The Independent National Electoral Commission has cancelled Saturday’s Bayelsa State governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area — one of the state’s eight LGAs.
The decision, which will soon be announced officially by INEC, means the elections are inconclusive.
INEC said the decision was taken because of violence, the abduction of electoral officials and ballot box snatching, according to details seen by PREMIUM TIMES.
The electoral agency believed what happened in Southern Ijaw was a negation of global best practices in election conduct and that it was necessary to cancel the election there to enthrone credibility in the process, an official briefed on the matter has told PREMIUM TIMES.
The supplementary election will be conducted in due date.
The electoral agency decided on the cancellation of the Southern Ijaw votes shortly after two Toyota Hilux vehicles, carrying 24 ballot boxes and some men (believed to be political thugs) stormed the collation centre in Yenagoa, causing a stir.
They vehicle drove in as if they were chased into the venue, screeching to a halt outside the centre. Three men came down chanting local war songs.
They claimed the ballot boxes contained electoral materials from from Southern Ijaw and that they had overwhelmed ‘soldiers’ firing at them to return the ballot boxes they were carrying.
They did not appear to be INEC officials and officials at the collation centre were dazed and unsure about how to react.
Shortly afterwards, journalists covering the collation were advised to move from the collation centre to INEC office for a press briefing on the situation in Southern Ijaw LGA.
They are still waiting to be briefed as at the time of this report. But PREMIUM TIMES has exclusively been told the election has been cancelled.
Tension remains thick across the state amid reports of protest. The police had earlier today banned any form of procession, rally, protest or demonstration across the state.
Governor Seriake Dickson has a clear lead in the election, according to results announced so far by INEC.
Mr. Dickson, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, won in majority of the seven local government areas announced on Sunday by INEC.
His main challenger, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has so far scored the second highest number of votes.
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