As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continues to collate results of Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa state, a coalition of civil society organisations have called for the rejection of results from areas where elections did not hold.
The coalition, representing various groups accredited by INEC as Observers for the Bayelsa election, made this call Sunday evening, at a press briefing in Yenagoa, as interim election report.
The election monitoring group said voting did not take place in Nembe and Ekeremor local government areas, including some units in Yenagoa, where violence marred the process.
Though results from Ekeremor local government area are still being expected, but INEC has collated the results presented from Nembe LGA, where the All Progressive Congress (APC) pulled a total of 83,041 votes, leaving the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 784 votes.
But the observers said “Nembe LGA was the worst hit in pre-election and election related violence”, stressing that, “Elections did not hold in Nembe LGA”.
“On Wednesday, the 13th of November, 2019, a political party was having a campaign in Nembe LGA. Some blood thirsty gun men came to the venue and opened fire without any provocation whatsoever, killing scores of law abiding Nigerians.
“Same gunmen prevented election from holding in Nembe LGA. Till the time of this briefing, there has been no arrests, no prosecution, thus increasing the impunity associated with committing such heinous crime as perpetrators are largely known and seen moving freely in such communities”, the coalition stated.
The group also observed that, “In Yenagoa Ward 5, Epie 2 Ward 4, Apiffa 2 Ward 2 and Epie 3 Ward 6, elections did not hold.
“Some parts of Southern Ijaw were completely disrupted with violence. There was no elections in Ekeremor”.
The observers expressed shock that, “Several communities in Bayelsa state were sacked, not due to flood or any natural disaster, but as a result of their affiliation to a particular political party”, adding that, their interest was to preserve the democracy of Nigeria.
While berating the activities of the Nigerian security agencies in Bayelsa state, the observers want “politicians who sponsor, fund, aide or abate violence be made to face the full wrath of the law”.
The observers also alleged that the fundamental human rights of citizens of Bayelsa, as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, were grossly violated.
“What we saw in some LGAs in Bayelsa state is an aberration to this constitutional provision and grossly not in consonance with the provision of the Electoral Act 2010 as Amended.
“We observed that elections did not hold in some parts of Bayelsa State as it was grossly disrupted by violence, intimidation and ballot box snatching. In some instances, there were complete absence of voting materials and Ad hoc staff”, the group added.
Present at the briefing are, Mr. S. B Bafunsho of Organization of Justice for Equity Sustenance; Dr. Isaac Onyike of Centre for Strategic Conflict Management and Comrade Peter Nwokolo of Citizens Rights & Leadership Awareness Initiative.
Others include, Sandra Osunde of Global Policy Advocacy & Leadership Initiative; Dr. Nwambu Gabriel and Rev. John Pofi of Reverend John Pofi Foundation.