Bayelsa/Kogi poll: APC’s Lyon ends 20 years of PDP in Bayelsa

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…Beats  Diri  of PDP by 180,000 votes

…as INEC suspends counting in Kogi

…Declares Dino/Adeyemi senatorial rerun inconclusive

…INEC, APC, PDP, SDP, Melaye react

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate, Chief David Lyon  defeated candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Duoye Diri to end 20 years of ruling Bayelsa by the PDP..

In the announcement made by the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).and Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin Professor Faraday Orunmuwese , the APC candidate Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat his closest rival the PDP Candidate Diri who scored 143,172.

From the result declared by the INEC, Diri who was supported by Governor Seriake Dickson suffered defeat to his APC rival with a difference of 180,000 votes.

The defeat of the PDP  ruling Bayelsa State since 1999 with a  wide margin by the APC was described by analyst as a protest against the party for poor corporate governance, alleged corruption, failure to fulfill obligation promised.and lack of respect for the electorate.

Lyon  of APC scored more than 25 per cent  of total votes declared by INEC from the eight Local Government of Bayelsa State.

The Governor-elect won in six LGAs while his PDP rival claimed the remaining two LGAs.

Diri defeated Lyon in Sagbama, the Local Governmenr Area of  Governor Seriake Dickson.

While the PDP candidate scored 60,339 votes, Lyon got 7,831 votes in Sagbama.

Diri also won his Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area scoring 15,360 votes to win Lyon, who polled 8,934 votes.

But Lyon won the Nembe Local Government Area by landslide  scoring 83,041 votes to trounce his PDP’s counterpart,  who got only 874 votes.

In Southern Ijaw, the Local Government Area of the APC Candidate, Lyon floored Diri winning his local government with massive 124,803 votes to win Diri, who came a distant second with 4,898 votes.

The Minister of State for Petroleum and former Governor Chief Timipre Sylva,  delivered his Brass Local Government Area to Lyon. He polled 23,831 votes to defeat his counterpart Diri, who scored 10, 410 votes.

The APC candidate also won Yenagoa Local Government Area, home to the state capital Lyon,  scoring 24,607  votes to defeat  Diri, who polled 19,184 votes.

Lyon further won Ogbia, the Local Government Area of former President Goodluck Jonathan with a wide margin.

Lyon  scored 58,016 votes to win his PDP’s counterpart, Senator  Diri, who polled 13,763 votes.

However, the INEC  announced the adjournment of collation of Kogi results to 9am on Monday.

The results of only Ibaji and Lokoja local government areas are outstanding with Governor Yahaya Bello in clear lead in 11 local governments.

His closest opponent Engr Musa Wada of the People Democratic Party(PDP), who has rejected the outcome of the exercise, is leading in eight local governments.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also declared inconclusive the Kogi West senatorial election on the ground that the lead margin between Mr Smart Adeyemi who polled 80,118 votes and Dino Melaye who got 59,548 is 20,570 which is lower than the 43,127 registered voters in 53 polling units of 20 registration areas in the zone.

The returning officer, Professor Olayinde Lawal who declared the election inconclusive said, he is constrained by law to declare a winner because of the lead margin between the leading candidates.

He added that INEC will announce a new date for the conduct of a supplementary election in the 53 polling units before a winner can be returned.

The Collation officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State, on Sunday, presented a fifty thousand naira bribe allegedly given to a presiding officer during Saturday’s election.

The collation officer made this presentation after reeling out figures of the poll conducted within the district.

While presenting the sum at the INEC headquarters in the state, the collation officer did not state which political party had attempted the bribe.

The election in Kogi state witnessed a great deal of violence and enormous vote-buying.

Observers explained that the issue of vote-buying was rampant even though INEC enlisted anti-graft agencies to checkmate the menace.

In the meantime, the Yahaya Bello/Onoja Governorship Campaign Council has called on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to shelve any plans it might be harbouring of causing trouble and spreading falsehood, urging the opposition party to await the conclusion of the entire process that has been “free, fair and peaceful”.

The ruling party in a press statement signed by the Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the Campaign Council, Kingsley Fanwo said: “We have credible intelligence that the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has directed the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan to quickly address a press conference to condemn an ongoing process that has been adjudged free, fair, credible and peaceful just because they are seeing the handwriting of people’s rejection on the wall.

“The pockets of crisis during the election were caused by the stand of the people against the rigging machinations of the PDP. Mr Ologbondiyan was caught in the same satanic plan as he has been alleged to have carried ballot boxes and papers to his private residence, a situation that was staunchly resisted by the people of his Ward who insisted on the power of the ballot.

“How will such a person garner enough moral strength to address a press conference to condemn a largely credible process?

“He and other PDP leaders should accept the verdict of the people and clean their names in the face of heavy accusations against them.”

The Council further commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for their excellent performance in ensuring fair conduct.

“To the PDP, they should prepare for future elections with seriousness and stop claiming ‘danger to democracy’ when things don’t go their way. We also congratulate Kogites for coming out enmasse on Saturday to elect their next governor,” the statement added

In her reaction, the Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, called for the cancellation of the elections in Kogi Central and parts of Lokoja, the state capital.

Akpoti wants the Independent National Electoral Commission to cancel the elections in the areas and hold a rerun on the grounds that “what happened in Kogi Central and other parts of the state was a far cry from a credible election”.

“Ballot boxes were destroyed and burnt in Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta and Ogori Magongo and Okehi Local government areas and other parts of the state,” she said in the statement on Sunday.

