NIGERIA’S Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) has declared David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the duly elected governor of Bayelsa State following the gubernatorial polls which took place over the weekend.
On Saturday, Bayelsans went to the polls to elect a governor in what was a two horse race between Mr Lyon and Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In a rather bizarre election, the whole of the PDP apparatus in the state campaigned for the APC candidate as they were unhappy with the way outgoing Governor Seriake Dickson imposed his cousin Mr Diri on the party.
PDP stalwarts in Bayelsa, including former president Dr Goodluck Jonathan, found Mr Diri unacceptable as a candidate and decided to teach Governor Dickson a lesson. As a result, for the first time since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, Bayelsa has produced an APC governor.
Professor Faraday Orunmuwese, the vice chancellor of the University of Benin and Inec’s returning officer for the elections, announced the official results this morning, declaring Mr Lyon duly elected. According to Inec, Mr Lyon polled a total of 352,552 votes to defeat Mr Diri, who scored 143,172 votes.
However, the election was characterised with reports of violence and ballot snatching in some areas while some wards were merged together as a result of flooding. Despite this, the collation of results of the election across the eight local government areas of the state began on Sunday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of today.
Of the first six local government areas whose results were collated, Mr Lyon dominated the election with a difference of over 80,000 votes and extended the lead by an additional 100,000 votes after the results of the remaining two local governments were collated. He won in a total of six local government areas while his PDP rival claimed the remaining two.
Mr Lyon won in Brass, Ekeremor, Nembe, Ogbia, Southern Ijaw, and Yenagoa local government areas, while Mr Diri won in Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama. Declaring the APC candidate as the winner, Professor Orunmuwese explained that a total of 505,884 votes were cast, out of which 499,551 were counted as valid votes.