A stakeholders’ meeting organised on Wednesday by the national leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa State ended abruptly, following the outbursts of elders from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The meeting, initiated by the National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, with heads of security agencies in attendance, was designed by the commission to discuss burning issues with stakeholders for the November 16 governorship poll.
But their actions, which occurred at the interactive session of the event, caused tension and rowdiness in the hall.
The rowdiness occurred after remarks by INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Adamu, represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abdulmajeed Ali, and others.
Trouble started when the Chairman of the PDP Bayelsa Elders Forum, Dr. Francis Duokpola, alleged that some persons were chased out of their community and made to live in Yenagoa as Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) after the last general election in the state.
He said: “We are busy talking about 2015 elections and we forget that we had an election in 2019. The Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state were one of the worst polls organised by INEC.
“Because of that election, part of a community is living in an Internally Displaced Camp (IDP), because they do not belong to a particular party. INEC has not done anything about it. I am talking about the people of Nembe Bassambiri.”
But an APC stalwart, Dr. Dennis Otiotio, immediately interjected, shouted Duokpola down and called him a liar.
Other APC leaders in the hall joined Otiotio to refer to Duokpola as a liar, alleging that he belonged to partisan elders destroying the state.
The presence of the INEC chairman, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), who represented the Inspector-General of Police and security operatives around the hall, could not douse the tension.
Mahmood, who was disappointed at the development, called for vote of thanks and the national anthem to end the programme.