Bayelsa state, Yenagoa – The election that brought in the second term opportunity for Governor Douye Diri was not one devoid of violence and irregularities in Bayelsa state.
INEC has issued certificates of return to the candidates of the PDP Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa state.
Photo credit: Douye DiriSource: Facebook
Diri was declared the winner of the Bayelsa governorship election held on Saturday, November 11, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Governor Diri was declared the winner of the poll by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC, Obo Effanga.
The candidate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 175,196 votes in the poll whilst his closest rivals, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) came second with 110,108 votes while Udengs Eradiri of the Labour Party got 905 votes.
Why the court may sack Douye Diri as Bayelsa governor
A lot of issues arose from the election on Saturday yet the ruling PDP in the state closed ranks with the PDP and secured the majority of the local governments while Sylva clinched Brass and Nembe local government areas.
It would be interesting to note that Sylva and his LP counterpart, Udengs Eradiri, have rejected the processes and the results of the just-concluded Bayelsa election that produced Diri, as the winner.
Diri would be dragged to the state’s governorship election petition tribunal, the court of appeal and finally the Supreme Court before he would eventually settle in as the real winner of the Bayelsa 2023 poll.
This article by AmbaJay, however, highlights the factors that might lead to Diri’s possible sack at the appellate court:
1. Cancellation of results in some local governments
In the wake of Saturday’s election, some local government results were allegedly cancelled by the PDP’s party agents against the will of the APC.
The APC raised the alarm during the collation of results by INEC at Yenagoa, thereby refusing to sign the overall result.
The APC state chairman and party agent, Barr. Dennis Otiotio claimed:
“Over 84,000 votes scored by APC in Nembe and Southern Ijaw were cancelled and so we will not be signing the result. In Nembe, over 29,000 votes were cancelled that APC scored. In Southern Ijaw over 55,000 votes were cancelled. If you put the total votes cancelled that APC scored in the field which is about 84,806 votes, if you add it to what APC scored, we clearly won the election.”
This is a major issue that Diri will have to answer to at the court and if he is unable to defend the claims by APC, his seat is at stake.
Violence rocked the Bayelsa governorship elections. INEC officials were kidnapped and held hostages and some ad hoc staff were chased out of a particular polling unit following a youth clash.
In fact, Nembe and Southen Ijaw were grounded. The commissioners and members of the Bayelsa state House of Assembly laid siege to the INEC office, insisting that elections didn’t take place at Bassambiri, Nembe.
A lot of election irregularities were recorded and the bone of contention was that the APC and the PDP were trading blame keeping Nigerians in utter confusion on who was behind the violence recorded so far.
The APC and the LP accused INEC of working hand in hand during the election, an allegation, if backed with strong evidence will affect Diri’s position and victory at the appellate court.
INEC has been petitioned to review the Bayelsa election results within seven days according to the electoral act, whatever the outcome may be, Diri’s chances at the appellate court are slim.
3. Alleged vote buying
It was alleged that the people of Bayelsa state sold their votes to the PDP.
The election was reportedly marred by massive vote buying as the state government allegedly converted all the polling units to business squares where votes were auctioned, haggled over, bargained for and purchased.
Some voters revealed the amount the ruling PDP and leading opposition, APC, allegedly paid them.
Voters in the PU 07, Ward 10, Agudama-Ekpetiama community in Yenagoa LGA were heard speaking about the vote-buying allegation.
Vote buying is a crime and the Labour Party is ready to prove this against Diri in court.
4. Fresh lawsuit against Diri’s deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo at the High Court
Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the deputy governor of Bayelsa state received his certificate of return from INEC.
Photo credit: Douye DiriSource: Facebook
A fresh suit seeking the disqualification of Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo has commenced at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The suit, filed by a Bayelsa woman, Blessing Clement Azibanagbal, sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was not qualified to run as deputy governor under the PDP.
APC chieftain sends strong message to Timipre Sylva
Reacting to the outcome of the election in Bayelsa state held last Saturday, a chieftain of the ruling APC, has urged the party’s candidate to forge ahead.
In a chat with AmbaJay on Sunday, November 19, 2023, Mr. Williams Dakwom, a member of the APC presidential campaign council (PCC) in Plateau state, urged Sylva to accept the outcome of the poll and make peace with Diri.
Dakwom opined thus:
“He has nothing more than to leave all victory to the hand of God and embrace the outcome of the results and be mature in his reaction to let peace have his way.”
Why Nigeria must stop off-cycle elections
Meanwhile, AmbaJay reported earlier that Goodluck Jonathan has called for the dissolution of the off-season elections.
The former Nigerian leader urged the National Assembly to work towards stopping the off-season elections because it does not conform to global practices.