2023 Election Headline News Politics

#NigeriaDecides2023: Voters protest in Bayelsa

Some eligible voters in Yenagoa stormed the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Bayelsa State on Saturday to protest non-voting in some parts of the State capital.

Voting could not hold in Wards 4, 6 and 8 in Yenagoa due to shortage in the ballot papers for the Yenagoa/Kolokuma-Opokuma Federal Constituency Election into the House of Representatives.

Some voters had claimed that 48,500 ballot papers were missing, sparking protests in Agudama Community that there would be no election until they are produced.

The Supervising Presiding officer, Austin Akekere had confirmed that only 1,500 ballot materials were received.

The absence of election in the three wards resulted in protests at the INEC Bayelsa headquarters located in the Swali axis of the State capital as voters chanted “We Must Vote”

This resulted in shooting and tension at the INEC Headquarters when the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr. Alex Hart arrived the scene, and tried to address the crowd, as security operatives fired warning shots into the sky to disperse the crowd.

The protesters alleged that, they were not given the right to vote, as there are no visible INEC staff at Imgbi, Azikoro, Kpansia, Okaka down to Opolo.

The REC alongside the Commissioner of Police, Ari Mohammed Ali later addressed the protesters.

In an interview with Radio Nigeria, the Head of Voter Education and Publicity, INEC Bayelsa, Mr. Wilfred Ifogah said the election in the affected areas would go on later in the day.

In areas such as Brass and Southern Ijaw election material and INEC Adhoc Staff arrived late in the Local Government Areas, hence accreditation and voting commenced late in the afternoon in most polling units.

Reporting by Alambo Datonye; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu