Did INEC Chairman Flee the Venue of Bayelsa State Stakeholders’ Meeting?

Verdict: False, Misleading

Claim: CDD is in possession of a news report in several media outlets, including Daily Trust, Naija News Daily Post, which has gone viral on the social media platforms, claiming that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu fled the venue of the Bayelsa state Stakeholders’ Meeting. The reports claimed that “trouble started when the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Elders Forum, Chief Francis Doukpola, claimed that the last general elections in the state were the worst election ever conducted in the state, adding that INEC has not done anything to correct it.” In response, Dr. Dennis Otiotio, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain shouted him down saying “you are lying” and was promptly joined by others in the hall, who blamed the elders of spoiling the state by not remaining neutral.

The newspapers further claimed that the INEC chairman and other dignitaries including top security agencies personnel, including Deputy Inspector General of Police; Mr. Abudulmajid Ali, who represented the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, hurriedly left the venue of the programme.

Fact: Fact checkers contacted several sources to verify the claim, including state based traditional and social media organizations present at the venue of the stakeholders’ meeting, officials of INEC in Bayelsa state and the Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Barr. Osaze Oluwole-Uzzi.

All sources confirmed that the meeting experienced a heated argument between the representatives of the PDP and the APC, however, it did not affect the objectives of the meeting. CDD Fact checkers can confirm that the meeting ended after the recitation of the National Anthem with the presence of all stakeholders. Prof. Yakubu had left immediately at about 1:00pm for a scheduled flight at 3:15pm outbound Port-Harcourt to Abuja. The distance between venue in Yenagoa and Port Harcourt Airport is about two hours.

Conclusion: The claim that INEC chairman hurriedly or scamper for safety is entirely FALSE. The headlines of the media organizations are misleading which has capacity to misinform, thereby promoting unnecessary tension in the build up to the November 16, 2019 governorship election. CDD advises all stakeholders to stop the spread of disinformation, misinformation and fake news, especially in election period.

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