The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa State chapter, at the weekend, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stockpiling arms in the state as part of its preparations for the 2019 general election.
The state Chairman of the PDP, Chief Moses Cleopas, alleged in a statement that the leaders of the APC in Bayelsa, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, were assembling weapons to cause violence during the elections.
But the APC in a separate statement signed by its state Publicity Secretary, Doifie Buokoribo, described the allegation as spurious and an attempt by the PDP to divert people’s attention from its plot to use violence in the election.
Cleopas said that the PDP leadership raise the alarm to draw the attention of security agencies to the plot of the APC leaders, whose activities he said led to the death of several innocent people in the last election in 2015.
He called on security agencies to investigate the sinister activities of the APC members to prevent a repeat of the mayhem and bloodletting that characterized the 2015 election.
He said that the PDP was not surprised by the strategy of violence adopted by the APC leaders because they promised President Muhammadu Buhari that they would deliver Bayelsa to him even when they lacked the support base and capacity to do so.
Cleopas said that the PDP remained the party of Bayelsans and was ready to participate in a free, fair and credible election.
He said: “It has come to the attention of the PDP that the leaders of the APC, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, are leading other members of the party to stockpile arms to cause mayhem in our state.
“We are not surprised that the APC is contemplating this strategy of violence after having boasted to their leader, President Buhari, that they would deliver Bayelsa when they are unpopular and have no support base to achieve that.
“Bayelsans are already aware of the violent reputation of these so called leaders as clearly shown by the orgy of violence they unleashed on innocent citizens in the last election.
“That is why we are sounding this warning early enough so that the security agencies can quickly wade into this matter and investigate this arms build-up, with a view to arresting those who are behind the planned mayhem.
“The PDP is prepared for free, fair and credible election devoid of violence, bloodshed and the death of any Bayelsan. The APC should do the same as the ruling party.
“We want the security agencies to investigate it, we don’t want a repeat of the violence of 2015.”
Cleopas said that the PDP would not keep silent about the looming violence in the state following arms buildup.
He said that the leadership of the security agencies had a responsibility to treat the issue with the deserving seriousness to avoid loss of lives.
“The PDP will not keep quiet over this impending anarchy being planned by the APC for the general elections. We call on the authorities to take this critical issue seriously as it is linked to the Lives of innocent people”, he said.
In a swift reaction, APC described the alarm as an attempt to prevent people from discovering the truth about another orgy of violence being planned by the PDP.
Buokoribo said the ruling PDP in the state was planning a reenactment of the electoral violence its members unleashed on APC supporters in 2015 with the personal participation of Governor Seriake Dickson.
The statement said: “We would have ignored the infantile allegation deployed in the characteristically unintelligible style of PDP in the state under Governor Seriake Dickson.
“But we are constrained to respond just to warn our people, the good people of Bayelsa, to be wary of Dickson and his gang at a time like this. Their strategy has not changed – flying spurious allegations against the APC to try to divert attention from their demonic plots. What is uncertain is the manner of evil they want to unleash on the people this time.
“There is an umpteen frantic attempt by the Dickson syndicate to keep the change-inclined masses of Bayelsa bound under a colourless administration bereft of imagination.
“And the only way they can achieve that is by visiting violence on the electorate. The latest alarm, in their usual manner, is yet another dress rehearsal for the impending violence.
“The whole world saw it in 2015, when Dickson personally led thugs to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa and other places around the state to supervise the intimidation of electoral officers and APC agents as well as direct the manhandling of innocent citizens.
“It would be recalled that allegations quite similarly worded as the latest by PDP preceded that incident that resulted in the loss of lives. APC members were the major victims of that madness by PDP in 2015.
“Having started with blood, Dickson wants to end with blood, hence the latest practice before the untoward event. His pitiful attempt at a cover-up of his crimes only makes him more of a laughingstock.
“Bayelsans are not as foolish as Dickson thinks they are. They have since realised the devilish motives beneath his usual alarms, and they are prepared to confront him and his ungodly gang of lawless elements head-on.
“APC is a peaceful party of peaceful and development-oriented people. We shall remain so, despite being victims of PDP violence, and will remain committed to seeking justice only through lawful means.
“We call on the security agencies to follow the obvious lead by Dickson and his people in order to nip in the bud whatever nefarious plans they may have up their sleeve”.