Dickson beats Sylva, re-elected Bayelsa governor

Governor Seriake Dickson
Governor Seriake Dickson

The Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was yesterday elected for second term after he was declared ‎the winner of the state governorship election with a total of 134,998 votes.

He defeated his closest rival, Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressive Congress (APC), who scored 86,852 votes.

The chief returning officer and vice chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zane Akpagu, declared that Governor Seriake Dickson of the PDP, having satisfied the requirement needed and scored highest number of votes is the winner of the election.

The outcome of the election, which was accepted by state agents of five political parties, was rejected by the APC state agent, Barr. Dennis Otiotio, who described the whole process as a sham.

Otiotio criticised the chief returning officer (CRO) of INEC, Professor Zane Akpagu, for deciding to shun the various objections and petitions against the alleged unlawful decision by the various local government returning officers to cancel elections in areas perceived to the under the control of the APC.

He said: “Everywhere APC won, the collation officer was looking for a flimsy excuse to cancel it. The process must be free, fair and the procedure must be seen to be so. We submitted petitions but the electoral officers refused to collate them‎.”

Otiotio, who also tried to draw the attention of the CRO to the perceived refusal of the Commission to take into account the total number of cancelled votes and the difference of the votes between Governor Seriake Dickson and Chief Timipre Sylva, was simply turned down with the announcement that the Final Result Sheet did not make provision for a column on cancelled votes.

Some APC supporters claimed that though the final result showed that Governor Dickson won with 134,998 votes as against 86,852 votes scored by Chief Timipre Sylva of the APC, the winning difference of 48,146 votes when matched against the total number of cancelled votes (53,959) called into question the validity of the poll.

Our victory was painful — PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated the people of Bayelsa State for their support for its candidate, Governor Seriake Dickson, which led to his victory at the just-concluded governorship election in the state.

The PDP, however, said the victory was painful because of the number of those killed during the electoral contest.

“It’s painful that this victory has come with so much pain because we lost dear ones. Those who died are our brothers. So many are yet in the hospitals nursing life threatening injuries because our opponents wanted to win at all cost. We wish to express our deepest condolences once again and to assure them that their death will not be in vain,” it stated.

The party’s position was contained in a statement by its director of publicity, Restoration Campaign Organisation, Jonathan Obuebite, shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner.

The PDP thanked the people for renewing Dickson’s mandate for another four-years, attributing it to the “resilience and uncommon courage” of the people.

Obuebite stated, in particular, that the victory was important because it came the way of the PDP even in the face of intimidation, tyranny, threats and violent attacks; he, however, observed that “despite the challenges, democracy won.”

He said, “We want to use this opportunity to sincerely thank all Bayelsans for their doggedness and patriotism because even in the face of such terrible intimidation and violence, out of their own volition, they came out to re-elect and return the countryman governor to office for the next four years. We are grateful for your remarkable decision as expected in a democracy.

“The people have spoken and we are indeed grateful. It’s your victory, you the good people of Bayelsa State. Without doubt, a new dawn is here. Bayelsans, through their uncommon courage have defeated tyranny and oppression by voting for the continuation of the restoration of our dignity and pride as amply demonstrated through their votes.”

He said never again will Bayelsa State harbour criminals and rogue elements as contestants for power.

“Going forward, the Bayelsa political space will only be for those who have the intellectual rigour to trade their fine ideas in exchange for votes, not bullets. Our society must groom new set of leaders who will only access power through their superior ideas to regenerate society rather than through the barrel of the gun”, he stated.

Obuebite condemned the sheer scale of violence and mayhem that characterized the 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State, saying it will go down in history as one with the highest record of casualties.

While calling for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the reported killings, the PDP condoled with the families of those who lost their loved ones.

No celebration because of lives lost —Dickson

The Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, has thanked the electorate for their gallantry in ensuring his re-election for another four years, but said there would be no celebration because of the number of persons killed in the process.

The governor, in an emotion-laden statement signed by his chief press secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, released to journalists yesterday in Yenagoa, however, vowed that he would do everything possible to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

He promised to work tirelessly to justify the mandate given to him “as we tried to do in the first four years to almost universal acknowledgement and approbation.”

While extending a hand of fellowship his political opponents, Dickson said since election had been won and lost, the needs of Bayelsans, the challenge of improving their material condition, was even more urgent. (Leadership)

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