Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, will slug it out in a make or break supplementary election in Southern Ijaw, which has the largest population in the state.
The election would equally be held in 101 units, following the cancellation of results by the Independent Electoral National Commission, INEC, because of large scale violence and abduction of electoral officials and ballot box snatching.
In the earlier election, incumbent governor, Chief Seriake Dickson, won in six of the seven local governments, while his rival Chief Timipreye Sylva won in one. Dickson leads with a majority of 33,000 votes.
The INEC boss, along with his top lieutenants on Wednesday, December 16, met with security chiefs in the area, including the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Oki, his Army counterpart, Major General Alali Okunola and those of the Naval, Air Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The security situation during the recent election was discussed at the meeting, while plans were laid out to prevent a recurrence of the lapses recorded in the last poll.
The chairman met with all the parties that participated in the last election, together with all the candidates on Thursday, December 17, in Abuja.
He had earlier scheduled Saturday, December 19, as the possible date for the rerun poll in the troubled Southern Ijaw local government council.
The resident electoral commissioner, Baritor Lenu Kpagih, said the final decision on when to repeat the cancelled election was with the commission, the efforts were on top gear to enable that the poll would not surpass the 14 days requirement by the Electoral Act. It was finally rescheduled for today.
Speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa, the commission’s public affairs officer, Mr. Timidi Wariowei, disclosed that distribution of sensitive election materials for Saturday’s supplementary poll, commenced on Thursday.
Wariowei said the commission received the sensitive materials on Wednesday and distribution had commenced with the Ekeremor local government area on Thursday.
He said “all the materials are now in our custody; the materials are ballot papers, result sheets among others.
“On the distribution process, we intend to dispatch that of Southern-Ijaw local government area early morning of Saturday.
“Your know that the real focus is the southern-Ijaw and we do not want what happened on Dec. 5, 2015, to repeat itself again in the area; INEC is prepared to conduct free, fair and credible election for the betterment of the people.
“We have over 100 polling units in the state to conduct the election and Southern-Ijaw; so, we are ready to conduct credible and acceptable election for the people,” he said.
On the use of adhoc staff, Wariowei said the commission has resolved to use some of them that participated in the Dec. 5 gubernatorial election in the state.
“Of course, we made changes of some of the adhoc staff, especially for the southern-Ijaw; these are part of the efforts to ensure that the election is conducted freely.
“INEC is on top of the game, on security, we have been working with the security agents because without them, we cannot conduct the election.
“We have been collaborating with the Police and Army to ensure peaceful election in Bayelsa,” wariowei said.
On the issue of security, the Bayelsa State Police Command re-echoed an earlier warning concerning movement of VIPs on election date.
“VIPs, political appointees are advised to desist from using security men to escort them to polling units.
“They should equally restrict themselves to their polling units after voting, as movement to other locations will amount to intimidation, campaign and a gross violation of extant electoral laws.
“Police officers, that is, SPU, PMF, Counter Terrorist Unit among others, are hereby warned to desist from escorting their principals to polling units on election date. Any violation to this order will amount to indiscipline and disobedience to lawful order, any officer caught will be dealt with severely.
“The affected electorate are advised to go and cast their votes for candidates of their choice without fear as adequate security measures have been put in place to curtail the activities of miscreants,” the police PPRO said.
The poll, which is holding in seven local government areas of the state, would be supervised by policemen drawn from the neighbouring states and the zonal command.
According to him, four gunboats and other equipment would be deployed to ensure a hitch-free election.
Lamenting the voting apathy that marred the December 5 elections in Bayelsa, the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Chairman, Comrade John Ndiomu Bipre, urged civil servants to vote for that candidate, that will ensure steady payment of worker’s salary and bring dividends of democracy in the state.


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