INEC declares Bayelsa Governorship election inconclusive

PROF MAHOOD YAKUBU NEWThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has declared the Bayelsa State Governorship election inconclusive following the cancellation of the rescheduled poll in Southern Ijaw LGA by the commission.

The announcement came barely a fortnight after similar pronouncement in Kogi Governorship poll and sudden death of APC flag-bearer, Prince Abubakar Audu triggered a new wave controversy. Although, Yahaya Bello, the substitute candidate had been declared winner of the poll after winning the supplementary poll conducted on December 5, the incumbent Governor and candidate of PDP, Idris Wada, together with late Audu deputy, Abiodun Joseph Faleke are still claiming victory in their respective arguments.

It would be recalled that election did not took place in Southern Ijaw council area of Bayelsa State on Saturday, December 5 due to logistical challenges, prompting its rescheduling to Sunday. However, after results for seven out of the eight local government areas were declared on Monday, the result for the rescheduled election in Southern Ijaw was still not available, prompting the INEC officials and other collation officers to proceed on break.

On resumption at about 5pm, the Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Azanah Akpagu, the Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, announced that he could not declare the result of the governorship election since the result of Southern Ijaw had not been received, with the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, announcing the cancellation of the rescheduled election in Southern Ijaw after.

According to Mr. Kpagih, the election for Southern Ijaw council was “substantially marred by violence, hostage taking of election officials and snatching of election materials.”

The incident, he stressed, “fell short of internationally accepted standards, hence the cancellation”, adding that a new date for fresh election in Southern Ijaw would be announced in due course.

However, from the results so far announced, the incumbent Governor and candidate of the PDP, Seriake Dickson was leading in six local government areas with 105,748 votes. He won in Kolokuma/Opokuma, Yenagoa, Nembe, Sagbama, Ogbia and Ekeremor. The APC’s Timiprye Sylva won in only one local government area, Brass, with 72,594 votes. The third strongest party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), has not won in any local government area. It however had 1,422 votes.

Southern Ijaw which is now outstanding has 120,827 registered voters and could be decisive in the outcome of the poll.

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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