Bayelsa: LG Polls Threatened?

  • Written by  John ODHE, Yenagoa
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Bayelsa: LG Polls Threatened?

The controversy surrounding the resignation and appointment of a new chairman, Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) has continued to cause ripples.

The state electoral body had announced  the date for the conduct of local government elections in the state after about five years of running the third tier of government without elected council chairmen and legislative assemblies in the eight local government areas of the state

With the date of the elections slated for August 10 2019, Bayelsans' hopes were high that local government administration in the state would once again experience some level of autonomy with executive chairmen and their councillors in place.

The political atmosphere, however, changed last week when the immediate past chairman of the commission, Dr. Perekeme Betola suddenly announced resignation without giving further explanations for his action, less than two months to the polls.

Since then, the public has been inundated with different unsubstantiated information as to what could have led to the shocking resignation of the BYSIEC chairman.

Betola in a press statement signed by the media officer to BYSIEC, Mr. Tonye Yemolegha had given "threat to my life and family" as the reason for his resignation.

Meanwhile, political observers in the state, who believe that there may be more to the resignation saga than meets the eyes, have continued to read more meanings to the unceremonious exit of the BYSIEC boss.

In some quarters, there have been speculations that the man quit the job because his office was being allegedly starved of funds.

Another version has it that the BYSIEC chief decided to throw in the towel when he realized that his integrity might be threatened at the end of the process.

In another breath, a source who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that the resignation of the BYSIEC chairman was informed by his ambition to contest the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

Meanwhile, the choice of a new BYSIEC boss by the governor, Seriake Dickson, is also a cause of concern in the state.

Dickson had approved the appointment of the member representing Ekeremor Constituency 1 in the state assembly, Mr. Ball Oyarede to succeed the out-gone chairman.

Over 32 political parties in the state have so far frowned on the appointment of Oyarede, describing him as a card carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The aggrieved political parties, under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), said the rejection was based on the fact that an umpire of BYSIEC, which is supposed to be an independent body to conduct free and fair elections into the local government areas in the state, has been eroded and therefore not acceptable by the opposition parties in Bayelsa State.

The parties vowed to boycott the local government elections if the state governor retained the appointment of Oyarede as BYSIEC helmsman.

The new chairman whose tenure as lawmaker expired on Monday, has already been screened and confirmed by the state house of assembly.

Oyarede has also told the public that he had withdrawn his membership of the PDP before his new appointment.

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