Live Updates: Bayelsa, Kogi Elections

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11:20 AM

INEC Limits Media Access to Bayelsa Election Collation Centre

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Several journalists, including major national newspapers and television stations, detailed by their organisations to cover the announcement of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Bayelsa governorship polls, have been left stranded.

The commission said that of the over 100 known newspapers in the country covering the governorship election, it could only accommodate six.

On Sunday morning, the electoral body insisted that there was no provision for majority of the newspapers, later releasing of six, comprising five national and one local outfit, New Waves, owned by the state government.

The decision angered the media men, especially big organisations accredited for the coverage of the polls, but were disallowed from accessing the main hall.

Sunday’s development also raised questions about the general treatment of journalists in the country by many institutions of state, since the commission had over four years to prepare for the polls.

The electoral umpire said the space it intended to use was small and could only accommodate 120 persons, but the list released by the organisation showed that just six pressmen from print, six from television and eight from radio would be accommodated, making the entire list 20.

The collation at the state level is expected to start any moment from now, though the body said it wasn’t barring media men from the INEC premises.

Wilfred Ifogah, the Commission’s Head of Department, responding to questions as to why journalists, especially from major media houses were not allowed in, said he picked only those he could comfortably accommodate, although the aggrieved journalists maintained that there were much bigger halls than the Mahmood Yakubu hall, which is being used for the announcement within the INEC premises.

But Ifogah said that he was not barring the media from the event insisting that there will be canopies outside for those who wished to be around the commission’s office in Swali, Yenagoa, which the newsmen argued was not safer than other parts of the state capital, if the reason of choice of the place was because of security.

“I wish to inform that INEC is in no way barring journalists from the Collation Center. The hall size can barely accommodate 120 persons.

“Several Stakeholders are involved in the process not only journalists. We have made arrangements for canopies and chairs outside the hall for those not cleared to go in,” he said.

 

11:00 AM

Kogi Election: FCT Minister Delivers Polling Unit, Ward to APC

The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has delivered her Yagba Polling Unit and Kakanda Ward to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Kogi Governorship and West Senatorial District elections in the state.

Aliyu, who was until her appointment as the FCT Minister of state, was the National Women Leader of the party, still enjoyed support and solidarity at the grassroots.

Announcing the result, the Returning Officer, Dr Okor Henry, said that the APC governorship candidate got 350 votes to defeat the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate that got 62 votes at Yagba polling unit.

The returning officer also said that the APC Senatorial candidate polled 480 votes to defeat the PDP senatorial candidate who clinched 53 votes at the polling unit.

“Similarly the APC governorship candidate won a total of 5,631 votes to defeat PDP governorship flagbearer that got 1,109 votes at the Kakanda ward in Lokoja Local Government Area.

“While the APC Senatorial candidate got a total of 4,907 votes to defeat the PDP candidate that got 2,013 votes at the ward.” (NAN)

 

6:56pm

Bayelsa Guber: Voting Ends as Collation Begins

Voting has ended and collation of votes is in progress across Bayelsa State in respect of Saturday’s governorship elections, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has reported.

NAN also reported that the election was generally peaceful, although pockets of violence were reported in some places.

Sources across the state indicated that the card readers functioned smoothly in most polling units.

In Yenagoa, a voter, Ebikeme Doubra, described the process as “peaceful except for isolated cases of attempts to snatch ballot box which was thwarted by security agents”.

“Some thugs attempted to disrupt the process and they were contained by security agencies in Ekeki and Opolo areas of Yenagoa, but other places were peaceful.

“The election was smooth and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be commended for the smooth conduct of this election. We expect them to ensure that our votes count,” Doubra said.

However, the state Governor Seriake Dickson, who is serving his second term on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform and the party’s candidate, Senator Douye Diri, have complained of electoral fraud and widespread violence.

Dickson made the allegation while speaking with newsmen shortly after casting his vote at Oruerewari, Polling Unit 005, Toru Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area.

He called for outright cancellation of the elections in Nembe Local Government Area where 20 people were reportedly killed by gunmen at a PDP campaign rally.

Dickson called on the Chairman of INEC to issue an order cancelling the process in all the affected units, wards and local government areas where election materials had been stolen or hijacked.

