Bayelsa Election: Violence, Card-Reader Jam, Others Mar Poll

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
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From Kingsley Odeh, Yenagoa
Bayelsa Election: Violence, Card-Reader Jam, Others Mar Poll
From Kingsley Odeh, Yenagoa
Violence, inducement of voters, apathy in parts of the state and card readers malfunction characterised the Bayelsa Governorship Election held in the state on Saturday.
Following this development. Election in Southern Ijaw was postponed till Sunday.
In Southern Ijaw, although four persons were reportedly killed, an indigene of the area said that those confirmed dead were more.
Gunmen reportedly invaded the riverside community in the early hours of the day ostensibly to hijack election materials. Three of the invaders were reportedly killed as security forces battled to restore normalcy while the fourth victim was said to have been felled by stray bullets.
Elsewhere in the riverine Nembe and Brass local councils, the election day eve witnessed shootings and disruption of the peace, which prompted reinforcement of security personnel in the area.
Although normalcy returned to Nembe on election day, the tension and security uncertainty caused voters to remain indoors, resulting in voter apathy.
It was gathered that the spate of shootings forced many of the residents indoor for fear of being caught in the cross fire just as election materials, according to a source, could not leave the highly tensed area.
“Several shots were fired to scare the people and this paved the way for the carting away of election materials but security operatives attached to the area were up to the task,” said an eye witness.
According to the eye witness, no fewer than 45 suspects were arrested by security operatives.
However, the election was generally peaceful in Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, and parts of Sagbama local government areas.
A community leader in Sagbegeria in Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ongore Joshua, who decried the low turnout of voters, described the situation as “unfortunate.”
In parts of Yenagoa,Ogbia and Kolokuma/Opokuma local councils, accreditation started around 8:30am, although there were complaints of failure of card readers in Kolokuma/Opokuma Units 6 and 7 of Ward 10.
As was recorded in the General Elections earlier in the year, former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Patience and members of their entourage faced card reader glitches Otazi Playground Polling Unit 039, Ward 13, Otuoke, in Ogbia local council.
Consequently, Jonathan said: “In the last presidential election, myself and my wife’s PVCs were rejected by the card reader. Today, because they changed mine and that of my wife, it was successful. Five people came with me including a former commissioner known to me in the state. The card reader rejected three others. They could not have been carrying clone cards.”
Hours before the commencement of accreditation of voters, the country home of the Minister of State for Agriculture and Director-General of the Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organization, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, was attacked by gunmen.
The gunmen reportedly stormed the house in the early hours of the day but were repelled by security operatives.

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