“Our agents were chased away from the various polling units of the Kogi Central Senatorial District.”

For Akpoti, these incidents were enough to make INEC take drastic action.

“I am therefore calling on you and in line with your powers as enshrined in the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended to cancel the election in Kogi Central Senatorial District and some part of Lokoja and order for a rerun,” she said.

The electoral umpire had, however, said in a statement on Saturday that most of those who wanted to vote were able to do so.

For Akpoti and her party’s agents and supporters, it was a different story, according to her statement.

“In some polling units, our agents were tied with ropes by APC-led thugs,” she said.

She also alleged that gun-wielding thugs supporting the APC did not allow SDP agents in Okene to come near the polling units. These thugs, she added, told voters not to come and vote unless they were to vote only APC.

In the meantime, PDP has compared the circumstances surrounding the conduct and outcome of the November 16 Kogi and Bayelsa state governorship elections to Hitler’s Germany, saying that the hope Nigerians had in democratic practice has been destroyed.

In a reaction to the exercise, the party said through a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary on Sunday in Abuja that Nigerians and the entire world watched in horror as the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government allegedly trampled on the nation’s democracy “with an utmost impunity that can only be obtainable in Hitler’s Germany and Samuel Doe’s Liberia, where the lives and rights of citizens meant nothing to suppressive power mongers”.

It observed that citizens agonised as APC-controlled security forces “aided armed hoodlums to invade polling centers, shoot and kill innocent citizens, cart away ballot boxes, stuffed them with already thumb printed ballot papers in favour of APC, after which results are allocated to the APC and handed over to a compromised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce against the will of the people”.

The statement added: “It is distressing that under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, votes no longer count; power and governance no longer derive from the people but from violence, manipulations and the barrel of the gun. Nigerians now ask; are we still in a democracy?

“With the outcome of the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, Nigerians and the world have lost hope in our institutions of democracy and security system as presently constituted.

“They have completely lost hope in INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, which has shown itself to be a repressive tool in the hands of dictatorial forces.

“As a party, we condole with the families of our compatriots that were killed in Kogi and Bayelsa states and prayed that God grant their souls eternal rest.

“The shameful elections conducted in Kogi and Bayelsa states have damaged the fate of Nigerians in a democratic order.

“Nevertheless, the PDP remains strong and united in the face of all odds. Nigeria is our nation and no individual or group can appropriate our collective sovereignty as a people at all times.

“Our party will, therefore, continue to fully exert itself in upholding the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians despite the manipulations of the APC.”

The PDP urged Nigerians to remain resilient and focused, adding: “Our party will, in due course, address Nigerians on the way forward in the overall quest to retrieve stolen mandates, rescue our nation from dictatorial forces and reinforce democratic practice in our country”.

Similarly, the candidate of the Party in the Kogi West Senatorial District rerun election, Dino Melaye, has condemned the results, calling it ‘fictitious’.

Melaye who spoke to journalists in Abuja, alleged that the November 16 election was marred by compromise, extreme violence, and rigging.

“The innovation is that what we had is what I have christened ‘Helicopter election’. For the first time, rigging has been advanced to the level that now the use of a helicopter in perpetuating this electoral atrocity manifested yesterday.

“Helicopter hovering around Polling units in Lokoja, dropping bullets on innocent, harmless citizens and electorate; and as I speak, yesterday, teargas being fired from this helicopter.”

He added that the violence witnessed in his community should give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reasons to stop the collation of results on Sunday.

“Despite the fact that this helicopter was used in harassing, intimidating and firing innocent electorates, the votes of those places were carted away and taken to the government house, stuffed and brought back to the collation centre and they have been accepted and admitted and collation is ongoing.

“They brought mayhem on my own community and even killed my nephew, we are waiting to see what INEC will do, but I reject in totality, this fictitious result and I want to say that all these are not about the election, it is about Dino Melaye,” he stated.On October 11, the Appeal Court ordered a rerun election in Kogi West Senatorial District between Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP and Senator Smart Adeyemi of the APC.

In its reaction, INEC through the Commissioner in charge of information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye  has stated that results from trouble-ravaged areas will be treated according to the reports from presiding officers.

“If there are areas where ballot box snatching was reported, the presiding officer is expected to write a report on such incident to the Electoral Officer, stating the issues concern and how they fit into the guidelines.

“The report from the presiding officers from such units will help the commission to determine whether the results from such units will be cancelled or whether a rerun will be ordered or whether the unit will be awarded a zero score.

“Until such a report is received from the officers on the field, the commission will not make a decision on it.

“We have some Resident and National Commissioners and other senior staff of the commission on the field. They are doing their job in accordance with the law.

“We are not aware of such an incident (that Bello and INEC were forcing INEC staff to sign prefilled results) and if such an incident took place, there will be a report because we have some Resident Electoral Commissioners supervising a cluster of local government areas,” Okoye said.

While speaking after voting ended in the Bayelsa and Kogi elections, Okoye said: “Voting has closed in all polling units in the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states. The commission deployed staff and materials in 4,352 polling units in the two states for the governorship elections, Kogi West Senatorial rerun election and Brass I State Constituency supplementary election in Bayelsa State.

“In addition, National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and other staff members were sent to monitor and supervise the elections. These field officers are regularly submitting real-time reports to the commission on developments in the field.

“The commission is monitoring the processes. Reports from accredited observers and our officials in the field indicate that most voters who were willing to vote had the opportunity to do so. The commission delivered materials to its two State offices in good time and made adequate preparations for the movement of staff and materials to the various voting locations.”

 

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