He also urged INEC to cancel the electoral process in areas “where officials have been kidnapped and held hostage to enable the APC cook up non-existing figures”. (NAN)

6:18pm

Election Monitoring Groups Decry Heavy Presence of Security Agents in Bayelsa

Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Stanley Nkwazema
There have been mixed reactions from different election monitoring groups that observed Saturday’s governorship contest in Bayelsa State.
Many of them condemned the heavy presence of security agents, saying it was a pointer that Nigeria’s democracy is still not civil.
Since the return to civil rule in Nigeria in 1999, it has become an accepted practice to have Nigerian and international observer groups accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out unfettered assessment of the process.
The Executive Director, Sustainable Initiative for Nurturing Growth (SING), Mr. Idris Usman, said his organisation’s engagement with Bayelsa goes back to 2015 when it researched and documented a first-of-its-kind report on violence attending elections in Bayelsa.
“Our report traced the victims, identified the perpetrators, sponsors and communities where these violence were recorded with a view to encourage prosecution so that it will serve as a deterrence. We also engaged in a pre-election enlightenment campaign tagged, ‘Vote A Must’,” Usman said.
Assessing the 2019 governorship contest in Bayelsa State, Usman said: “The heavy presence of security indicates that our democracy is still not civil. It is as if we are at war, as opposed to people freely making a choice of their leaders under a peaceful atmosphere.”
His position was corroborated by Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise, who said she could not sleep with her eyes open if she was not physically present in either Bayelsa or Kogi State.
According to her, “My interaction with security has shown that many of them are willing to be educated and are actually humble about the way they conduct themselves in civil society. Our participation has helped to deepen our democratic culture. We are not there yet, but there is hope that things will get better. This is our country and we should continue to insist on what we want. What we do for ourselves will be forgotten, but what we do for the world will remain.”
The Executive Director, Kimpact Development Initiative, Bukola Idowu, said there was late commencement of the election.
“This was common to all the places I went to. There are reported pockets of violence in some areas. We have been doing this since the 2019 general election. We are working on the Nigerian Election Violence Report (NEVR). We share our report with the security agencies so that they can mitigate and deploy appropriate responses.
“I think they acted on our report. With the report we have so far, there is no reduction in the incidents of violence from what happened in the general election. As at 4pm, there were 10 incidents of violence in Yenagoa, three in Ekeremor, six in Southern Ijaw, four in Nembe and two in Ogbia. Some of them include death and destruction of electoral materials,” Idowu said.
President of Rev. John Pofi Foundation, working in collaboration with the United States Nigerian Law Group called for the withdrawal of military men to forestall what happened in Buguma, Rivers State in the last general election.
In a statement jointly issued by Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, Ezenwa Nwagwu and Cynthia Mbamalu for YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote,  Bayelsa Observation Mission, the group deplored “the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) which is an advanced and proven methodology that employs well established statistical principles and utilizes sophisticated information technologies for election observation. Using this methodology, YIAGA AFRICA can independently determine if the official result announced reflects the votes cast”.
The Watching The Vote observation highlighted findings that enable a systematic assessment of seven process-related issues which includes the opening of polling units and presence of polling officials and election materials; presence of security personnel, commencement of accreditation and voting; deployment of the smart card readers; and presence of party agents. It also highlighted critical incidents observed that may threaten the credibility of the election.
1. As of 7:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC Officials had arrived at only 24% of polling units across the state.  Arrival of polling officials was identical across the three senatorial districts.
2. By 12:30 pm, only 56% of polling units had opened across the state.  Opening rates again varied by LGAs. WTV citizen observers reported that 23% of polling units were open by 9am; 18% between 9am and 10am; 15% between 10am and 12 noon; 12% not open by 12 noon; and 33% not yet reporting.
3. On average open polling units had four polling officials present of which two were women.
4. 79% of open polling units had security agents present.
5. Card readers were observed in 83% of polling units.
6. Register of voters were seen in 82% of open polling units, indelible ink (marker pen) in 79% of open polling units, official stamp in 82% of open polling units, voting cubicle in 79% of polling units, ink pad (in voting cubicle) in 82% of open polling units, governorship ballot box in 82% of open polling units, polling unit booklet were present in 80% of open polling units.
7. The Braille Ballot guides were present in 28% and the PWD poster (Poster EC 30E) were present at 68% of open polling units.
8. Accord Party agents were seen at 10% of open polling units, APC party agents were seen at 83% of open polling units, and PDP at 74% of open polling units.

