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Bayelsa LG Polls: Why Dickson Dumped Oyarede

  • Written by  John ODHE, Yenagoa
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Bayelsa LG Polls: Why Dickson Dumped Oyarede

Barely two months to go, uncertainty still hovers around the conduct of the Bayelsa state local government elections following the inability of the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) to have a substantive chairman ahead of the polls.

The electoral commission has been without a chairman for about a month following the sudden resignation of its chairman, Dr. Perekeme Betola who gave threat to his life and family as the reason for his action.

Meanwhile, Betola has picked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to contest for Ekeremor local government chairmanship in the forthcoming LG elections slated for August 10, 2019.

Immediately after the resignation of the chairman, Mr. Ball Oyarede was appointed by the state governor, Seriake Dickson and was screened and confirmed by the state lawmakers to replace the out-gone chairman.

Until his appointment, Oyarede was the member representing Ekeremor constituency 1 in the fifth Bayelsa State House of Assembly which rounded off penultimate week.

Oyarede's appointment was greeted by a torrent of controversy coming mostly from the different political parties that are preparing for the local government elections with calls on the state governor to drop Oyarede's appointment.

They pegged their rejection of the appointment on the reason that Oyarede was a card carrying member of the PDP as at the time he was appointed to head an independent electoral body, postulating that if allowed to chair the commission, he would be biased and may not conduct a free and fair election.

Oyarede has since debunked the allegation, claiming that he duly denounced his membership of the PDP before he was appointed.

Having been screened and confirmed by the state lawmakers, the newly appointed BYSIEC chairman was not sworn-in to continue from where his predecessor stopped, a situation that further tucked Bayelsans on a corner of cynicism, wondering whether the elections would hold.

While Bayelsans were eagerly waiting for the swearing-in of Oyarede as the substantive chairman, the state governor shocked everybody with the announcement of the former chairman of Southern Ijaw local government area, Mr. Remember Ogbe who is also a commissioner at the commission, as the acting chairman of the BYSIEC.

Again, tongues have started wagging as to what could have warranted the governor's change of mind, with some adducing that the governor may have bowed to pressures from the political parties to drop Oyarede.

A source close to the state government told our correspondent that "you know the governor is a lawyer and he is very law abiding and he has listening ears.

"You know many people including some political parties have raised some issues concerning the appointment of Oyarede and the governor wouldn't want anything that may jeopardize the conduct and outcome of the forthcoming local government elections at last".

However, the commission, through its media officer, Mr. Tonye Yemolegha has allayed the fears of Bayelsans, noting that the commission was on course.

Speaking to our correspondent over the telephone, Yemolegha said the most senior commissioner was in charge of the commission pending when a substantive chairman would be inaugurated and that preparations were in top gears to conduct an acceptable local government elections come August 10.

Yemolegha called on Bayelsans to have confidence in the state independent electoral commission to conduct a free, fair and credible election that would be acceptable by all.

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