Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate in the governorship election in Bayelsa State, Hon Seriake Dickson, has been declared winner of the Saturday re-run conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in the state. Governor Dickson polled a total of 134,998 votes to defeat the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate, Timipre Sylva who scored a total of 86,852 votes in the election that was characterised by killings, sporadic shooting and snatching of electoral materials by armed thugs.
Declaring Dickson winner of the contest after announcing the results, INEC Returning Officer, Professor Zana Akpagbu said, “Seriake Dickson of the PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law and secured the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner of the election.”
The election was however marred by massive violence, which led to the killing of about 15 persons, with a prominent traditional ruler whose name was yet to be ascertained at the time of filling this report, sustaining serious injury in one of the attacks.
The Bayelsa re-run followed the cancellation of elections by the INEC in the entire Southern Ijaw Local Government Area over violence that marred the December 5 governorship polls there. INEC also cancelled the election in some units in some of the other local government areas in the state, including Brass Ward 1, Brass LGA, Tarakiri Ward, Oporoma Ward and Bassambiri Ward all in Ekeremo LGA.
Also affected by the cancellation were 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 elections were 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, indicated 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 there 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 also reports of violence in Nembe where some five people reportedly lost their lives, but Police spokesman in Bayelsa, Mr. Asinim Butswat, 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 the supplementary 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. They 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.
Dickson’s re-election is a victory for democracy – Gov Wike
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the re-election of Bayelsa State Governor,Hon. Seriake Dickson is a victory for democracy in the face of unrelenting external forces.
In a congratulatory message to Governor, following his re-election at the conclusion of the supplementary governorship election, Governor Wike said that the will of the people of Bayelsa State has prevailed as they have resolved to remain with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
A statement issued by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, pointed out that the people of Bayelsa exhibited the true Niger Delta spirit which abhors oppression and injustice.
He said that with the re-election of Governor Dickson, a clear message has been sent to the dark forces of rigging and electoral manipulation that they will never find accommodation in this geo-political zone.
Governor Wike specifically commended the good people of the state for being vigilant all through the governorship election process, saying that their hard work and dedication to the enthronement of democracy have been rewarded by the re-election of a true Niger Delta patriot.
The governor stated that the people of the Niger Delta remain dedicated members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, because that is the only political platform that gives Niger Delta issues the priority they deserve, while the others are only interested in the pecuniary benefits which flow from the area.
While rejoicing with Governor Dickson, the Rivers State Governor expressed confidence in the ability of the governor to consolidate on the democracy dividends which he availed the Bayelsa people during his first term.