The Timi Alaibe Campaign Organisation on Friday faulted claims by the Chairman of the Ward Congresses Electoral Committee for the Conduct of Ad-Hoc Delegate Election, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, that none of the aspirants raised objections against people named as returning and electoral officers for the Ad-Hoc Delegates Election to the forthcoming gubernatorial primary election in Bayelsa State.
The campaign organisation noted that neither its aspirant nor any other person in the governorship race had access to the list and composition of the electoral and returning officers until when the list was publicly announced by the Chairman of the Electoral Committee.
The Administrative Secretary of the Campaign Organisation, Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, disclosed that every effort by aspirants to examine the names on the list, which could have led to objections where necessary, was thwarted by the leadership of the party in the state, made up of the Restoration Team.
The Restoration Team is the political organ of the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.
Brisibe noted that Electoral Committee Chairman simply collected an already prepared list by the State Chairman of the party, signed it as an approved list for the three-man delegate election.
He explained that when aspirants requested for the list, they were promised that copies would be made available to them and that the list would be hoisted on the aspirants social media platform.
He added: “It was not until the very last minute when the Committee made public the list and composition of the returning and electoral officers that all the other aspirants discovered that most of those mentioned were brothers, sisters, nephews, cousins and relations of the Restoration Team aspirants. The first time we knew about the content of the list was when it was being read to everybody at the party secretariat.
“There was no way we could have protested the list and the composition when we did not know the people that were named. The question to answer is: why was the list and the composition of the returning and electoral officers not allowed to be reviewed by the aspirants before it was made public?
“Things came to a point that whenever we insisted on seeing the list, we were told to wait. At a certain point, we were told that someone had gone to photocopy the list. There were obvious indications that the list was already compromised and was deliberately hidden from public scrutiny.
“For the Committee to therefore put the blame on the aspirants for not raising objections over the flawed procedure adopted in the conduct of the Ad-Hoc delegates election is to be economical with the truth because it was difficult to protest over a list that none of us had access to.
“Before this incident, we had no reason whatsoever to doubt the integrity of the Ward Congresses Electoral Committee led by His Excellency, Governor Umahi to handle the assignment without fear or favour. Now we know better.
“It is based on this that we demand a complete cancellation and suspension of the exercise as we no longer have confidence in the Electoral Committee and the state leadership of the party to conduct the exercise in line with laid-down rules of the great Peoples Democratic Party.”