The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The Returning Officer, Prof. Kuta Farouk, announced that Diri polled 175,196 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 110,108 votes.
The candidate of Labour Party (LP), Engr. Udengs Eradiri, came a distant third with 905 votes.
But at least seven political parties that participated in the election have rejected the declaration of Diri as the winner, citing irregularities and cancellation of votes by INEC where opposition political parties in the state won during the poll.
The Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Allen Domotimi Nathan; his New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) counterpart, Joel Tubornimi; that of National Rescue Movement (NRP), Engr. William Parker; Labour Party State Agent, Charles Oyibo and other chairmen of the party, told newsmen at a press conference, that there were massive cancellations in the area where opposition political parties won to give the ruling PDP an edge.
They said: “The number of cancelled votes is more than the margin used in declaring Douye Diri winner; we will challenge the result in court.”
Diri’s supporters defy rain, take to streets in celebration
Shortly after the declaration of Diri as winner, supporters of the PDP defied heavy rain in Yenagoa, the state capital, as they trooped into the streets singing, dancing and waving the party’s flag in a carnival-like celebration.
Reacting to his victory, Diri urged his party faithful and well-meaning Bayelsans to celebrate with temperance, saying the victory was for the entire state, and that even those who voted for other parties enriched the democratic culture.
He assured the people of the state that he would continue to operate an all-inclusive government, insisting that he would be governor for all irrespective of the political divide while serving with dedication, integrity and transparency.
He thanked President Bola Tinubu for creating the enabling environment for free, fair and credible polls in the state as well as security agencies and INEC for their display of professionalism during the election.
While noting that the electoral process was not without challenges, he extended his condolences to those who suffered brutal attacks and families who lost loved ones during the poll.
Party agents clash at collation centre
Earlier, in the build-up to the announcement of the results from Southern Ijaw, the last local government where the result was awaited, there was tension in the state as well as around INEC office, as party supporters laid siege.
Also, there was commotion at the collation centre after the declaration of Brass LGA result, as party agents exchanged blows.
After the announcement of results, however, party agents, including those of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Barr Dennis Otiotio and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Talford Ongolo, disagreed on the reported occurrence of violence in the local government. It took the intervention of security officials to calm the situation.