Atiku leads, APC picks House seat
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Capital, Yenagoa, was yesterday locked down by a massive protest by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanding the cancellation of the results from Southern Ijaw and Nembe Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The protest took place even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Mr. Israel Sunny-Goli (APC), as winner of the Brass/Nembe Federal Constituency while in the presidential polls, Abubakar Atiku was leading in the only two LGAs so far released.
The Collation Officer, Prof. William James, announced that Muhammadu Buhari’s APC scored 7,483 while the PDP had 37,676 in Yenagoa LGA.
In Kolokuma-Opokuma LGA, Prof. Agnes Malikili, said the APC recorded 3, 938 while PDP’s Atiku had 16, 040 votes.
But during the protest, Chairman of the state PDP, Moses Cleopas who led thousands of the party faithful, called on INEC to reject the contentious results and conduct a rerun of the elections in the seven wards in Nembe Bassambiri and Wards 12, 14 15 and 16 in Southern Ijaw Constituency 4
Cleopas said it was shocking that INEC accepted results from an election that did not involve the use of the Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) as required by the Constitution and the Electoral Act guiding the operations of the commission.
He said that it was a bizarre for INEC to declare results of an election in the crisis- ridden areas of Southern Ijaw where a PDP leader, Seidougha Taribi, was murdered and a Government House Photographer, Reginald Dei, was shot and voters scared from the polls by gun wielding men in army uniforms.
The PDP chairman said it was equally unacceptable that INEC accepted results from Nembe Bassambiri where electoral officials and materials were taken to Darius Hotel for thumb printing and made to produce results under duress.
“ In Nembe Bassambiri, elections didn’t hold because materials were carted away to Dairus Hotel with the aid of military personnel and suddenly its all over the place that election results from the seven wards were being collated by INEC.
“This is unacceptable to us because they are all concocted results. In Southern Ijaw Constituency 4, wards 14, 15, 16 and even in 12, materials and results were carted away to Ogboinbiri where the results were collated and have been brought to INEC office for collation.
“Our party cannot watch that happen and that is why we are embarking on this peaceful protest as a party that believes in the rule of law,” he said.
Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson, who was part of the protesters, described what happened in Bayelsa as a clear rape of democracy.
Also in his remarks, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Kemela Okara, stressed the need for INEC in the state to strictly adhere to its guidelines in the conduct of elections.
Okara urged the electoral umpire to properly address the issues raised by the PDP and other political parties to avoid a breakdown of law and order.
The PDP Senatorial candidate, Chief Blessing Izagara and his House of Representives counterpart, Mrs. Marie Ebikake, appealed to INEC to cancel the results and provide a level playing ground.
Responding, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC, Pastor Monday Tom Udoh, commiserated with the PDP over the murder of their members during the election, describing it as unfortunate.
Represented by the Commision’s Administrative Secretary in the state, Mr. Lebari Samson Ndom, he assured the protesters that the commission would look into the issues raised with a view to addressing them within the ambits of its guidelines.