The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s off-cycle governorship election in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, lamented the non-uploading of the voter registers from three units of his ward in Okpoama, Brass LGA of the state.
Sylva, who stated this while fielding questions from reporters shortly after casting his vote in his polling unit 4, ward 4, mentioned the affected units as 3, 5, and 9, blaming INEC for the problem, which he described as “a careless mistake”.
He said his camp had reported the problem to the national leadership of INEC, and the commission promised to resolve it and extend the voting time in the affected polling units.
Sylva, however, commended the electoral umpire for improving the conduct of polls, adding that there was room for improvement.
He said, “I’m very confident that things are going to go well for the APC at the end of the day, definitely. But, we have some issues in the ward; Unit 3, Unit 5, and Unit 9 had issues. I think the registers were not uploaded. So we escalated it to INEC, and they accepted that it was a careless mistake on their part.
“I don’t know why units in my ward were not uploaded. But I think the problem is being rectified and they’ve promised that in those particular units, they will extend the voting time because a lot of people would have been disenfranchised if that was not rectified. But we’ve been able to escalate it to Abuja.”
The APC governorship hopeful also alleged violence and ballot snatching by supporters of the PDP in parts of the state, with some army personnel reportedly aiding and abetting the incident.
Sylva further said, “But so far in my unit, things are going on very well, but around the state, we also are following; there is a lot of violence. I mean, the PDP is doing quite a bit there, trying to molest our voters with security. In fact, in some cases, it is believed by our people that we are running for election, not against PDP but against security. But we are containing the situation, and I’m sure that at the end of the day, we will come out victorious.
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“I have been told that in Yenagoa, there has been a lot of violence. In fact, this morning, I woke up with a story of one of my APC members being shot. By afternoon, we had situations where the army, especially in Bayelsa State, had taken over some areas. In fact, in Biseni (Yenagoa LGA), I have just spoken to them. They said it’s the army that is out there with the PDP to snatch ballot boxes.
“I don’t know the extent of what is going on, but frankly speaking, the security in Bayelsa must be called to order. They are really on the side of the PDP, unfortunately, especially the army, and we are expecting that at the end of the day, our people will be able to contain them.
“For INEC, I will say there has been a lot of improvement, I must say. This is not a fool-proof system. It’s a human system, so you expect that there will be lapses.
“But I was very shocked that the careless mistake only happened in my ward particularly, and the targeted units were very big units that have large numbers of voters. We would have had over 4,000 voters disenfranchised if this problem was not rectified. And you begin to wonder, how did it happen that it was only in my ward? But INEC, overall, is making a lot of improvement. We believe that there is still room for improvement.”