5:42pm

Bayelsa PDP Guber Candidate Calls for Cancellation of Polls in Some LGs

By Emmanuel Addeh 

The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s election in Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has called for the cancellation of the election in some areas of the state.

Diri alleged while speaking after voting at his polling unit, ward six, unit four in Sampou community, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was colluding with the security agents to manipulate the election.

“It is going on peacefully in my unit and voting is orderly here. It’s going on well here. However, I have reports of pockets of electoral fraud committed by APC, coming in with thugs to hijack materials, denying PDP members from voting.

“I raised the red flag about Nembe Bassambiri. What I have is that no PDP agent is allowed to go into Nembe Bassambiri. At Eniwari in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, the reports I have is that the APC thugs went there. The same with Opolo and other places. But we are monitoring the process,” Diri stated.

The PDP candidate also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to justify the huge investments on the election by ensuring free, fair and credible poll.

Diri called for the cancellation of ‘cooked up’ reports from where electoral materials were hijacked.

“Let me call on the umpire first, the INEC, to be alive to their responsibility on the disturbing reports on the incidences we are hearing. Where they need to invoke their power, they should do so either not accepting cooked up results where materials have been hijacked,” Diri said.

4:45 PM

Bayelsa APC Guber Candidate Lauds INEC

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Chief David Lyon, has lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a peaceful election in state.

Lyon said that with what he had seen in his community, INEC had so far conducted a credible poll.

The APC candidate, who voted at his Olugbobiri Ward 4, Unit 1, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, said nobody should create problems to disrupt the poll.

”Today’s process is very peaceful. I have seen what INEC has been doing all the while. It is going very peacefully and that’s why we are advising everyone to go peacefully and vote.

“Go with your card to your units, vote and leave the place, not to come and create problem, but guard your vote, that’s what we are telling everybody,” he said.

He expressed optimism that APC would win the governorship election.

 

4:30 PM

Defend your Votes, PDP Tells Kogi, Bayelsa Electorate

Chuks Okocha in Lokoja

As voting comes to an end in most of the polling booths in Kogi and Bayelsa States, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on its members to defend their votes at the coalition centres.

The party, in a two-paragraph statement by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “I urge everyone to please stay and defend their votes, as you all know that protecting your vote is paramount.

“And also, all security agencies should please stay clear of the collation centres and not disrupt any activities happening around the collation centres.”

 

4:00 PM

Bayelsa Guber: NSCDC Commends Electorate on Peaceful Conduct of Poll

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has commended the electorate in Bayelsa on the peaceful conduct of Saturday’s governorship election.

The NSCDC Assistant Commandant General (ACG), Mr Ideba Pedro, who led a monitoring team for the election, gave the commendation in an interview with newsmen on Saturday at Fankuku Primary Health Centre polling unit in Epie III, Amarata, Yenagoa.

Pedro said his team from the National Headquarters, Abuja, had gone to many polling units and reports from the situation room also indicated that the election had been peaceful.

“The electoral process today is very peaceful, if there is any rumour of shooting it is not to our knowledge.

“The turnout is very encouraging. As you see the crowd here and the electoral process is going on peacefully.

“The people of Bayelsa are exercising their franchise and there is no molestation. The roads are free because vehicular movement restriction is enforced by security agents on duty, ” Pedro said.

He described the working relationship among security agencies on election duty in Bayelsa as very robust.

Asked if there had been any record of vote buying, Pedro said that the corps was yet to see any.

“For us as security agents, we have been moving round and we have not witnessed anywhere there is vote buying except you have any to tell us,” he said. (NAN)

2:40pm
Kogi Decides: CDD Decries Violence, Ballot Snatching

By Ibrahim Oyewale

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), one of the domestic observer groups in the Kogi governorship poll, has decried the spate of violence and ballot snatching across the state.

Speaking at a press conference in Lokoja Saturday, the Chairman of CDD, Prof. Adele Jinaidu, said reports from CDD observers indicated widespread violence, intimidation of voters, vote buying, abductions, gunshots and massive rigging that may undermine the integrity of the election in the state.

Jinaidu said the conduct of the election fell short of public expectation in spite of the outcry against electoral violence in the state.

