The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the inconclusive governorship election in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Monday rejected the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
The INEC canceled the election in Southern Ijaw, which is the largest LGA in Bayelsa, over acts of violence and rescheduled it for a yet-to-be disclosed date.
Addressing reporters in Yenagoa, the state capital, Sylva argued that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Baritor Kpagir, had no powers to cancel an election that had been concluded and which result was being awaited.
He said the APC would head for the court to challenge the decision, which he described as a rape of democracy, with the hope that the votes would be counted and awarded to the parties.
The governorship candidate, who was trailing behind in the results of the seven LGAs already announced, wondered why the REC chose to single out Southern Ijaw for cancellation, leaving other local governments, such as Nembe, Ekeremor, Sagbama, parts of Yenagoa and Ogbia where the APC had raised the alarm that the election was marred by violence
For instance, he said militants took over Ekeremor on the eve of the election, shooting repeatedly at the home of the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, but the election still went ahead and the results collated and announced because it favoured the Peoples Democratic Party.
He argued that had the APC carried the day in Ekeremor, the election would have been cancelled but because it favoured the PDP, the status quo was maintained.
“In Sagbama, there were no electoral materials. PDP thugs snatched the materials, wrote the results and it was accepted because it favoured the PDP.
“The same thing applied in some parts of Nembe, Yenagoa and Ogbia. We raised the alarm, reported the matter but our complaints were set aside because the PDP won. This whole election was set up for the PDP to win. I wonder why the APC was allowed to contest”, Sylva said.
The APC candidate accused the REC of working for the PDP and alleged that some financial inducement led to the decision of the REC and his team to cancel it.
He said: “The election of Southern Ijaw was held on the 6th. The results were coming on the 7th after the election had been concluded. The REC did not cancel it when it was being conducted”.
He added: “APC will not take this cancellation. The REC has no power to cancel an election that has taken place. It is only a returning officer that has power to cancel an election”.