Bayelsa: Voters Get N12,000 – N40,000 In Massive Vote-Buying

During the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa on Saturday, voters reported engaging in massive vote-buying, receiving amounts ranging from N12,000 to N40,000. 
The PDP’s Governor Duoye Diri and his main opponent, Timipre Sylva of the APC, exchanged accusations regarding violence.
 Meanwhile, the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Udengs Eradiri, expressed astonishment at the widespread vote-buying.
Eradiri, who voted in Agudama-Ekpetiama, revealed that voters approached him for negotiation, but he declined, emphasizing his commitment to a better Bayelsa State.
“My greatest disappointment was with a woman from this community whom I offered a scholarship to her son, she sold her vote for N14,000 and I was disappointed,” he said.
Speaking after voting, Sylva accused security agents, especially the army of conniving with the PDP to rig his party out.
Sylva, who voted at Polling Unit 4, Dukuraku Central Open Space, Okpoama, Ward 4, Brass Local Government, alongside his wife, Alaingi, however expressed confidence that his party will coast to victory at the end of the day.
“For INEC, there is a lot of improvement, this is a human system, we expect there will be lapses but I was very shocked how that register was not uploaded in my ward, but we believe there is still room for improvement,” he said.
Also, Governor Diri accused Sylva and his party of aiding the attack on PDP members in Nembe-Basambiri, Nembe LGA of the state.
Diri, who voted at Kalama-owei Wari Unit 4 Ward 6 Sampou in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, commended the INEC for improving their facilities and training of personnel.
He said: “I think this is an improvement on all other elections that we have participated in, and it’s very seamless, very fast and if it continues like this, then I want to believe that INEC is improving not only on their facilities but the training of their personnel that are handling the process.
“But we have concerns about Nembe-Basambiri, our party members, most of them have been excluded, our agents have been stopped from going into Nembe, that is a very serious concern. Our party has written to INEC and they have to take drastic action to ensure our people are allowed to vote.”
Earlier, suspected armed thugs had gone on rampage in some parts of the state.
The thugs, who invaded polling units in Southern Ijaw and Sagbama local Government Areas, with heavy gun shots, had hijacked elections materials.
The incident, which happened at about 9am at Agorogbene, unit 6, 7 and 8 in Ward 11 of the Local Government, had the thugs from Southern Ijaw chase away voters and destroy election materials.
Attempts by the electorate to challenge the armed men were replied with heavy gun shots.
Also, around 9am, the armed thugs stormed the RAC centre and carted away election materials for five out of the seven units.
At Olodiama ward 9 in Unit 14 of Southern Ijaw Local Government area, gunmen stormed the unit but were repelled after an emergency call to security men.
Sporadic gunshots were also reported around the Abuja/Imbikiri area of Brass ward 2 and at about 3.30am on Saturday, gunmen suspected to be political thugs attacked the RAC centre in Oginibiri in Brass Ward 8, but they were resisted.
Ballot Box Snatcher Gunned Down In Kogi East
In Kogi East Senatorial District, one Umoru Iduh in Anyigba, Dekina LGA, who was accused of snatching a ballot box, was gunned down.
The incident happened in a polling unit at Agala-Ogane.
It was not immediately clear whether the political thug was gunned down by the security agents or miscreants.
The election was also marred by vote-buying in some polling units in Lokoja metropolis, Kabba/Bunu and Ijumu in West Senatorial District and at Anyigba, Elubi, Abocho, Ajiolo ojaji, Ejule, Aloma and Idah in East senatorial district. Some areas in the Central Senatorial District were said to have been affected by the same ugly trend.
Jonathan Wants Off-cycle Elections Cancelled 
Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the National Assembly to enact a law that would end off-cycle elections in Nigeria.
Jonathan, who voted at Otuoke unit 39, ward 13, Ogbia Local Government Area, said he was worried about the off-cycle elections in the country.
He explained that if the country continues with the off-cycle election as contained in the Nigerian constitution, a time may come when even the presidential election would be off-season.
He said that off-cycle elections are not the global best practices in democracy.
Ada Peter
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