Thursday, 10 December 2015

Protests rock Bayelsa


The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday protested the cancellation by INEC of the Bayelsa State governorship election held in Southern Ijaw Local Government on Sunday, December 6.
INEC’s Chief Returning Officer for Bayelsa 2015 governorship election, Prof. Zana Akpagu, had, on Monday, declared the election inconclusive based on violence witnessed in Southern Ijaw Local Government.

According to New Telegraph the protesters marched from the APC campaign office to INEC office in the state.

The party, during a protest at INEC premises in Yenagoa, the state capital, asked that its governorship candidate, Mr. Timipre Sylva, be declared winner of the cancelled poll.

 It stated that if the Southern Ijaw election must be cancelled, other local governments that experienced violence during the December 5 poll should be cancelled as well by the commission.

Spokesman of the protesters, Famous Daunimigha, said that the election result should be announced in favour of APC or else other local governments like Ekeremor, Sagbama and Yenagoa should equally be cancelled. Daunimigha asked for the redeployment or sack of INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Bayelsa State, Mr. Baritor Kpagih. He added that the REC has no right to cancel the election.

Responding to the protesters, an unidentified INEC official said the REC only relayed the message, which was collectively taken by the commission’s members from Abuja. He promised to forward the protest letter to INEC immediately. But, the Director of Publicity for Governor Seriake Dickson’s campaign team, Jonathan Obuebite, has called on the Bayelsa State Police Command and heads of other security agencies in the state to call the APC to order.

 The Commission, which was supposed to be briefed on the conduct of the election by officials on the field on Wednesday, failed to take a decision on the date for the re-rerun election.

 INEC Director, Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), Oluwole Osaze- Uzzi, told New Telegraph that the commission was still consulting on the matter. “We have not fixed a date for the supplementary election, we are still consulting.

We will fix a date after we finish the consultation,” Osaze said. He could not, however, explain whether the consultation was in connection with the case instituted by Sylva against the cancellation of the election.

The Electoral Act gives INEC 14 days to conduct a supplementary election where there is an inconclusive poll.

Election in Southern Ijaw was shifted to Sunday following the alleged killing of four electoral officers by gunmen on Saturday at Oporoma, headquarters of the local government.

 The Sunday election was also marred by violence and irregularities.

Dickson was leading in six out of seven local government areas where the results were released. But Sylva, who won in only one local government, rejected the cancellation of Southern Ijaw Local Government and is challenging the INEC’s decision in court.

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