In the aftermath of the Bayelsa State governorship election held on November 11, 2023, the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Timipre Sylva, and the Labour Party, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, have vehemently rejected the processes and results that declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Douye Diri, as the winner.
Barr. Dennis Otiotio, the APC state chairman and party agent, addressing the media after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcement on Monday, expressed the party’s refusal to accept the results. Otiotio highlighted that over 84,000 votes attributed to the APC in Nembe and Southern Ijaw were annulled. He claimed that the cancellation of these votes tilted the election outcome in favor of the PDP, asserting that the collaboration between INEC and the PDP to cancel their results was unprecedented.
Otiotio stated, “The electoral act allows INEC to review the results within seven days, and so we have written the necessary petitions which we have submitted, and we are believing that INEC in good conscience will look at our petition and deal with it justifiably.”
Similarly, Engr. Udengs Eradiri of the Labour Party condemned the election, citing violations of democratic principles. He accused the state government of converting polling units into markets where votes were allegedly bought and sold. Eradiri asserted that the government deployed vast amounts of state resources for vote-buying, creating an atmosphere of intimidation and compromising the electoral process.
Eradiri labeled the widespread vote-buying as a crime against humanity and criticized the alleged compromise of INEC and security officials at polling units. He called for an investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) into the conduct of electoral officers and the monetary inducements during the election.
The rejection of election results and the call for investigations underscore the contentious nature of the Bayelsa State governorship election, raising concerns about the adherence to democratic principles and the integrity of the electoral process.