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Bayelsa Supplementary Poll Records Impressive Voter Turnout

…Voters, observers commend card reader performance
… Soldiers arrest ballot box-snatching suspects
Saturday’s governorship supplementary election in Bayelsa recorded impressive turnout of voters in most units in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area where the exercise is being conducted.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that as early as 7.45 a.m., voters had queued in polling units in some of the wards, waiting for accreditation and voting to begin at 8 a.m. as directed by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
With adequate presence of security personnel and electoral officials, the exercise began peacefully at all the polling units in Anyama Primary School, Anyama-Ijaw, Ward 2, at 9.30 a.m.
The exercise was also smooth in other units in the ward, with the card reader functioning well.
Delay in distribution of materials within Ward 4 caused the exercise to commence at about 10 a.m. in the area.
At Peremabiri, where polling was being conducted at the Town Hall, the card reader was also functioning, with the voters taking their turns in accreditation and balloting.
However, the exercise was yet to commence at Odenwari community, Ward 3, at 10.15 a.m. as materials were still awaited in spite of large presence of voters as well as security personnel.
Voters and observers participating in Saturday’s supplementary governorship election in Bayelsa have commended the performance of card readers deployed for the exercise.
The supplementary poll is being conducted in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and in 101 units in other parts of the state where the Dec. 5, 2015 election was cancelled due to widespread violence.
The voters, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in some of the polling stations, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for correcting the lapses which the card reader recorded in the December exercise.
Mr James Dou, a domestic election observer told NAN in Anyama-Ijaw that the card readers deployed to the area performed effectively.
“The card readers are performing well and we have no problems with it; INEC did well and corrected the problems noticed during the cancelled polls, last year,’’ Dou said.
At Peremabiri community, a voter, Timi Pokumo, said that he was impressed with the performance of the device.
According to him, in Koulama 1 and Koulama 2, and Okolobama, the card readers were working well and were used for authenticating Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and for accreditation.
NAN, however, reports that voting and accreditation, which commenced simultaneously in polling stations in Southern Ijaw, did not take-off in some due to late arrival of election materials.
Particularly affected in the delay were Koluama 1, Koluama 2 as well as Peremabiri units where the exercise started by 12 Noon.
In all the units and wards in the local government area, turn of voters was impressive and conduct of the exercise was peaceful.
Two persons suspected to be agents of one of the political parties involved in Saturday’s supplementary governorship election in Bayelsa have been arrested for allegedly snatching a ballot box.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the suspects were arrested by soldiers at Otuokpoti Unit 1, Ward 2, Ogbia Local Government Area, where the box was allegedly snatched.
The suspects were said to have forcefully carried the ballot box while polling was ongoing at the unit.
The incident caused pandemonium at the unit but after the suspects were taken away, accreditation and voting resumed.
An Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official in the ward, who did not want to be named, confirmed that security reinforcement had been sent to the area and that election would continue.
A member of the security team in the ward said that the suspects would be taken to Yenagoa, the state capital, while investigation would be carried out on the incident.
However, Police in the state said they were yet to receive report on the incident.
Spokesman of the command, Mr Asinim Butswat, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said it was possible that such incident occurred in the polling area but that the command had not received report on it.
Butswat, however, told NAN that the situation was calm in most polling units where the election was being conducted.
NAN reports that the supplementary election in the state is holding in Southern Ijaw and in 101 polling units in other parts of the state where the Dec. 5, 2015 governorship poll was cancelled due to violence.
According to Butswat, reports from the units indicate that all is calm.
“ The command has done necessary deployments to all polling units. In most units, accreditation and voting have commenced and it has been peaceful so far.
“ Our men are on ground and are on top of the situation,’’ he said. (NAN)

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