Despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) having declared the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa state inconclusive, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the election, Timipre Sylva, has asked the INEC to add up and announce the results from the Southern Ijaw local government area and declare a winner in the election.
Sylva said this in a petition to the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, in which he stated that the commission lacked the powers to cancel an already concluded or on-going election.
Timipre Sylva added that there is no provision under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), for the resident electoral commissioner, the commission or any staff whatsoever to cancel election an that has commenced or concluded, in any manner as was done in Bayelsa state.
“Should the commission feel strongly that it has the powers to cancel already concluded or on-going elections, it should also cancel the elections in Ekeremor, Sagbama Local Government Areas, Wards 4 and 5 of Yenagoa and Ward 8,9 and 10 of Nembe Local Government Areas.”
He insisted that on December 6 election materials were distributed from Local Government Headquarters at Oporoma to the different ward headquarters, and elections conducted in a free and fair manner at the different polling units and results announced.
“That elections were concluded on Sunday 6th December without any reported violence from the polling units or wards either by INEC officials on the field at the units or ward level.”
“That the different results from the LGAs were being collated at the state collation centre in Yenagoa from Sunday 6th to 7th December as the results were brought in by the different LGAs, and the Returning officer never reported any violence either during the election or while collation was ongoing as he had told everyone that the results of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area are still being awaited.”
“That at about 4pm or 5pm, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Bayelsa State announced the cancellation of the results of the election of Southern Ijaw Local Government Government Area citing violence and ballot snatching, and that another date for elections in Southern Ijaw would be announced.”
Sylva further stressed that the current statutes do not support the cancellation of an election while collation was on-going:
“We consider the action of cancelling results of an election while collation is on-going as a dangerous precedent, usurping of the functions of the Tribunals established by the Constitution illegal and reminiscent of the annulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and if allowed stand will not only expose your Commission to endless and avoidable litigations and would become a ready tool in the hands of officials of your Commission the power to truncate the will of the people,” he maintained.
“Consequent upon the above facts, we are calling on you to direct the Returning Officer to add up the results from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, and declare a winner for the Bayelsa State Governorship elections held between the 5th and 6th of December 2015.”
“However, without prejudice to our assertion in paragraphs 16 and 17 above, where your Commission feels strongly that it has powers to cancel already concluded or on-going elections, it is demanded that, in the interest of equity, fair-play and justice, your commission cancels the elections in Ekeremor, Sagbama Local Government Areas, ward 4 and 5 of Yenagoa and wards 8,9 and 10 of Nembe Local Government Areas,” Sylva concluded.
Meanwhile, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state has set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the violence and a breach of peace that occurred before and after the governorship election between December 3 and 6 in the state.