He lamented that there was coordinated and systematic use of thugs to intimidate voters, adding that this fell short of standard practices.

He also decried the systematic vote buying, selling at the polling units and financial inducements.

2:25pm
Bayelsa Guber: Commissioner Decries Soldiers’ 
Presence in Polling Booths
By Emmanuel Addeh 
The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, has bemoaned the presence of soldiers in some polling booths in Ogbia.
The commissioner also decried the violence in some parts of the state in the ongoing governorship election in Bayelsa.
He said that it is a breach of the rules for the military to be directly involved in electoral activities, adding that they were supposed to be at the outskirts or main roads.
Iworiso-Markson, who spoke in Opume, Ogbia Local Government Area, added that in Southern Ijaw, Opolo in Yenagoa and Ekeremor, there were reports of ballot box snatching.
“The media need to help us. There are clear breaches. We are calling the security agencies and to INEC officials to go there and ensure peace.
“We are concerned about the lives of our people. There’s sporadic shooting going on in Famgbe. It’s like the world has moved on from Nembe just a few days after the killings there. Let the votes count,” he said.
He, however, said that in his ward 11, Unit One, where he voted, the election was largely peaceful and urged those perpetrating violence to respect the sanctity of human life.

1:40pm

Dickson Votes, Alleges Highjacking of Voting Materials

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson voted at Polling Unit 005, Ward 2, Toru-Orua community, Sagbama Local Government Area of the state, accusing the All Progressives Congress (APC) of working with security agencies to hijack voting materials.

He said after voting that security agencies aided the APC to move voting materials meant for Nembe and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas to unknown destinations.

“There is a well-organised election crime ongoing in our state; they have established unofficial collation centres in some places.

“There whole intention is to subvert the will of the people and jeopardise the efforts of well-meaning Bayelsa people to develop the state,’’ he said.

He, however, commended the people of Toru-Orua for their turnout during the election, saying,m: “Your passion for positive change is commendable.’’

But some community people who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed satisfaction at the level of calm and order in the conduct of the poll.

They said that the presence of security personnel in the community had reduced the tension among the voting public.

Chief Abite Alawei, a community leader, said that he was confident that the process would be concluded without violence.

“We have not witnessed any breach of law and order in the community since the process began, our people have conducted themselves orderly.

“As you can see, voting is also ongoing, and the process is orderly, we pray it continues this way till the end,’’ he said.

Mr Amaye Soldier, a teacher, also told NAN that he was satisfied with the conduct of the polling officials in the unit.

“We are watching the process, so far, we are comfortable with the conduct of the election officials, they have shown fairness and purpose,’’ he said.

NAN reported that Governor Dickson’s residence did not witness the usual beehive of activities that characterise a governor’s country home during elections.

Some local community people say the attention and loyalty of political followers had shifted to candidates of the major political parties contesting the election.(NAN)

1.12pm

Shooting, Snatching of Ballot Boxes Mar Kogi Guber Poll

By Ibrahim Oyewale

Barely four hours after the commencement of the gubernatorial and Kogi West Senatorial rerun election, gunmen have invaded some polling units in Lokoja and snatched some ballot boxes.

Sources said that the hoodlums invaded Muslim Community Secondary School polling unit at Lokogoma and shot into air scaring the voters, who fled the area, while the thugs had a field day taking away some ballot boxes.

At Adankolo new layout, vote buying and selling characterised the exercise, while gunshots were later heard with the voters taking to their heels.

In Crowther Memorial College, THISDAY gathered that hoodlums chased out voters as well as the security personnel to carry out their nefarious activities and carted away ballot boxes.

In Kogi East Senatorial district, the report has it that right from the beginning of the election, snatching of election materials has been the order of the day.

It was gathered that some thugs attacked the polling unit where Senator Dino Melaye voted earlier in the day and carted away the ballot boxes.

Sources further revealed that in retaliation, the suspected thugs loyal to Melaye allegedly smashed the windscreen of the car conveying journalists.

Meanwhile, a police helicopter was seen hovering over the Lokoja to curtail any possible breakdown of law and order.

Meanwhile, the election was peaceful in Kogi Central Senatorial district as at the time of filing this report.

