Dickson Defeats Sylva, Secures Second Term

*I won’t celebrate my victory, says gov

*Factors responsible for APC defeat

At last, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, yesterday secured his second term in office. In the final results announced by the Returning Officer, Prof. Zana Chudi Akpogu, Dickson, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), polled a total of 134,998 votes to defeat his closest challenger, former Governor Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Sylva polled a total of 86,852 votes. The final local government that was announced was the controversial Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, where Dickson polled 23,081 votes against Sylva’s 10, 216. Other results that came from other parts of the state included Yenagoa, where Dickson scored 839 votes; Brass (5), Ogbia (1290), Sagbama (180) and 1160 votes in Nembe. Sylva on the other hand polled 448 votes in Yenagoa, 1679 in Brass, 139 in Ogbia, 119 in Sagbama and 1400 in Nembe.

Dickson’s victory yesterday concluded the Bayelsa election, which was ini-tially held on December 5, but was rescheduled to January 9, after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared it inconclusive. Declaring the governor as the winner of the election, Akpagu said Dickson satisfied the constitutional requirements to be returned as governor. Before the declaration of final results and return of the governor, a mild drama ensued as the agent of the APC, Barrister Dennis Otiotio, went to the collation table where the INEC officials were seated to insist that they announce the total number of cancelled votes for him to compare with the difference between Dickson and Sylva’s votes.

But as Akpagu declined, Otiotio declined to sign the final results. Giving reasons for his action, the APC agent alleged that the total number of cancelled votes outnumbered the total votes that formed the difference in the winning votes between the first two candidates. ”The entire process from the beginning was flawed and all our complaints to INEC fell on deaf ears.

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From all indications, INEC was working from the answer to the question because declaring someone as winner in the first place is an abuse of the process and a disregard for Section 26 of the Electoral Act, which stipulates that where the difference between the winner and closest rival is lower than the total cancelled votes, there must be a repeat, but the returning officer ignored this and went ahead,” Otiotio alleged. Regardless, Director General of the Dickson Campaign Organisation and the PDP agent, Hon. Fred Agbedi, urged the APC to go to the tribunal to challenge the result.

“Whether this is true or not is not for the APC to argue here. Let them go the tribunal and contest it,” Agbedi said. But Sylva was yet to react to the outcome of the election as his Director of Publicity, Nathan Egba said the campaign organisation would issue a formal statement today.

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The governorship election originally scheduled for December 5, 2015 had been marred by violence, accusations and counter accusations that led to the cancellation of the exercise in Southern Ijaw local and other units as well as wards spread across the state. No fewer than 20 people died in the course of the election.