INEC Douses Tension, Declares Douye Diri Winner of Bayelsa Governorship Election

INEC Douses Tension, Declares Douye Diri Winner of Bayelsa Governorship Election

…”I’ll Continue To Be Governor For All” Says Reelected Governor Diri Its been the longest forty-eight hours ever, during which there was tension in the state, with supporters of the two leading parties taking to the streets in pre-emptive protests against any declaration of results that did not emanate from the polling units. At the

…”I’ll Continue To Be Governor For All” Says Reelected Governor Diri

Its been the longest forty-eight hours ever, during which there was tension in the state, with supporters of the two leading parties taking to the streets in pre-emptive protests against any declaration of results that did not emanate from the polling units. At the end of it all, INEC declared incumbent Senator Duoye Diri, winner of another term as governor of Bayelsa state.

It was a two-horse race between a former governor and the incumbent. They are both popular with their people and this reflected in the votes they got. No landslide victory, but Governor Diri defeated former Governor Sylva with close to 70,000 votes margin. Governor Diri garnered 175,196 votes to defeat former Governor Timipre Sylva who scored 110,108 votes.

The election was full of suspense, intimidation, measured violence, and different strategies that saw the two major contenders at their wits end. While Governor Diri won in 6 out of the eight local governments; former Governor Timipre Sylva won in two local governments.

One factor that distinguised Bayelsa state election from those in Kogi and Imo was the reliance on the BVAS for accreditation and basing the results on the figures captured in BVAS. This restored sanity and helped the credibility of the elections. Not that the process was perfect but the outcome reflected more of reality than mere writing of figures.

INEC officially declared results from the eight LGAs are for the ywo leading candidates are as follows:

1. Yenagoa LGA; PDP – 37,777, APC – 14,534

2. Ogbia LGA PDP – 18,435, APC – 16,319

3. Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, PDP – 18,465, APC – 5,349

4. Sagbama, LGA PDP – 35,504,APC – 6,608

5. Nembe LGA; PDP – 4556, APC – 22,248

6. Ekeremor LGA PDP – 23,172, APC – 8445

7. Brass LGA; PDP – 12,602 APC. – 18,431

8. Southern Ijaw LGA; PDP – 24,685APC. – 18,174

Total Scores: PDP – 175,196, APC – 110,108

Protests in Bayelsa
The initial intention to by-pass of the use of BVAS, in Nembe/Bassambri, triggered a mass protest Sunday morning by PDP supporters alleging manipulation of elections. Protesters alleged that the figures uploaded on IREv, INEC’s portal for viewing election results.

INEC had to cry out for help from security agencies for what it called unfolding situation in Brass where some of its officials were held hostage on Sunday. In a statement, INEC said at about 2:30 pm. “The Unfolding Situation in Brass Local Government Area.The Commission is closely watching the situation in Brass LGA of Bayelsa State where our officials are held hostage. This is detrimental to credible elections. We call on the security agencies to immediately facilitate their release.

One leading member of the PDP in Bayelsa State, George Sibo, was killed at the collation center in Twon-Brass, Brass Local Government Area of the state. The deceased, popularly called Kobo-Kobo, an aide to the Brass Local Government Chairman, Hanson Alabo-Karika, was murdered when thugs invaded the collation center on Sunday.

The victim, an indigene of Twon-Brass, who was married with children, was murdered at the Collation Centre when results for some wards in the constituency were being submitted.

Chief Timipre Sylva’s chances suffered a major set back following the cancellation of over 24,000 “controversial votes” purportedly recorded in Ward 11, 12 and 13 of Mini, Ikensi and Oluasiri in Nembe Local Government Area of the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission. The voters were not captured by BVAS.

The cancellation of the votes, which followed the protest by stakeholders, particularly members of the Peoples Democratic Party over the hijack of election materials by APC thugs in Nembe-Bassambiri and refusal to allow voters, including supporters of the PDP, to cast a single vote, was said to have thrown Sylva’s camp into confusion.

The APC had earlier protested INEC’s decision to move the collation centres for Nembe and Southern Ijaw Local governments to Yenagoa instead of the using their LG headquarters.

The PDP also alleged that most of the votes purportedly recorded by the APC in the area were cooked up and “are voodoo votes” that should be cancelled.

The votes from Mini, Ikensi and Oluasiri communities were therefore cancelled after INEC officials reviewed the PDP claims. PDP agent for the Ward, Douglas Etulankimor Sampson, who confirmed the development, said it was regrettable for APC to deny almost 30,000 voters in the ward the opportunity to cast their votes during Saturday’s off-cycle Governorship election in the area.

