Hundreds of aggrieved supporters of the All Progressives Congress on Wednesday threw Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, into pandemonium as they protested the cancellation of the result of the state governorship election from the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state. The protesters, comprising youths, women and persons with disabilities, gathered at the party secretariat in Yenagoa, from where they marched to the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission on Swali Road.
As the angry protesters trekked about four kilometres to the INEC headquarters in the state, the entire Yenagoa metropolis had a full dose of gridlock, which virtually locked down the metropolis. Onlookers and residents joined them in the demonstration as the protesters, who were under the cover of riot policemen, sang solidarity and war songs as they made their way through Yenagoa-Mbiama Road, via Imgbi road, en route the INEC office.
When they got to the INEC office, they were however prevented from entering into the premises by scores of security operatives that mounted guard at the entrance of the electoral agency. The protesters were asked to maintain peace and order and wait outside the premises before they could be attended to by INEC officials. The protesters were unanimous in their request:
“INEC, give us our votes in Southern Ijaw and declare our leader and candidate of the APC, Chief Timipre Sylva, the governor-elect.”
They accused the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Baritor Kpagih, of fraud, saying he subverted the collective will of the electorate. They said the REC cancelled the Southern Ijaw election, which results had already been collated, but waiting for announcement as Sylva won in SILGA by a landslide. They vowed that hell would be let loose if INEC failed to announce the poll results as they were and return Sylva as the governor-elect of Bayelsa.
The protesters said INEC must declare the Southern Ijaw results or also cancel the results of Ekeremor, Sagbama and Yenagoa, which they claimed were marred by violence and irregularities. The protesters further demanded the sacking of the REC, alleging that he was a bad influence and an election rigger.