HomeNewsGroup Asks EFCC to Probe Alleged N50bn Bribery in Bayelsa Electoral Dispute

Group Asks EFCC to Probe Alleged N50bn Bribery in Bayelsa Electoral Dispute

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Some stakeholders under the auspices of the Ijaw Renaissance Movement (IRM) have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to beam its searchlight on the ongoing judicial process challenging the victory of Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri in the November 11, 2023 governorship election.

According to the stakeholders, they decided to alert the anti-graft agency following allegations that Diri had “mobilised over N50bn to influence the outcome of the court process”.

A statement issued by the secretary of IRM, Nisakpo Augustine, in Yenagoa on Thursday, said they became concerned about the allegation after billions of tax payers’ money were reportedly deployed by the Diri-led administration to compromise the integrity of the last election through vote-buying.

He said with such highs level of alleged voter-inducement, they would no longer doubt the capacity of the present Bayelsa government to settle all its disputes through bribery.

Augustine said, “As unfortunate as this seems, it is still a reminder of the November 11Governorship elections where billions of Bayelsa tax payers monies were hurled into the system for similar purposes and that is why every well-meaning Ijaw and Bayelsan must take this alarm serious this time.

“In a state that ranks shyly on poverty index, with infrastructural left deficit; in a state that has abandoned the shiny prospects of its youths, that has a hazy roadmap and that is nearly nil on investments, pursuing personal political dreams with what is left of the treasury is almost inhumane and narcissistic”.

The IRM scribe said recently they had been on the trail of a governorship candidate from a northern state, who bought a property in Abuja with his share of the Bayelsa loot.

He, however, expressed confidence in the country’s judiciary to toe the path of justice especially in view of recent court judgements.
Augustine further said, “We, naturally, would have ignored the reports before us if not for the sordid precedence already set last year.
“The bright side is that our judiciary has markedly matured and far more fair than those in Creek Haven are imagining. The recent court judgments are a testament and we believe that our judiciary and our very honourable Judges are not for sale.

“We call on the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission to look into the financial transactions of Bayelsa State and Senator Douye Diri this period. We call on Bayelsans and Ijaws both home and abroad to pay attention to the unbecoming political spending in the state as it is at the center of Bayelsa’s glaring underdevelopment.

“We will keep tabs and work with our reports and liase with specific agencies of the government if the plan to pump in billions of Bayelsa taxpayers monies in a bid to influence the 11 November governorship from the tribunal up to the Supreme Court is not abandoned forthwith.”

Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, described the IRM as a faceless group and its allegation baseless as Diri was popularly elected by the people and has no reason to panic.

He said, “The so-called Ijaw Renaissance Movement is a faceless and non-existent group. So its allegation is like the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.

“The sponsor of the faceless group is a bad loser. He does not want to accept the stark reality that he lost the November 11 governorship election. So he continues to either make baseless allegations or uses specious groups like the IRM.

“Everyone in Bayelsa State knows that Governor Douye Diri was the most popular candidate in the election, which he won freely and squarely. So anyone talking about compromise in an election that was adjudged as credible even by the leadership of the party that came second, the APC, is clearly a bad loser. We are confident that the courts will affirm the decision of the Bayelsa people.

“The talk about N50bn set aside to influence the election tribunal is equally hogwash. A man that was popularly elected by the Bayelsa electorate has no reason to panic. But the fear of another imminent defeat will make a loser point accusing figures at a tribunal that is yet to begin sitting.

“Likewise, asking the EFCC to beam its searchlight on the Bayelsa State government is just crying wolf where there is none. The anti-graft agency knows where to look as it is already doing in the investigation of those who awarded frivolous contracts while in office.

“The Governor Diri administration has many ongoing projects and such amount is needed to execute them. It will rather deploy such funds to make the lives of the Bayelsa people better than bother about spurious allegations.”

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