Candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva and the Labour Party, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, have rejected the processes and the results of the just-concluded Bayelsa State governorship election that produced the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Douye Diri, as the winner.
Addressing newsmen after the declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday, November 13, 2023, the APC state chairman and party agent, Barr. Dennis Otiotio, said the party has rejected the results announced by INEC and did not sign the result.
He said, “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.
“It is clear that INEC has colluded with the PDP to cancel our result in the INEC office, not at the field. The votes were brought from the EC8A and EC8B to the INEC office, they decided to cancel over 84,000 votes scored by the APC.
“It is unprecedented, it has never happened anywhere and we are totally rejecting these results. The electoral act allows INEC to review the results within seven days and so we have written the necessary petitions which we have submitted and we are believing that INEC in good conscience will look at our petition and deal with it justiciably.”
Meanwhile, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Engr. Udengs Eradiri, who also rejected the results, said the election was held against the cardinal principles, laid-down procedures and ground rules that democratic elections to offices, especially that of the governor of a state, must be free, fair, credible and peaceful.
Eradiri in a press briefing at the State LP Secretariat yesterday, said the election of Saturday, November 11, was marred by massive and mind-blowing vote-buying, adding that the state government converted all the polling units to market squares and business centres where votes were auctioned, haggled over, bargained for and purchased.
He said, “The state government emptied our vault and carelessly deployed billions of our commonwealth to induce and compromise voters. Our state resources, which unconfirmed sources put at over N80bn were used to intimidate our traumatised people, who have been impoverished by this government.
“The government of Douye Diri deliberately weaponised poverty and forced the people to sell their consciences for money at the poll.”
Eradiri further stated that he considered vote-buying a crime against humanity, adding that it is a demonstration of lack of performance, unpopularity, incompetence, leadership failure and cluelessness on the part of the buyer.
“How can you bride people to serve them? I am not surprised that this government resorted to vote-buying because I have always emphasised its incompetence. I am only shocked at the level it took the malfeasance to.
“This government bought each vote as much as N70,000 in some places. The state government has added another record to its bag of incompetent achievements making the November 11 Bayelsa election the most monetised poll in the history of the country.
“Officials of INEC and security agencies at the polling units were all compromised to look the other way. They were all bought over to do the biddings of the government and its party, the PDP.
“I wonder why INEC cannot enforce its rules to ensure credible elections in the country. There was intimidation and harassment of voters, violence, bypass of BVAS among other irregularities, which have vitiated whatever results they announced at the collation centre.
“I call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe all electoral officers that participated in the election. Most of them are the reasons for the rampart voter inducement in our country’s election. The commission should investigate the massive monetary inducements that occurred in the Bayelsa election, “Eradiri said.