BAYELA, Nigeria – Political stakeholders in Bayelsa State have started mounting pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the October 31 bye-election due to the ravaging flood in the state.
OgeneAfrican had reported earlier that the forthcoming election into the vacant positions of the Bayelsa West and Central senatorial seats at the National Assembly.
According to the political stakeholders from the Bayelsa West and Central areas of the state, the areas mostly affected by the flood are situated in Sagbama, Ekeremor, Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of the state which are under the electoral units involved in the anticipated bye-election.
But, the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have remained silent over the rising issue of postponement of the October 31 due to flood.
OgeneAfrican learnt yesterday that though the INEC through its Bayelsa Head of Voters Education and Publicity, Wilfred Ifogah, insisted that they are ready to conduct the senatorial bye-election despite the pressure being mounted on the commission for postponement.
He also insisted that 95 per cent of the Poling Units (PU) in the local government participating in the October 31 poll are 1,206 with a voters strength of 1,270 in the districts.
Ifogah also stated that though the complaints have been noted and the peculiar nature of Bayelsa terrain is being considered, ”the state faced a similar challenge during the build-up to the 2019 Governorship election in the state.”
But a group, known as Bayelsa for Good Governance and Quality Leadership led by Comrade Collins Victor, faulted the position of INEC and insisted that the commission should take a critical look at the effects of the flood on the voting areas in the bye-election and postpone the poll,”except the INEC has an ulterior motive, the voting units have been sacked by flood and the anticipated electorates have moved out”.
“A National Officer of INEC should take an aerial view of the voting areas of Ekeremor, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Yenagoa and Southern Ijaw, you will see a voting area under the waters. The people of such areas have vacated the communities and find solace in some parts of the state capital. How would INEC conduct a free, fair and credible election?”
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, after a tour of flooded areas of the state in Amassoma, Agudama-Ekpetiama, Igbogene, Alamieyeseigha road, Opolo, Azikoro village, Agbura, and Otuokpoti, ordered that schools should be closed to avoid deaths due to the ravaging flood.