On Monday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), through its returning officer for the election, Farouk Adamu, declared incumbent Governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the Bayelsa State governorship election held on 11 November.
Mr Diri secured a total of 175,196 votes to beat ex-governor Timipre Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who came second with 110,108 votes. None of the other 14 candidates polled up to 1,000 votes.
The total number of registered voters in the state was 1,056,862 but valid votes on election day was only 287,554. Total votes cast in the exercise was 291,212.
Bayelsa State has eight local government areas. These are Brass, Ekeremo, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Nembe, Ogbia, Sagbama, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa. Mr Diri won in six of them, except Brass and Nembe, which went to Mr Sylva.
The result of the poll extends PDP’s dominance in the state since 1999. Mr Diri’s victory in the 2019 election, however, came after the Supreme Court voided the return of David Lyon of the APC as the winner of the election, over inconsistencies in the credentials of Mr Lyon’s running mate.
PREMIUM TIMES analyses the most recent election results and voting patterns of the citizens.
Voter turnout was 28 per cent; no election had a lower participation rate in Bayelsa since 1999.
Only three out of every 10 people in the state who registered and collected voting cards cast their ballots, according to official figures from the electoral body, INEC.
Out of the 1,017,613 who collected their PVCs ahead of the election, the total number of actual voters on election day was only 291,212.
Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, with 36 per cent, recorded the highest percentage of voter turnout in the election. Kolokuma/Opokuma is the home local government area of Governor Diri.
Brass, the local government area of Mr Sylva had a 34 per cent voter turnout.
Ogbia, the home of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and Sagbama, the local government area of erstwhile Governor Seriake Dickson, both recorded 30 per cent voter turnout.
In the two largest local government areas based on voter registration – Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw – less than a third of the eligible population voted. Turnout was 24 per cent in Yenagoa while Southern Ijaw had 27 per cent. Yenagoa is also the state capital.
In Nembe, election participation was also 27 per cent and 23 per cent in Ekeremor.
LGAs with the highest number of votes
Although less than a third of the eligible population voted in Yenagoa, the local council cast the highest number of votes in the election, with over 52,000 total votes.
This was followed by Southern Ijaw where more than 43,000 people voted.
The total votes cast in Sagbama was a little above 42,000.
Only the three aforementioned LGAs recorded more than 40,000 votes in the 11 November elections.
The total votes in Ogbia were 35,468; Ekeremor, 32,020; Brass, 31,211, and Nembe, 27,300.
Official data shows that at the bottom of the list is Kolokuma/Opokuma with 24,059.
The just-concluded Bayelsa governorship election recorded 3,658 rejected votes. This figure constitutes 1.2 per cent of the total 291,212 votes cast in the election.
The rejected votes are different from cancelled votes.
Mr Adamu, the INEC returning officer, did not announce the number of cancelled votes in the election. “This result doesn’t provide the account of cancelled votes. We have records of all cancelled votes but it cannot appear on this results sheet,” the returning officer said in response to questions raised by an APC agent during the announcement. INEC is still yet to present the total number of cancelled votes.
Meanwhile, in the 2019 governorship election, 6,333 votes were rejected in the oil-rich state, according to INEC data. This also represents 1.2 per cent of the total 505,884 votes cast in the 2019 election.
Rejected votes in 2015 Bayelsa governorship election was 6,647, constituting 2.9 per cent of the total 232,167 ballots cast that year.
How citizens voted compared to last election
In 2019, the APC candidate, Mr Lyon, polled 352,552 votes to defeat Mr Diri, who scored 143,172 votes.
But in 2023, the PDP candidate got 175,196 votes to beat Mr Sylva of the APC who came second with 110,108 votes.
In 2019, it was the APC that won six out of eight local government areas. In 2023, the reverse was the case as the PDP won six local governments while APC only won two local government areas.
The APC won in Brass, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa in 2019. The PDP won in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama local government areas.
The fortunes of the two leading parties were dramatically reversed in the 2023 election as the APC won in only Brass and Nembe while the PDP won in Ekeremo, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma, and Sagbama local government areas.
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