The Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate in Saturday’s Bayelsa State governorship election, Udengs Eradiri, has said the just-concluded poll is the most monetised in the country’s history.
In a press briefing at his campaign office in Yenogoa, the state capital, on Tuesday, Eradiri accused Governor Douye Diri of emptying the state treasury and deploying taxpayers’ money to induce voters.
Eradiri said the election was held against the laid-down procedures and ground rules that democratic elections should follow and likened the conduct of the exercise to a market square or business centre where goods are auctioned, bargained for and purchased.
He said, “Our state resources were used to intimidate our traumatised people, who have been impoverished by this government. This government deliberately weaponised poverty and forced the people to sell their conscience for money at the polls.
“I consider vote-buying a crime against humanity. I cannot engage in vote-buying because it is a demonstration of a lack of performance, unpopularity, incompetence and leadership failure. I have always emphasised its incompetence. I am shocked at the level it took the malfeasance to.
“The state government has added another record to its bag of incompetent achievements, making the November 11 Bayelsa election the most monetised poll in the history of the country.
“I contested this election to prove a point that this incompetence in Bayelsa can be challenged. I contested to solve the problems of lack of potable water, dearth of infrastructure, ravaging poverty and rot in the educational sector.”
Eradiri also faulted the alleged vote-buying that occurred during the election in connivance with INEC officials and security agents at polling units,
The LP, however, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe all electoral officers who participated in the election and engaged in vote-buying.
“They have to be probed. I wonder why INEC cannot enforce its rules to ensure credible elections in the country. There was intimidation and harassment of voters, violence, bypass of BVAS, among other irregularities, which vitiated whatever results they announced at the collation centre,” he said.
Eradiri declared himself the winner of the election, claiming that he got the highest number of valid votes from eligible voters.
He commended Bayelsans who defied alleged intimidation and rejected inducements to vote for him, adding that they were the real heroes of the election and their votes were the authentic and valid votes cast.