Despite the high level of thuggery and brigandage that occasioned voting in some parts of Bayelsa State, including the maiming at Ward 5, Opolo, Yenagoa, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) David Lyon was declared winner of the Bayelsa State governorship poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“That Lyon David of APC having satisfied the requirement of the law is hereby declared winner and returned elected,” said the returning officer in the poll Professor Faraday Orumwese. Orumwese said Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 143, 172 votes.
Official INEC figures showed that Bayelsa has 922, 562 registered voters but 517,883 voters were accredited for the election on Saturday. About 68% of those votes were cast in favour of APC and its candidate.
According to INEC, 49-year old Lyon won six out of the eight local government areas in the state. APC cleared Brass, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa local government areas while Diri won in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama.
The victory hands Nigeria’s ruling party another state in the country’s oil-rich South-South region, apart from Edo State where it has been ruling for more than 10 years. APC is also on course to win another massively rigged governorship election in Kogi State. The PDP has ruled Bayelsa since 1999.
Peeved at the kidnapping; several cases of ballot box snatching, intimidation of voters, vote-buying, massive rigging and sundry electoral malpractice that hallmarked the vote, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson called on INEC to cancel the election in some parts of the state, where the exercise was characterised by brigandage, hijacking of electoral materials, and where military personnel aided in election rigging.
According to the governor, rogue elements in the Nigeria Army connived with APC thugs to perpetrate electoral fraud and insecurity in some parts of Southern Ijaw, Ekeremor, Ogbia and even the state capital, Yenagoa.