Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Henry Seriake Dickson was last night declared winner of Saturday’s Bayelsa governorship election, with a wide margin, despite the low turnout.
The Chief Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Joseph Ajienka, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), announced the result amid tight security.
According to him, Dickson polled 417,500 votes; Imoro Kubor of Change Advance Party (CAP) came second with 22, 534 votes; Kemela Okara of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) scored 9,627 votes and Famous Daunemigha of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) polled 3, 548. The 32 other candidates scored an insignificant number of votes.
Dickson, in his acceptance speech, promised change, which he said the people so much desired. He said he was humbled by the overwhelming support he received.
Said the governor-elect: “Yesterday, we went into general elections as opponents. But today, a new reality has dawned. A reality that enjoins us, as a people with common heritage, to rally round one another in the interest of our dear state and to work towards moving the state forward.
“This victory is a call to service and a call to prepare for the daunting challenges of the future.
“To you my good people of Bayelsa, you asked for change and by the reason of your mandate today, we now symbolise that change. You have voted for restoration. You have voted for the change that you rightly deserve. Bayelsa State and the Ijaw Nation will never remain the same.
“In the course of our campaign, we promised massive investments in critical infrastructure. We also promised you free and compulsory education for all our children in primary and secondary schools. We also vowed to invest in developing the human capital of our teeming youths, such that they will be able to unleash their creative capacities as well as enhance their drive for entrepreneurship. Even much more, we promised that we will run an open, transparent and accountable government that places the welfare of our people above all else.
“Let me assure you that these are not mere campaign promises. They will be the cornerstone of our administration. We will do as promised.”
The governorship candidate of the ACN described the election as massively rigged.
Okara, in a telephone interview immediately after the results were announced, said: “From reports from ACN’s agents and supervisors across the state, there were serious cases of multiple thumbprinting, snatching of ballot boxes and chasing away of members and agents of the ACN across the state.”
The ACN candidate spoke of a “brazen attempts by the PDP to manipulate the will of the people”.
He complained of the absence of policemen in his country home, Bumodi, and said an ACN supporter in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area was shot dead on the eve of the election under circumstances yet to be verified.
He alleged that voters were induced with money by PDP supporters at some polling booths with impunity. “Voters were even chased away in some places,” Okara said.
He observed that in some places, no proper accreditation of voters was done before voting started.
“If we lost in a free and fair contest, we would gladly accept it, but when there are infringements on the democratic process, we cannot accept it,” Okara said, adding:
“President Goodluck Jonathan, after voting at Otuoke yesterday (on Saturday) confirmed voters’ apathy, with low turnout throughout the state. How did the PDP record the huge figure?”
When asked if he would challenge the results at the Election Petitions Tribunal, Okara said it would be too hasty to take such a decision. The next step will be decided, after ACN’s field reports have been put together.
Imoro of CAP, who also alleged fraud, said he would challenge the results at the tribunal.
Security was tight, with the police, the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) deploying thousands. Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were also deployed.
Dr Jonathan congratulated Dickson and his running mate John Jonah.
He assured them of his support, urging Dickson to fully dedicate his tenure to giving effective, purposeful and result-oriented leadership to the people.
According to a statement by presidential spokesman Reuben Abati, Jonathan urged Dickson to work with total dedication and commitment to justify the peoples’ confidence by rapidly delivering visible and significant improvement in the living conditions of the state’s residents.
Senate President David Mark urged Dickson to rise up to the challenge of massive infrastructural development of the state.
“This is one sure way of building trust and confidence in your administration,” he said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Paul Mumeh.
House of Representatives Speaker Bello Tambuwal also congratulated the governor-elect.
Tambuwal, in a statement by his Special Adviser (media) Imam Imam, urged the people to support Dickson to enable him fulfil his campaign promises.
Corps members, who survived boat mishap on election duty on Saturday and lost valuables are seeking INEC’s assistance.
They relieved their ordeal yesterday.
A speed boat hired by INEC conveying youth corps members, policemen, soldiers, party agents and electoral materials to Apoi/Bassan/Koluama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, capsised. No life was lost. As a result, there was no election in the area.
The sensitive election materials, including ballot papers that were lost were for Units 18 to 35 of Ward 15, Apoi. On board were seven Corps members, who were ad hoc staff of INEC, one Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO), two soldiers, three policemen, two agents of political parties and the boat driver.
One of the Youth Corps members, who declined to give his name, said the passengers lost all their personal effects, including phones.
The Corps member said he left Yenagoa for Oporoma, the headquarters of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area around 2 pm on Friday, with INEC officials moving them to Ikunbiri, where they passed the night. But the journey to Apoi started around 11 am on Saturday because of the delay in sharing electoral materials.
The boat capsised after travelling for over one and a half hours, with less than two minutes to get to Apoi.
The Corps member said a politician hired three boats to convey the passengers of the ill-fated boat back to Oporoma where the stranded Corps members found their way to Yenagoa around 6:30 pm on Saturday.
INEC spokesman Timidi Wariowei said the overall results would not be invalidated because voting did not take place in the area. “It is just part of a ward, out of the state’s 105 wards,” he said.
•Yenagoa: PDP – 61820; CAP 2106; ACN1848; CPC 381.1
Registered votes -133,122; Valid Votes 67,875; Total Votes Cast-69,986; Invalid Votes Cast 2111.
•Nembe LGA: PDP 57,886; ACN 1076; CPC 103
•Sagbama LGA: PDP 51,678; CAP 1738; CPC 414
•Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA: – PDP 18,107; CPC 94
•Ogbia LGA – ACN 105; CAP 1277; CPC 151; PDP -50,848; APGA 71
•Ekeremo LGA – PDP 55,5044; CPC – 2044; AC N – 975; CAP -1867. With total Valid votes at 60546, rejected votes 955, total votes cast 61501
•Southern Ijaw LGA – PDP – 86,661;CAP-7972; ACN -1679; CPC 278 ; APGA 177;PPA -115.
•Brass LGA – 36,353; CAP -5089 ; ACN 1250; NCP- 131; CPC -83
Total Registered Voters – 52520, total Valid Votes-43 391, Rejected Votes 1214.Total Votes Cast 44605.
All Credit to The Nation (http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/news/36642-dickson-wins-in-bayelsa.html)