Tension in Bayelsa over Assembly polls, Speaker escapes death | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Tension in Bayelsa over Assembly polls, Speaker escapes death

Posted: Apr 13, 2015 at 10:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•Deputy Speaker loses APC

By Igoniko Oduma / Correspondent, Yenagoa
Tension mounted in Bayelsa State on Sunday as electoral violence further marred Saturday’s state Houses of Assembly election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

Heavy shootings were said to have taken place at the collation centre in Oporoma, headquarters of Southern Ijaw on Sunday morning.

It was gathered that the shootings involved security operatives and some heavily armed political thugs of the contending political parties who participated in the election.

Electoral officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, party agents and reporters covering the election process in the area reportedly scampered for safety. Sources said the violence occurred while the results of the State House’s of Assembly election for Southern Ijaw Constituencies 2,3 and 4 were being collated on Sunday morning.

Election was not conducted in Southern Ijaw Constituency 1 as it had been rescheduled for April 18. Sensitive electoral materials were said to have been carted away and destroyed.

In the confusion that followed, some persons were said to have sustained varying degree of injuries. Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson,  who is seeking re-election on the platform of the PDP to represent Southern Ijaw  Constituency 4 for a third term, was said to have escaped death by the whiskers.

Among those who were injured were the Commissioner for Special Duties, Bayelsa Central, Williams Alamene, who was said to have jumped over the wall of the community civil centre venue of the collation.

Hours later, the skirmish was transferred from the coastal Southern Ijaw to the state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission on Swali Road,Yenagoa. At the INEC office, speaker of the State House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson, was seen limping.

Over 200 stern-looking security operatives including soldiers, mobile policemen and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the State Security Service took over the INEC building and its premises.

In an interview at the commission’s office, the state chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Tiwei Orunimighe, demanded the cancellation of election in Southern Ijaw 4, citing irregularities.