Bayelsa: Protest At Collation Centre As Retuning Officer Declared Election Inconclusive

Bayelsa: Protest At Collation Centre As Retuning Officer Declared Election Inconclusive

Militants clash in Southern Ijaw

Paul Obiajunwo Yenagoa

Women and youth groups identified to be supporters of People Democratic Party (PDP) in Yenagoa, yesterday protested in front of the  Yenagoa Local government City Hall, where  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collation centre is  located.

The angry protesters who were prevented from entering the collation centre  by the heavy security presence at the gate of the  collation centre said they were at the  centre to protest any possible acceptance of  Southern Ijaw Local government results.

30 minutes after their demonstration, militant youths from Southern Ijaw escorted two Hilux vans with government House vehicle registration, BYGH145 into collation centre.

The two vans were loaded with uncounted ballot materials without any security escort, INEC officials or Local government retuning officer.

The other Hilux van has no plate number. The militants  who were chanting Ijaw song as they alighted from the Hilux van said they decided to escape with the results of three unites from Amassoma because of the clashed between them and other militants in Southern Ijaw.

They said the delay in collating the result at the local government level was because some militants did not want them to bring the result to the collation centre, adding that there were heavy security presence at Southern Ijaw but the security men were helpless to front the militants.

A few minutes later, the Deputy Inspector General of Police,  DIG Hashimu Argungu of Department of Training  and Development, Bayelsa Election stormed the collation centre to talk to the militants.

He pleaded with the militants to calm down advising them that police has taking note of the present situation in Southern Ijaw.

But the returning officer, Prof. Zana Akpagu and other INEC officials at the collation centre became uncomfortable with the presence of the militants. Prof Akpagu and other INEC officials left the collation centre unannounced.

It was a police officer who came to the collation centre to inform journalists to relocate to INEC office at Yenagoa Secretariat. At the INEC office the returning officer again send a message that the journalists should return back to the collation centre.

Information at our disposal showed that Dickson was the person who asked the militants to use the government House vans to bring the unaccounted ballot materials as to show proves of reasons to cancel the southern Ijaw election which he has been calling for.

The returning office after monitoring the tense situation of the place, quickly declared the election inconclusive. He said because of violence and lack of electoral guideline,   a new date will be fixed for southern Ijaw local government election.