Bayelsa: Dickson Leads As Collation Continues Today

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Results from the local governments where the rerun governorship election was held in Bayelsa State, yesterday, released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) showed that Seriake Dickson, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and incumbent governor of the state was coasting to victory.

After over two hours of waiting at the collation centre, announcement of the result commenced a few minutes past 1am at the INEC collation centre in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The result for Yenagoa LGA where election held in eight polling units, as announced by the collation officer shows that the number of registered voters is 9560, accredited voters 1480. The APC scored 448 while PDP got 839 votes.

In Brass local government, APC polled 1679 votes while PDP polled 04, out of 2255 registered and 1703 accredited voters.

The result for Sagbama local government where election held in one polling unit shows that APC polled 119 votes while PDP polled 180, out of 326 accredited voters and 2005 registered voters. PDP polled 1290 votes while APC polled 139 votes in Ogbia local government, where election held in 27 units. The local government has 4344 registered voters but only 1551 were accredited for voting yesterday.

In yesterday’s rerun election, the PDP candidate polled 2,314 votes, while the APC candidate polled 2,385 votes.

However, the PDP agent at the collation centre contested the result for Brass, describing the election as a sham. He accused the APC of diverting election materials and writing results in the area and accused the collation officer of trying to authenticate a non-existent result, while calling for a cancellation of the result for the local government.

INEC officials however advised him to channel his complaint through laid down administrative procedure.

Collation of the remaining result will be held today, after which a winner will be announced.

Earlier, before the announcement of the result commenced, the Chief Returning Officer of INEC and Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zane Akpag, said the results to be announced were for 57 registered areas and 527 polling units of Southern Ijaw, Sagbama, Ekeremor, Brass, Yenagoa and Nembe council areas of the State.

In his comment, the Supervising Electoral Commissioner, Dr.Mustapha Legih, described the conduct of the Governorship election in the state as challenging.

He said INEC was expected to bring the process to a conclusive end with the collation and announcement of the result.

Before the announcement of the result yesterday, the PDP and APC were laying claim to victory as the last lap of the Bayelsa governorship election held, amid violence and irregularities.

The Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organisation, in a statement by its director of media and publicity, Chief Nathan Egba, claimed that with the early results trickling into the situation room of the party, it had reason to believe that the APC may have cancelled the about 33,000 votes with which the PDP was leading from the inconclusive December 5th and 6th governorship election.

According to Egba,”The candidate of the APC, Chief Timipre Sylva, secured majority votes in the remaining polling units in Bassambiri in Nembe local government area, Akassa and Liama in Brass LGA, Ekeremor LGA and the few results so far from Southern Ijaw LGA.

“In Brass LGA, APC polled 1,696 votes, followed by the PDM which had 12 votes and the PDP with 5 votes while in Bassambiri, APC had 2,184 votes while PDP scored 3 votes. PDP won in the only polling unit in Nembe-Ogbolomabiri through manipulation with 426 votes while APC was awarded 6 votes. In Oguta-Otuokpotiof Ogbia LGA, APC had 332 votes while PDP scored 10 votes. In Ekeremor, home town of the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, APC had a good showing by returning over 80 per cent of the total vote cast from over 13,000 expected votes. In ward 17 of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, the result was in favour of the APC with well over 70 per cent of the vote cast.”

He urged members and supporters of the party to remain upbeat in anticipation of total victory in the election.

Despite the hitches witnessed, the election witnessed a large turnout of voters. As early as 8am, most voters were already waiting at their various polling units with election materials arriving as scheduled in most of the polling units.

Election materials arrived early in some areas such as Ammasoma, Ogbia, Sagbama and Nembe with accreditation and voting was completed before the 2pm scheduled for voting.

Accreditation and voting were however delayed in other areas including Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw local government area but voter waited patiently, having trooped out early to cast their votes.

In Okodi ward in Ogbia local government area of the state, with the arrival of election materials, voting commenced immediately but there was tension in Otakeme and Edema communities of Ogbia, due to the delay in arrival of election materials.

Voting ended early in most polling units in Ammassoma community due to timely arrival of election officials and materials.

LEADERSHIP Sunday observed in Ward 11, Unit 14 in Ammassoma community that voting had been concluded and counting of votes had commenced as at 5pm yesterday.

At Kokorosei, the home community of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Kombowei Benson, materials arrived early and voting commenced.

Election Materials hijacked in Okoroba

Voters in late Oronto Douglas’ community of Okoroba in Nembe local government area yesterday alleged hijacking of election materials meant for their unit by thugs.

Though the election was cancelled in only one unit, some voters in the community alleged that materials for the unit identified as Ward 11, Unit 13, were hijacked at the point of distribution by political thugs in the presence of security agents.

An indigene of the community, Barr Gift Douglas, alleged that the thugs also attacked and beat a traditional Chief,Etulankimor Douglas Eteli, to stupor, in the presence of the DPO in Nembe Bassabiri, adding that they also took the ballot papers away and were in Nembe thumb printing them.

Military officer accused of snatching ballot boxes in Ekeremor

There was pandemonium in Ekeremor community following the alleged invasion of a polling unit by armed men led by a military officer, to snatch election materials in the area.

A military officer, who witnesses described as an officer with rank of a Major and identified as Umar, was alleged to have led armed youths to the area.

An aide to Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the minister of state for agriculture, Comrade Preye Amba, identified the military officer as one of those attached to the 5 Battalion of the Operation Pulo Shield in Bayelsa.

According to Amba, “the PDP in concert with one Major Umar from 5 Battalion Warri came to carry electoral materials from Ekeremor to Egbema Angalabiri. We have on record that the said major is on the pay roll of a known ex-militant leader bent on bringing down the APC in Bayelsa state.

“We call on the military authorities to investigate the role of the said major because he took away the materials without any other escort provided either by the police or the DSS.”

Shooting delays voting in Famgbe, Ekeowe communities

In Ekeowe and Famgbe communities of Southern Ijaw and Yenagoa local government areas, election was yet to commence when LEADERSHIP Sunday visited the area, due to sporadic shooting and security threats by armed thugs in the area.

As at 11:30am, accreditation of voters was yet to commence.

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