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Apathy, Low Turnout Mar Bayelsa LG Polls

Posted by Samuel on Sat 06th Apr, 2024 -

In Yenagoa the state capital, Ogbia, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Sagbama, and Ekeremor Local Government, the exercise was peaceful though many residents and voters shunned the exercise.

Bayelsa LG Polls

The Bayelsa State local government elections held on Saturday were marked by delays in the arrival of materials and low voter turnout in the polling units visited.

In Yenagoa the state capital, Ogbia, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Sagbama, and Ekeremor Local Government, the exercise was peaceful though many residents and voters shunned the exercise.

Some residents who spoke to our correspondents, claimed they were not aware of the elections, just as some residents took advantage of the partial restrictions of movement to go ahead with their normal routine businesses.

Speaking shortly after casting his vote alongside his wife, Dr Gloria, at his Kalamaowei Wari unit 4 ward 6 in Sampou Community, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, Governor Douye Diri expressed satisfaction with the exercise, describing it as generally peaceful.

He said: “You can see that the exercise is peaceful here and it was seamless and the voting process is seamless and I think this is the way it is in every other units and wards and we expect a peaceful and successful local government elections will usher in a new leadership in the local government.

“Eventually, people will come out because they know that the local government chairmanship and councillorship are the closest to the people and I also remember that during our own party nomination processes, the level of interest that it generated across the whole state. Clearly people are aware that today is local government elections in Bayelsa State.

“During the build up to this election, the PDP went round campaigning across all wards and local government areas, we have candidates in the eight local government areas and 105 Wards and so by the grace of God I am sure that at the end of the day we have the support of the people judging by the outcome of the 2023 elections.”

Also speaking after casting his vote at Ofoni Primary School, the State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewrudjakpo, while expressing the confidence that the Peoples Democractic Party, PDP, will sweep the polls, however, pointed out that the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission, BYSIEC, must improve on late arrival of materials.

He said: “You can see, the community has just gathered, the materials have just arrived. The only criticism is that the materials are arriving a little bit late and that is the only criticism I have for BYSIEC as far as these issues are concerned. I believe they will learn their ropes. It is a gradual process, it is a new curves they are going into and I believe they will improve on it.

“But for sure, you know that Ofoni is PDP and the whole of Sagbama is PDP. You are also aware that in the last governorship election, it is only in Sagbama that APC did not get up to 25 per cent. So we don’t expect anything different from that. The voting will be going on, I just casted my vote, the process is going on fairly, squarely and transparently.

“The turnout will be massive, the materials have just arrived. It is a local election and politics is more local. Emotions and sentiment are high than the governorship election. Let them come out enmass and support their councilors and the chairmanship candidate.

“PDP is winning all the eight seats and we are sure of winning at least hundred and three councilorship votes. We may give one or two to other parties depending on what the strength of the other people are. But in Ofoni, it is a no go area for other party.

“Local government should not be a pay point, it must not be a POS, it is not a point of payment of service. Local governments are supposed to be the first unit of development and that is what we are doing now. Even our RDA which are functioning, you are aware they are awarding contract because we want them to be very effective.

“They are very closer to the people and they understand the developmental challenges of the people which they will address and then we will address at a higher level. This is very important to us and that is why we are doing everything possible, turning every stone to make sure that elections hold today.”

The exercise was also peaceful in Yenagoa, the state capital where voters were sighted casting their votes.

It was also gathered that the All Progressives Congress, APC, boycotted the exercise exercise while seventeen political parties including the Labour Party,LP, took part in the exercise.

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