Bayelsa: Voters Get N40,000 In Massive Vote-Buying

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Voters said they were paid between N12,000 and N40,000 in a massive vote-trading that characterised the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa on Saturday.
Governor Duoye Diri of the PDP and his main opposition, Timipre Sylva of the APC, also traded blames and accusations over violence; while Labour Party (LP) candidate, Udengs Eradiri, said he was overwhelmed by the level of vote buying.
Eradiri, who spoke at Agudama-Ekpetiama after voting at the poll, said that voters approached him to negotiate but he declined because his interest was for a better Bayelsa State.
“My greatest disappointment was with a woman from this community whom I offered a scholarship to her son, she sold her vote for N14,000 and I was disappointed,” he said.
Speaking after voting, Sylva accused security agents, especially the army of conniving with the PDP to rig his party out.
Sylva, who voted at Polling Unit 4, Dukuraku Central Open Space, Okpoama, Ward 4, Brass Local Government, alongside his wife, Alaingi, however expressed confidence that his party will coast to victory at the end of the day.
“For INEC, there is a lot of improvement, this is a human system, we expect there will be lapses but I was very shocked how that register was not uploaded in my ward, but we believe there is still room for improvement,” he said.
Also, Governor Diri accused Sylva and his party of aiding the attack on PDP members in Nembe-Basambiri, Nembe LGA of the state.
Diri, who voted at Kalama-owei Wari Unit 4 Ward 6 Sampou in Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, commended the INEC for improving their facilities and training of personnel.
He said: “I think this is an improvement on all other elections that we have participated in, and it’s very seamless, very fast and if it continues like this, then I want to believe that INEC is improving not only on their facilities but the training of their personnel that are handling the process.
“But we have concerns about Nembe-Basambiri, our party members, most of them have been excluded, our agents have been stopped from going into Nembe, that is a very serious concern. Our party has written to INEC and they have to take drastic action to ensure our people are allowed to vote.”
Earlier, suspected armed thugs had gone on rampage in some parts of the state.
The thugs, who invaded polling units in Southern Ijaw and Sagbama local Government Areas, with heavy gun shots, had hijacked elections materials.
The incident, which happened at about 9am at Agorogbene, unit 6, 7 and 8 in Ward 11 of the Local Government, had the thugs from Southern Ijaw chase away voters and destroy election materials.
Attempts by the electorate to challenge the armed men were replied with heavy gun shots.
Also, around 9am, the armed thugs stormed the RAC centre and carted away election materials for five out of the seven units.
At Olodiama ward 9 in Unit 14 of Southern Ijaw Local Government area, gunmen stormed the unit but were repelled after an emergency call to security men.
Sporadic gunshots were also reported around the Abuja/Imbikiri area of Brass ward 2 and at about 3.30am on Saturday, gunmen suspected to be political thugs attacked the RAC centre in Oginibiri in Brass Ward 8, but they were resisted.


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