- Dickson in early lead again
- PDP wins in Jonathan’s ward
In spite of the massive deployment of soldiers, policemen and other security operatives, the concluding part of the Bayelsa governorship election was yesterday characterised by killings, sporadic shootings and snatching of electoral materials by armed thugs.
According to reports, no fewer than 14 persons including four police officers, two soldiers and 8 others were said to have been killed during the course of the election yesterday.
This is coming as early results indicate that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governor Seriake Dickson, maintained his lead over the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Timipres Sylva.
Last December, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, cancelled the election in the entire Southern Ijaw Local Government Area over violence that marred the exercise.
INEC also cancelled the election in some units in some of the other local government areas including Brass Ward 1, in Brass LGA, Tarakiri Ward, Oporoma Ward and Bassambiri Ward all in Ekeremo LGA.
Also affected by the cancellation is Ologi Ward in Ogbio LGA, Asamabiri in Sagbama LGA and Attissa Ward in Yenagoa LGA of the state.
There were reports of widespread violence leading to the stoppage of elections in some polling units where election has been ordered in Ekeremor, Nembe and Ogbia local government areas.
Report from Ekeremor, home town of Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development indicates that thugs suspected to be working for one of the political parties killed four policemen, two soldiers and six civilians yesterday.
The PDP claimed that was no election in Ekeremor, where, Senator Lokpobiri, was alleged to have diverted electoral materials and then called for the cancellation of any result, sent in from the area.
There were reports of violence in Nembe where some five people reportedly lost their lives, but Police spokesman in Bayelsa, Mr. Asinim Butswat said, a Deputy Superintendent of Police said the incident was yet to be reported.
He said that the election was peaceful in most places.
Two persons suspected to be agents of one of the political parties involved in Saturday’s supplementary governorship election were arrested for allegedly snatching a ballot box.
The suspects were arrested by soldiers at Otuokpoti Unit 1, Ward 2, Ogbia Local Government Area, where the box was allegedly snatched.
The suspects were said to have forcefully carried the ballot box while polling was ongoing at the unit.
At the state capital a senior electoral officer at Akaibiri Ekpetiama, Yenagoa, complained that hoodlums attempted to hijack electoral materials from polling units in the area.
According to him, the timely intervention of the police and military personnel saved the day.
Ekpetiama that said after voting and counting were completed, the hoodlums would not allow for the result of the election to be written.
He said that the result had been declared at the area.
DIG Arugungu directed that the result and electoral materials should be moved to INEC headquarters.
The security team led by the DIG, Police Commissioner, Director SSS, Commander, NSCDC, Commander, FRSC and others, escorted the electoral officers and materials out of the area.
Dr. Jewel Tubonimi, a community leader in Amasoma, said there was a skirmish in the early hours of the day, which forced electoral officers to return to the distribution centre.
However, INEC has been commended for ensuring the lapses recorded last December with card readers were rectified before yesterday election as almost all the card readers operated optimally.
Michel Ebi a domestic election observer in Anyama Ijaw noted that the card readers worked effectively in the area.
“The card readers are very effective, they are performing well and we have no problems with it, INEC did well and corrected the problems noticed during the cancelled polls last year.
“If INEC continues this way, we shall be making progress in our electoral system,” he said.
At Peremabiri community, Koulama 1 and Koulama 2 and Okolobama the card readers were working well and was used for authentication of Permanent Voters Carda and accreditation of voters.
Voting and accreditation commenced simultaneously across the communities visited across in Southern Ijaw.
In Ubabiri Open Space Unit 6, Ekpetiama 2, ward 2, Yenagoa Local Government Area, it was observed that voters turn was massively.
Mr James Tariowrie, residents in the area said that he decided to vote for the betterment of the state.
An INEC Officer, who prefer anonymity said that, the turnaout was preferable compared to the December 5 election.
“We may not be able to give the actual figure of the turnout now because we are doing accreditation and voting at the same time, so, still ongoing and we are progressing,” the officer said.
Delays in arrival of election materials compelled voting to be delayed in Koluama 1 and Koluama 2 as well as Peremabiri and other areas where voting and accreditation started by 12 noon.
At Oporoma, headquarters of Southern Ijaw turnout was massive and peaceful.
At Amatolo, Ward 10, Southern Ijaw, more than 100 INEC officials, ad hoc staff and election materials were stranded at the Registration Area Centre in the area till 12 noon.
It was gathered that the officials were waiting to be transported by boat to their polling units.
There was adequate security in places visited in Southern Ijaw. However, there were allegations that election materials were snatched in some units in ward 10 at Amatolo, Southern Ijaw.
In polling units where elections were held in Yenegoa, the state capital, all went well with the PDP leading in results released at the various polling units.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan won his Otuapula Ward 13 Unit 38 with the PDP polling 65 votes while the APC scored zero.
Other early results are: Unit 5, Ward 10, Yenagoa APC 52, PDP 90; Ward 10 unit 3 Amassoma PDP 129, APC 23; Ward 10 unit 5 PDP 93, APC 16; Unit 4 PDP 97, APC 21; Nembe ward 2 unit 13 PDP 412, APC 6; Oyeke Open Space, Unit 9, Ward 10,Yenegoa LGA APC 78, PDP 61, APGA 3.
Angiama Community- Ward 2 SILGA, polling unit- Isianlubo open space, unit code- 003, total number of registered voters- 273; number of accredited voters- 230; number of valid votes- 225; number of invalid votes- 5; total votes cast- 230; APC- 15, PDP- 210.
Ward 2 unit 015, Onuebum Ogbia APC – 27, PDP – 55 and DPC- 2; Otuegwe ward 2 unit 09 PDP 124, APC 4.