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Bayelsa REC Cries Out: They want me dead for not taking bribe

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The ghost of the Bayelsa State inconclusive election is still alive and kicking, as the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Baritor Kpagih, has cried out over alleged threat to his life by people he believes to be those who offered him money to rig the December 5 governorship election in the state.

According to Kpagih, who spoke in an interview, his refusal to be induced has pitted them against him, adding that he had been receiving threats to his life since the cancellation of the Southern Ijaw Local Council poll results.

The REC, who counselled politicians not to see any election as a do-or-die affair but a call to service, said: “Some people tried to bribe me to help them win the governorship election and this itself was a misconception by these individuals. This is because there is no way I can help anybody win an election. Mine was to oversee the process. I can’t falsify results, because they only come to the head office after they have been collated at all other levels. I only stay in the situation room and oversee collation.’’

The REC further said that those who had approached him to swing the election in their favour were now persecuting him and spreading all sorts of false stories about him.

Speaking further, Kpagih said his refusal infuriated them and they started spreading rumours about him, including that he was missing and that he had gone underground.
“I told them I can’t help them to rig the election and that they should use the money they wanted to bribe me with to go to the grassroots and canvass for the people’s votes,” he said.

Speaking specifically on the threats to his life, Kpagih said they started after the election, but have become more frequent in the last few days.

‘‘Somebody called me on the phone and threatened me and since then, I have been receiving all sorts of threats. These have come through text messages and others. Just on Thursday, two strange people visited my house in Yenagoa. They refused to identify themselves but told my people that they had an appointment with me and I knew for a fact that I didn’t have any appointment with anybody that day.

“Quite a number of people who are my friends have advised me to avoid all the hassles and stay away from Bayelsa State because my safety cannot be guaranteed. But I have a job to do and I am going to see it through,’’ he said.

The REC also denied having any relationship with former President Goodluck Jonathan, as it is being insinuated, disclosing that he joined the Customs Service a few years after Jonathan had left the service and that at no time were they ever course mates.

“I joined the customs service as a graduate, while Dr. Jonathan joined as a School Certificate holder. He left the service around 1977 to go to the university. I also went to the university in the same year and after graduation, I joined the service, while he did not return to the service.

‘‘The first time I met him was when he was the vice president and we never had any close relationship. I was retired prematurely, seven years before the mandatory year. If he was my close friend and he was the vice president, wouldn’t he have helped me to stay in service?’’ he queried.

Kpagih however advocated that the root causes of the violence that greeted the election, especially in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, should be thoroughly examined instead of looking for scapegoats to blame.

According to, he is baffled that nobody is talking about the arms and ammunition that were used to wreak violence on the people and that nobody is looking into how the arms got into Southern Ijaw and who brought them into the area, insisting that arms were freely deployed into the communities and nobody is talking about those things.

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