By Kunle SHONUGA
Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture, has said the commission of enquiry set up by Bayelsa Government to investigate violence during the 2019 General Election in the state is a ploy to divert attention.
Lokpobiri also described his invitation to appear before the panel as attempt to distract people of the state from the real issue of Gov. Seriake Dickson’s alleged mal-administration in the past seven years.
The minister made this known in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr George Oji, on Sunday.
He noted the said panel was illegal as and strange to the extant laws governing elections, including the electoral ectoral act and the constitution.
The Bayelsa Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had distanced itself from the panel and urged its members not to appear before it.
APC Spokesman, Doifie Buokoribo, said that the PDP government in Bayelsa had no moral rights to be a judge in an election it partook in.
The panel led by Justice Iniekade Eradiri inaugurated by Dickson shortly after the Presidential and National Assembly Elections had invited prominent APC leaders including Lokpobiri to appear before it in Yenagoa.
But the minister said the concern of the impoverished people of Bayelsa was how to account for the huge resources that accrued to the state under Dickson.
Lokpobiri said Dickson should give account of his stewardship to Bayelsans on how he expended huge financial accruals to the state, which stood at N1.4 trillion.
“As we speak, the money that has accrued to the State has increased to N1.4 trillion and there is nothing to show for it. Let Dickson give proper account of this.
“Let Dickson forget about the so-called commission of inquiry and give proper account of how this money has been spent.
“This is also a wake-up call to people of Bayelsa that this is an attempt by Dickson to divert attention from the real issues of corruption and deliberate impoverishment of our people,” Lokpobiri stated.
He went further that “Bayelsa people should begin to interrogate Dickson concerning the volume of money that has come to the state, including the bailout funds, the loans, as well as the domestic and foreign loans.
“The people should try to match it with the projects and what is on the ground. That is what Bayelsans want to know.”
Lokpobiri challenged Dickson to public debate to explain his stewardship in office.
He maintained that the panel was unnecessary and that there was no single political violence involving the APC in Bayelsa during the last elections.
Dickson had on Feb. 24 alleged that the APC led by Ex-Gov Timipre Sylva and Lokpobiri had colluded with the military to unleash violence and manipulate the polls and hence the justification for setting up the panel.
The Spokesman of the 16 Brigade, Major Jonah Danjuma promptly denied the allegations and said that troops averted violence by arresting some political thugs during the polls.====NAN