The Bayelsa State chapters of the Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress have bickered over recent comments of Chief Edwin Clark’s group on the outcome of the 2019 General Elections.
The Bayelsa APC had on Thursday criticised the Clark-led Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum for allegedly being partisan in their comments on the elections.
But in a reaction on Saturday, the state’s PDP said the APC criticism of the group was disrespectful.
The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum had issued a statement titled, “On Danger Signals from Rivers and Other States.” which alleged that APC leaders in Bayelsa and Rivers, led by two ex-governors were behind electoral violence in the states.
The statement was signed by Chief Edwin Clark, leader of Pan Niger Delta Elders’ Forum, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of the Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Chief John Nwodo, the President General of Ohaneze, the Igbo people umbrella body, and Dr Pogu Bitrus, the President of the Middle Belt Forum.
The groups said, “There has been a spillover of the Rivers situation to Bayelsa State” where a former governor allegedly terrorised residents with impunity.
They called on the President to call to order, the former governors and “restore normalcy so that the electoral process in Rivers State, in particular, can be concluded.”
However, Mr Doifie Buokoribo, Publicity Secretary of Bayelsa APC, said that the statement was laced with malice and prejudice.
According to Buokoribo, the APC finds the statement offensive, unwarranted, disgraceful and partisan.
“Like most Nigerians, we know it as a matter of fact that these are partisan elders on the side of the opposition PDP.
“During the presidential elections, this group openly supported and campaigned for the defeated PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“These elders do not represent the interests of the ethnic nations they purport to speak for.
On the other hand, the Bayelsa PDP described the response by APC as a “despicable display of disrespect’’ for the person of the Ijaw National Leader, Pa Edwin Clark, as well as other elder statesmen and leaders in the South-South and Middle Belt.
The State’s Secretary of the PDP, Chief Godspower Keku, berated Buokoribo for casting aspersions on the integrity of the leaders saying the APC was attacking the group for speaking the truth about happenings in Rivers and Bayelsa States.