12:15 PM

Bayelsa PDP Candidate Describes Process as Smooth, Peaceful

Sen. Douye Diri, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate for the Bayelsa governorship election, on Saturday, described the electoral process as “smooth and peaceful”.

Diri made his thoughts known while speaking with newsmen shortly after casting his vote at Polling Unit 4, in Sampou, Kokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.

He said that observations and feedbacks from some members of the public indicated that the process had been smooth and peaceful in some areas “although we have received calls concerning anomalies in some parts of the state.

“We urge the security agencies to be vigilant.”

He said that it was the duty of security agencies to apprehend anybody found to have engaged in acts capable of truncating the process.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), a polling official, Joy Presa said that the delay in the arrival of voting materials was because of the flooding that occurred in the area.

NAN reports that eligible voters could only access the community through boats as the road leading to the community had been submerged. (NAN)
12:05 PM

Security Beefed up at Bayelsa INEC Headquarters

There is tight security at the state headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa as the state governorship election commences, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

NAN also reports that security operatives from the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Army and Fire Service were seen at the INEC office in Yenagoa.

Police and army personnel in their vehicles were also seen at strategic positions on the major road leading to the INEC state office on Swali road and within the city centre keeping a watchful eye on events on election day.

The security personnel were in position in order to provide security and ensure the public’s compliance with the vehicular movement restriction order issued.

NAN reports that as of 9:00 a.m., voting was yet to begin at the Fankuku Primary Health Centre polling unit 19 in Epie III Ward, Yenegoa Local Government Area.

NAN, however, observed that two buses conveying INEC ad hoc staff and voting materials were seen driving into the voting centre at 9.20 am.

As polling units 019, 017, and 018 were being set up, the Presiding Officer for polling unit 018, Miss Chioma Okoli, apologised to the registered voters for the delay, saying that it was due to transportation challenges.

Okoli said that only voters with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) would be allowed to vote as the card readers would only recognise PVCs issued by INEC.

She urged the voters to fold their ballot papers and cast their ballot to avoid a situation where their votes would be voided.

Okoli assured that preferential treatment would be given to the elderly, nursing mothers, expectant mothers, and persons living with disabilities.

NAN also reports that voting was yet to commence at polling units 16, 015, 014, 013, and 012 at the same polling centre although voters were already waiting on the voting queues for accreditation and voting. (NAN)
12:00 PM
 
Bayelsa PDP Guber Candidate Votes, Raises the Alarm over Alleged Fraud

By Emmanuel Addeh 

Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa, Senator Douye Diri, has just voted in Sampou, Kolokuma Opokuma local government.

Diri said he had been tipped off about alleged fraud, especially ballot snatching in certain areas, including Opolo in Yenagoa and volatile Nembe.

11.17 AM

Kogi Decides: Thugs Attack Journalists in Anyigba

Thugs suspected to belong one of the political parties contesting in the Governorship and National Assembly elections in Kogi, have allegedly attacked Mr Sam Egwu of the Leadership newspaper and Mr Sunday Omachi of Radio Kogi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the incident happened at Anyigba.

Both journalists were on election duty when they were attacked by the hoodlums at Unity Roundabout, Anyigba.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of police in the state, Mr Akeem Busari, said reinforcements had been sent to Anyigba to bring the situation under control.

Busari, however, has yet to confirm arrests over the incident.( NAN)

11:00 AM

Bayelsa Decides: Jonathan Decries Late Arrival of Election Materials at Otuoke Polling Unit

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, has expressed disappointment over the late arrival of election materials to his Polling Unit 39, Ward 13, in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area (LGA) of Bayelsa.

Jonathan, who was expecting to cast his vote, stepped out of his house at 8:30 a.m., but met only journalists as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials were yet to arrive at the venue.

“Are you an electoral officer, where are they?” The former president asked a journalist at the venue.

“Well this is where I will vote, but since they are not here yet, let me go back inside.

“You see now, youths of nowadays, you need to do more,” he stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that at the time of filing this report at 10:30 a.m, no official has arrived at the polling unit with materials for the exercise. (NAN)

10.50 AM

Voting Begins with Massive Turnout in Kogi West

Voting has commenced in the Kogi Governorship and National Assembly election in the western senatorial district of the state, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

INEC officials arrived as early as 7a.m. at various polling units visited by our correspondent in Mopamuro, while accreditation and voting commenced at exactly 8a.m.

