The Ijaw Young Professionals (IYP) has accused the former state governor, Timipre Sylva, and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe, of recruiting young Ijaw men from outside Bayelsa State as thugs to be used to rig the forthcoming governorship election.
The group also claimed that the two politicians resorted to this measure because they lack grassroots support. The alleged mass recruitment is said to be in process in Lagos, Ondo, Edo and Delta states. Spokesman of the Ijaw Young Professionals, Barr. Seighfa Tonye-Brown, who revealed the development in a statement in Lagos, said the youths mostly of Ijaw extraction were being induced with handsome cash rewards to move to Bayelsa State to take part in the proposed revalidation of voters exercise in the state to capture those who just attained the voting age.
However, Brown alleged that both Sylva and Alaibe are working to manipulate the process by having the names of unqualified recruits on the register, which they hope to use to rig the December 5 election in the state, adding that his organization is also aware that the youths being gathered will be used to cause violence during the election. He has, therefore, called on the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be discrete in the way and manner it goes about re-registering and revalidating voters ahead of the election.
“We call on INEC to be mindful of the antics of desperate politicians and their planned attempt to rig the December 5 governorship election just as we make the clarion call for relevant authorities to note the plan by some evil people to cause violence at the election for negative objectives”, he stated.
The IYP charged political parties to prevail on their members to be of good conduct before, during and after rallies and campaign events to ensure that peace continues to reign in the state. “Bayelsa State has had its painful share of political violence in the past and it is sad to note that the same characters who were masterminds of those dark political eras that saw to the deaths of countless youths are now congregating in APC. We have cause to be worried knowing the antecedents of these men. Their only strategy is through violence and manipulation by intimidating people from coming out to vote in order to allow a free reign to rig the election. But their plot will fail because the people are ready to resist them this time,” he added..