June 13, 2024

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Diri lauds INEC over conduct of Bayelsa election

3 min read

 

Edith CHUKU

 

 

Re-elected Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, has applauded the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, for cancelling and rejecting what he described as questionable ballot figures.

 

The governor gave this commendation following INEC’s cancellation of ballot figures earlier returned for Nembe Local Government Area in Saturday’s poll.

 

 

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Diri also lauded the electoral umpire for insisting on the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS, to protect the integrity of the election.

 

He said, “the BVAS device was fully deployed during the election just as there was prompt distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive materials across the state.

 

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“The electoral umpire did well and l want to believe that this is one of the best elections it has conducted where the BVAS was brought to full test and we saw that wherever it was bypassed, all parties were scored zero.”

 

Making reference to Nembe-Bassambiri community where the BVAS was supposedly bypassed, he said INEC entered zero votes for such areas.

 

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The state’s helmsman noted that, “while the conduct of the election could be adjudged to be free, fair and transparent, it however was not perfect as it was human effort.”

 

Comparing the conduct of the elections in Bayelsa to Kogi and Imo states, the governor noted that the terrain of Bayelsa was totally different from the two other states and attributed the delay in releasing results to the state’s difficult terrain.

 

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He said, “When there was hue and cry over the delay in releasing results, we understood that it was not that easy for election to be conducted and results stream in the way they could have in Kogi and Imo states.”

 

The governor also exonerated INEC from the violence and hijack of election materials that occurred in Bassambiri, stressing that the politicians were to blame.

 

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“Rather than accusing the electoral umpire, l think that the politicians in Bayelsa should be accused. For instance, l just gave you an example of Bassambiri and the history of what happened there before the election.

 

“It is a place where my party’s supporters were chased out of the community, including the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. We tried to bring them back a day to the election but over 500 of them were prevented from entering the community.

 

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“The intention was to ensure that no other party apart from APC went in there, which they succeeded and that led to the bypass of the BVAS so they can bring in voodoo votes from that part of the state.

 

“At the end of the day, everywhere you had proper voting, the votes that trickled in were in their very few numbers. But in Nembe-Bassambiri where BVAS was bypassed and there was no election, you saw figures of over 40,000 votes. The same applied to Okpoama in Brass local government area where the candidate of the APC comes from and you also had issues of violence and killing of a young PDP supporter recorded.

 

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“So the issue is not much with the electoral commission but with the character of the kind of people l saw as my opponent in this election.”

 

When asked if he would extend a hand of fellowship to those who contested with him, Diri said, “I will extend my hand of fellowship to all those who contested with me. My maxim from day one when l took over the reins of power is, to show love where there is hatred and to give light where there is darkness.

 

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“But l will not reach out to murderers. l will not reach out to very violent people. There must be a mindset to move away from the violence and murderous attitude of Timipre Sylva and those around him.”

 

On why he ran for a second term, Diri explained that he wanted to prove wrong critics that said he was a Supreme Court-made governor and that he could not win election in the state.

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