The polling units visited by NAN were Orokere Ward 06 (PU= 001, 002, 003, 004, 005, 006, 007 and 008), Aiyedayo Ward 08 (PU= 004 and 003 unit) and Aiyeteju Ward 09 (PU= 001, 002, 003 and 004 unit.

NAN reports that the elections witnessed a large turnout of voters who trooped out to exercise their franchise . The election has also been relatively peaceful in the zone.

However, there were pockets of altercation and fighting at Ward 08, PU 004, with some thugs visibly seen around the unit.

There were only two police personnel on ground that seemed to be overwhelmed by the crowd at the unit, but the situation has been put under control as at the time of filing this report.

NAN further reports that there was an average of four to five security personnel in each polling unit visited.

Earlier, the Presiding Officer of Aiyedayo Ward 08, PU= 04, Mr Nelson Daniel, while addressing the voters, said voting would start by 8 a.m. and end at 2p.m.

Daniel told the voters that both the accreditation and voting would be simultaneous, saying ‘’If you are not accredited you will not be allowed to vote”.

“When you vote, please leave the polling unit. Do not use phone in the cubicle, do not collect money from anybody,” he warned.

NAN reports that the governorship election is holding across the 21 local government areas of the state, while the National Assembly re-run election is taking place in Kogi West senatorial district, simultaneously.(NAN)

10:30 AM

Tight Security as Bayelsa Votes

By Nseobong Okon-Ekong

As the people of Bayelsa state vote Saturday in a decisive governorship election, major roads around the city of Yenagoa, capital of the state witnesses expected heavy presence of security personnel who have blocked strategic locations.

The security agents were noticed around Julius Berger Junction, which spots the only Flyover Bridge in Bayelsa, Tombia Roundabout and Mbiama Junction, the mouth of the road into Yenogoa, from the East-West Road. They stopped vehicles and politely demanded to know their destination.

One of the distinct features observable in the security arrangement is that each service, the army, police and FRSC maintained a separate spot, not interacting at all.

The Nigerian Army personnel who were mainly stationed on the major roads had a good number of female soldiers. They were all armed.

Bayelsa State is notorious for violence that disrupts electoral processes. Tension heightens and the polity becomes precarious as a major elections approaches.

Incidents of violence including death were recorded during the primary and enlightenment rallies of the political parties.

With eight local governments, the security challenge is made more precarious by the topography of Bayelsa, which is made of swamps, creeks and over 70 percent water.

10.10 AM

Polling Units Open Early in Yenagoa Amid Tight Security

Polling units across Yenagoa opened early amidst tight security on Saturday for the conduct of the Bayelsa governorship election, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Polling units at Amarata, Ovom, and Oppolo areas opened as early as 8 a.m. as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials set up structures and waited for the arrival of election materials from the Registration Area Centre (RAC) in Yenagoa.

At Oppolo, Mr James Fefegha, a voter at polling unit 6, ward 2 said that the polling unit opened as early as 8 a.m.

“The election started early today and materials arrived early and we are waiting to vote already while the atmosphere remains very peaceful,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that soldiers with their patrol vehicles could be seen stationed at strategic check points.

Police and civil defence officers could also be seen keeping a watchful eye on proceedings at the polling units visited as voting and accreditation were going on simultaneously.

In Sagbama Local Government Area of the state, election materials arrived some of the polling units early enough for the conduct of the election .

NAN further reports that election materials started arriving at polling stations in Tumgbo Ward 13 at about 8.26am.

Security agents were also seen at strategic locations in the local government area.

Mr Salo Adikimo, a member of the state House of Assembly representing Sagbama Constituency III, at the state House of Assembly told NAN at Tumgbo unit 13 that the area had been calm.

“You can see that the entire ward is calm; there are no threats of crisis.

“No tension. We are ready to commence voting any moment from now.

“Our people are fully informed and aware of their responsibility during elections.

“You can be sure that they will conduct themselves peacefully,” he said.

Another voter in Tumgbo, Mr Tambi Wariebi, also told NAN that he was confident of a hitch-free poll.

Wariebi said that the presence of security agents in the area demonstated the commitment of the government to ensuring the safety of people’s lives during the election.

