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Bayelsa Guber: Soldiers Arrest LG Chairman for Leading Thugs to Disrupt Collation Exercise


The Chairman of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Ebinyo Turner, has been arrested by soldiers.

He was said to have been arrested while leading thugs to disrupt the collation exercise at his council hall.

The exercise is still underway at the time of filing this report at 11:28 am on Sunday.

Turner, a PDP leader, had protested the conduct of the collation exercise, saying officials were favouring the APC.

He asked INEC to evacuate the hall. But he was stopped from gaining entrance into the hall by police officers.

Later, the PDP agent in the hall said while INEC ad-hoc officials were just returning from various villages with original results, other officials and APC agents were collating fake results in the secretariat.

Following this reports from party agent’s allegation, Turner again asked INEC to stop the collation exercise and leave the secretariat.

Afterwards, he brought thugs to the centre. As the police were unable go stop him and his men, the election supervisor invited the soldiers to intervene.

“We need the intervention of the military now,” the INEC official was heard on phone.

Minutes afterwards, soldiers entered the secretariat and effected the arrest of Turner and dispersed the thugs he had brought with him.

“Drag him out,” a soldier was heard ordering his colleagues.

“He has been taken to Yenagoa,” said a police officer, who had initially tried to stop Turner.

APC is leading from the results collated so far in the council.

In Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area, some armed thugs were said to have held officials of the electoral commission hostage in one of the wards in the government area of state, thereby delaying final collation of results, an official and an election observer said.

As being done in all the eight LGAs in Bayelsa, it is expected that after voting and counting, the presiding officers will compile and take results to the LGA headquarters for final collation before it will be taken to INEC head office in Yenagoa, the state capital.

But in Kolokuma Opokuma as at Sunday noon, not all final results from the 11 wards in the LGA had reached the headquarters in Kaiama town.

It was learnt that results from 10 of the 11 wards had been submitted except that of Igbedi, a waterlogged community.

INEC officials in Igbedi had finished the electoral process and vote counting as at Saturday evening but were held hostage by thugs who want to manipulate the results, according to an INEC staff who refused to give his name saying he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

Eze Martins, a local election observer, also confirmed the development.

“They held the presiding officers and other INEC staff hostage in the community until this morning when the collation officer went there with armed soldiers to rescue them”, the INEC official said.

As at 12:05 p.m., it was learnt that the soldiers had effected the release of INEC officials and were on their way back to the LGA headquarters.

The results from the LGA will be announced as soon as the presiding officer from Igedi return with results from the ward, the INEC official said.

“The challenge has been resolved. They are on their way back,” he noted.

Observers, INEC staff and journalists were still waiting for results from Igbedi at the time of filing this report.

Though elections in Kolokuma Opokuma LGA were relatively peaceful at the beginning, pockets of violence erupted in some parts towards the end of the process.

Some INEC staff were manhandled as they were counting and compiling results. This made many of them to leave their polling units and return to the LGA headquarters for compilation on Saturday evening.

There were also reports of vote buying as a group of youth in Kaiama town were discussing how much they collected from the major parties.

“PDP gave us N5,000 but APC paid 4,000”, a female voter said Saturday evening.

Voting did not start early in many of the polling units in the 11 wards in the LGA, especially in areas ravaged by flood.

The flood occupying the only route to Sampou community, home of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Duoye Diri, prevented voters, INEC officials, observers, journalists and security operatives from getting to polling units on time.

At the end of counting Saturday afternoon, the PDP candidate polled 781 votes to defeat his closest rival, Lyon, who had 3 votes at the polling unit.

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