Bayelsa Decides: Women And Youths Want Bayelsa Councils’ Election Cancelled

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Hundreds of women and youths from Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State have demanded the cancellation of the election in the area.

They said the election in the capital city was marred by irregularities and inconsistencies in the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to them, INEC officials refused to listen to the complaints of voters and agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

They said the overall results were not a reflection of the results announced by the collation officer in the council.

The state Youth Leader of the APC, Edison Sorgwe and a chieftain of the party, Alawei Opukeme-Jonah, who spoke on behalf of the aggrieved voters, said the result announced by the INEC’s collation officer were inconsistent with the number of rejected and cancelled votes.

They said the same cases of ballot box snatching, irregularities and violence which INEC relied upon to cancel the election in Southern Ijaw also played out in Yenagoa and should be depended on to annul the election in the capital city.

They said over eight members of the party were nursing their wounds in various hospitals after sustaining attacks from political thugs.

“We have lost confidence in the ability of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barton Kpagih to conduct election. We are against the cancellation of Southern Ijaw Local Government election”, he said.

Also, the governorship candidate, APC, Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday, asked INEC to cancel elections in two local government areas of Sagbama and Ekeremor and parts of Nembe, Ogbia and Yenagoa.

Sagbama is the local government area of the state governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Seriake Dickson, while Ekeremor is the local council of the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.

Sylva, in a statement signed by Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organisation (SICO), said the election should be cancelled following widespread violence, security breaches and manipulation that marred the poll in the councils.

The former governor alleged in the statement signed by SICO’s Director, Media and Publicity, Chief Nathan Egba, that the breach in security and manipulation were caused by Dickson and PDP leadership.

He said: “It is now a well-known fact that over 1000 armed men suspected to have been imported from Delta and Rivers states by governor Dickson stormed Ekeremor community where they unleashed terror on the entire community from the wee hours of election day for many hours before they were repelled by the army, only for them to return in the evening when the results were about to be collated.

“The gunmen we suspect were hired for the sole purpose of assassinating the Hon. Minister for State, Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri as they launched a sustained attack on his residence with grenades, dynamite and gunshots for hours before the army repel them.

“He was very lucky to have survived that night as they returned in the evening to continue till they were repelled by the army. But in the meantime, they had carted away sensitive election materials to manipulate in favour of PDP and returned for collation.”

According to Sylva, said in Sagbama, youths imported from neighbouring states hijacked materials that were meant for the riverine communities in the LGA including the ward of the former acting Governor of the state, Nestor Binabo.

He said there was no election in wards 1 and 2 adding that the violence which swept across the state largely occurred in Sagbama, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw.

He further condemned the continuous breach of electoral laws by Dickson who allegedly stormed Yenagoa Coalition Centre to threaten APC agents and went to Oporoma in Southern Ijaw against the police directive.

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