Presiding Officer, Tumgbo unit 10, Joseph Iheanachio, said that the situation was calm and devoid of tension.

“I am not under any tension. I am getting set to commence the voting process.

“So far, the place is calm and the people are conducting themselves peacefully,’’ he said.

NAN reports that small businesses opened their shops to do brisk business in communities such as Tumgbo, Angiama, and Bulo-Orua in Sagbama. (NAN)

9.59 AM

Kogi Decides: Large Turnout of Voters at Ward O1, Yagba West

A large turnout of voters is being witnessed at Ward 01, Polling Unit 003, Rest House One, Agbada, Yagba West, as the citizens trooped out to exercise their franchise in the governorship election in Kogi.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that accreditation of the voters has already begun at the ward and other polling centres in the township, and the process is going on smoothly.

A voter, Bayo Ajayi, described the exercise as “very peaceful at the moment, as there is no distraction from anywhere”.(NAN).

9.43 AM

Bello, Wives Cast Vote in Okene

Ibrahim Oyewale , Lokoja

Kogi State Governor , Yahaya Adoza Bello, and his wives have exercised their franchise at his home town in Agassa /Abache polling units 01 in Okene Local government area of Kogi State.

The governor who arrived with his wives at the polling unit at Agassa/ Abache polling unit 01 at about 8.30 and were accredited along with his three wives.

Governor Bello however lauded the the independent National Electoral Commission INEC, saying that INEC is better organised this time around than the previous election in Kogi State

He also commended the security arrangement put in place for the governorship election, adding that the security will maintain law and other. .

Earlier , the electorate who turned out in their large number were accredited and allowed to vote immediately.

The Electoral officers had earlier arrived their various polling units and commenced accreditation and voting simultaneously.
Attachments area

9.05 AM

Accreditation Begins at Ward A in Lokoja

Accreditation at Ward A Polling Station, Growther/ Sabongari, Lokoja, was on at 8.35 a.m. when a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) visited the polling station.
Voters were seen checking their names on the register pasted on the walls of Growther Memorial College, Lokoja, while others lined up, orderly, to be accredited.
The exercise was peaceful and orderly.

Men and officers of the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Commission(FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Customs Service, among other security outfits kept vigil to ensure maintenance of law and order.(NAN)

8.30 AM

Heavy Security in Yenagoa as Governorship Election Holds

Security personnel have mounted checkpoints in major junctions in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa, as the state votes to elect its governor, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Checks around the city showed heavy security presence at Imgbi, Opolo, Akenfa, Igbogene Okarki and gateway junctions.

Also heavily manned is the Tombia Roundabout, a location within the town that hosts major transport companies and motor parks.

NAN reports that although these junctions were barricaded, security agents on duty were not seen harassing road users.

Some residents who spoke to NAN said that the presence of security agents had rekindled hopes that voters would be safe to exercise their franchise.

One of them, Mr Henry Onari, a civil servant, commended the security personnel for their civility and peaceful conduct.

“I have not seen them harassing anybody, they are merely searching vehicles not marked for election duty, this is a good development,’’ Onari said.

Another resident,Mr Leader Ndutimi, described the security checks at the junctions as a step in the right direction.

“It is an election day, we don’t expect free movement, thoroughness is expected of the security agencies, and that is what we are seeing,’’ Ndutimi said.

Miss Nengi Tomprenbofa, a nurse, said the screening of vehicles and other road users by security agents was commendable.

“These checkpoints are in order, you can see that people are already beginning to regain confidence, I am happy with the situation,’’ Tomprenbofa said. (NAN)

8am

Kogi Decides: Electorate Ready to Vote

Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

As the electorate in Kogi State file out to elect their governor who will pilot the affairs of the state for the next four years, the atmosphere in Lokoja, the state capital, still remains calm.

There is presence of security personnel at strategic places to ensure peaceful conduct of the governorship election.

Meanwhile, the voters started trooping to the various polling units as early 6.45 am waiting patiently for the electoral officers.

At Lokoja Club Polling unit 01, voters were seen gathering, while some election observers were also present waiting for the arrival of election material and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers.

At Crowther Memorial College, voters were at the polling centres as early as 7.00 am waiting anxiously to cast their votes.

As at time of filing this report, no electoral officers were sighted at polling units, but some security personnel were seen at some polling units in Lokoja .