Bayelsa: INEC Has No Right To Cancel Elections, Sylva Says


The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the December 5 Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Election, Chief Timipre Sylva, has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanding that all results from the recent election be summed up and the winner declared.

The came following the decision of the electoral body to cancel the election at Southern Ijaw local government which was marred by violence.

“It is important to note that under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), there is no power either, express or implied that is vested on the Resident Electoral Commissioner, your commission or any staff whatsoever to cancel election that has commenced or concluded, in any manner as was done in Bayelsa State. The Commission’s power, in the above is limited only to the postponement of election that has not commenced,” Sylva said.

“The 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 Area citing violence and ballot snatching, and that another date for elections in Southern Ijaw would be announced.”

“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,” the former Bayelsa governor said.

“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.