Vote-Buying: LP candidate rejects Bayelsa election results, alleges intimidation

The Labour Party governorship candidate in the just-concluded Bayelsa State governorship election, Udengs Eradiri, has rejected the electoral process and the outcome in which Governor Douye Diri was reelected.

Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party polled a total of 175,196 votes to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who got 110,108 votes while Eradiri came third with 905 votes.

Addressing a press conference at his campaign secretariat in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Eradiri said the November 11, 2023 contest was held against the cardinal principles and laid-down procedures that democratic elections into offices, especially that of the governor of a state, must be free, fair, credible and peaceful.

He said he and his team were “studying the results and brainstorming on the next line of action.”

He claimed that the election was characterised by massive vote-buying as the state government allegedly “converted all polling units to market squares and business centres where votes were auctioned, haggled over, bargained for and purchased.”

The LP candidate said, “I consider vote-buying a crime against humanity. I cannot engage in vote-buying because it is a demonstration of lack of performance, incompetence, leadership failure and cluelessness on the part of the buyer. How can people bribe people to serve them?”

He pointed out that the process adopted at the polling units encouraged the buying and selling of votes, a situation that made it difficult for voters to collect their money and still vote their conscience.

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The LP flagbearer further said, “Officials of INEC and security agencies at the polling units were all compromised to look the other way. They were all bought over to do the bidding of the government and its party, the PDP.

“I wonder why INEC cannot enforce its rules to ensure credible elections in the country. There was intimidation and harassment of voters, violence, and bypass of BVAS among other irregularities, which have vitiated whatever results they announced at the collation centre.

“I call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to probe all electoral officers that participated in the election. Most of them are the reasons for the rampant voter inducement in our country’s election. The commission should investigate the massive monetary inducements that occurred in the Bayelsa election.”

He said he contested the polls to prove a point that the leadership incompetence in Bayelsa could be challenged, and to solve the problems of lack of potable water, dearth of infrastructures, ravaging poverty and rot in the educational sector, among other social challenges affecting the people.

“I want to assure our people that I won’t give up. I will continue to challenge this system until Bayelsa is rescued from poverty, underdevelopment, darkness and other leadership ills,” he added.

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