Head of election commission in Bayelsa resigns

Ballot boxes used to illustrate the story.
Ballot boxes used to illustrate the story.

The chairman of the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission, Perekeme Bertola, has resigned his appointment.

The local council election in Bayelsa is scheduled to take place on August 10, less than two months from now.

Mr Bertola is said to have suddenly tendered his resignation letter on Friday to the state governor, Seriake Dickson.

The Bayelsa government confirmed the development through a press statement issued by the state commissioner for information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who said Governor Dickson has accepted Mr Bertola’s resignation.

The statement quoted Mr Iworiso-Markson as saying that the local election would still go on despite Mr Bertola’s resignation.

“The commission are in quorum to carry on with the business of conducting a hitch-free council polls,” the statement said. “The most senior member of the commission will take charge in acting capacity, pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.”

The information commissioner said Mr Bertola and members of his family were “harassed, intimidated, and threatened” by opposition politicians in the state.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bayelsa, similarly said the head of the election commission resigned because of threats from opposition politicians.

“Investigations our party conducted into this sudden development revealed shockingly that Dr. Perekeme (Bertola) and members of his family were threatened by members of the opposition political parties who lack the capacity to win any free and fair electoral contest in Bayelsa,” the state PDP chairman, Moses Cleopas, said on Saturday in a statement.

Mr Cleopas urged the state government to go ahead with the scheduled election.

He also asked security agencies in the state to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr Bertola’s resignation.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) is the main opposition party in the oil-rich state.

Meanwhile, the second term administration of Governor Dickson comes to end soon as a general election in Bayelsa is scheduled for November 16, about five months from now.

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