INEC’s insistence not to take into accounts results in polling units where the BVAS was not used was a major factor that helped the credibility of the outcome of the election. This deviated from the past where premeditated votes were merely on results sheets.

Results from six out of the eight local governments released so far show both the PDP and APC in a neck to neck trailing of each other. While the PDP won in five APC won in one.

There was another crisis at the INEC collation centre in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State amongst party agents. The Accord party Agent raised an allegation that provoked reactions from opposing agents. This forced collation to be adjourned while waiting for the results from Southern Ijaw Council.

I’ll Continue To Be Governor For All

Address by H.E. Senator Douye Diri after being declared winner of the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State

1. Esteemed citizens of Bayelsa State,

2. On behalf of my dependable deputy, today I address you with a heart full of humility and gratitude as you have again bestowed upon me the honour of serving as your governor.

3. This victory would not have been possible without the mighty hand and grace of the Almighty and the overwhelming support you have shown towards me and my Government of Prosperity. I am deeply humbled by your overwhelming expression of confidence and by your mandate to serve you for another four years.

4. I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone that cast your vote in my favour and entrusted me with the responsibility of leading our beloved state.

5. I am also immensely grateful to the leadership of our great party, PDP, at all levels and our dedicated campaign team and supporters, who worked tirelessly to spread our message of progress and unity throughout Bayelsa State. Your unwavering belief in our vision for prosperity and your relentless efforts have brought us this sweet victory.

6. However, I urge you all to celebrate with temperance, as this victory is not the exclusive preserve of any one political party. Rather, it is the collective will of a people united towards progress and a better future. Even those who cast their votes differently enriched our democratic practice by their participation and dissent. I reaffirm that I will continue to be the governor of all in Bayelsa State.

7. I want to place on record our gratitude to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Bola Ahmed Tinubu for allowing the conducive environment for what has been a free, fair and credible election.

8. In the same vein, we appreciate the role of most of the security agencies for their professionalism and hard work in providing security for the exercise. We equally commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for discharging their responsibility largely creditably.

9. I want to specifically acknowledge and appreciate our leader, former President Goodluck Jonathan, for his unqualified support just as thank my immediate predecessor in office, H.E Sen. Henry Dickson, for his unwavering and abiding support. Our special appreciation also goes to our party leaders and my brother governors for their physical presence and invaluable moral support during this process.

10. In no particular order, I thank H.E former Vice President Atiku Abubakar
H.E former Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.
H.E Gov. Agbu Kefas of Taraba State
H.E Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State
H.E Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State
H.E Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State
H.E Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State
H.E former Gov Nyesom Wike

11. As I stated in my inauguration speech, where there is darkness, let us bring light. Where there is hatred, let us bring love. We are too few a people to be polarized and fractionalized along political, clan or other primordial ranks. My determination in fostering unity and inclusivity as we strive to achieve the shared goals and aspirations of our people is undiminished. I eagerly look forward to collaborating with each and every one of you to create a brighter future for Bayelsa.

12. I equally sincerely thank all those who exercised their democratic right to vote. Your participation in this election has reaffirmed the strength of our democracy and the power that lies within the hands of the people.

13. However, it is important to acknowledge that this electoral process has not been without its challenges. Regrettably, attempts by some political actors to hijack the process and undermine the will of the people resulted in the utterly unacceptable infiltration of violence, thuggery and intimidation into our electoral process. Lives of innocent individuals have been lost, an outcome that should not have occurred. Let me be clear: such actions are utterly unacceptable.

14. In this moment, I offer my deepest condolences to the individuals and families that have suffered from brutal attacks, loss of life, injuries, and harassment during this off-cycle election.

15. Innocent lives have needlessly been sacrificed on the altar of greed, and this tragedy must not be overlooked. I assure you that there will be consequences for these actions.

16. In particular, the news of the murder of a young man, Berepelenyo George Sibo, in Twon-Brass, in the aftermath of this election, is deeply troubling. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and respect for human life during and after an election. Every loss of life is a tragedy, especially when it occurs in the context of exercising democratic rights. We must collectively condemn any acts of violence and work towards creating a society where every individual can freely and safely participate in the democratic process.

17. Once again, I extend my deepest gratitude to the people of Bayelsa State for your overwhelming support and trust. I accept your mandate to serve you again as Governor with utmost humility. Rest assured, I will continue to serve with integrity, dedication, and transparency. Let us embark on this next phase of our Prosperity journey together, knowing that the future of Bayelsa State rests in our hands, under God.

17. Thank you, and may God bless Bayelsa State.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun

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