conduct of the primary election to save the day proved abortive as Alaibe, in company of his close associates, left the venue in obvious protest of the situation. Many of his supporters were also seen joining him in their mass exit from the Samson Siasia stadium venue.

Alaibe was said to be getting ready to address a press conference on the issue later today. Meanwhile, findings also indicated that some of the governorship aspirants have stepped down for the former governor, Timipre Sylva. As at the time of filing this report, Sylva was leading in the number of votes cast and likely to emerge winner.

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