Nigeria Decides: Voters on rampage over shortage of ballot papers in Bayelsa polling unit

There are pockets of protest in some communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over the shortage of ballot papers meant for the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.

DAILY POST, gathered that there is about 48,500 ballot papers shortage in the Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency elections were recorded.

The protesters who gathered at Ward 4, Epie 1, which has 47 units, covering Agudama and Akenpai Communities, are insisting that elections would not hold in their area until the missing ballot papers are replaced.

The Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO), Austin Atekere, said that when he and his colleagues received the materials from the INEC headquarters in Yenagoa, they were not sorted until they got to the ward headquarter.

The state governor, Senator Douye Diri has blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the poor logistics and the delay in starting the voting process across the state.

Senator Diri who stated this after casting his vote, alongside his wife, at ward 6, unite 4 (kalama-owei wari) in Sampou Community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area at about 10:28am said INEC has been contacted and urgent actions are being taken.

Field reports indicate that as of 10:12am there were no INEC official and election materials in ward 13, unit 39 in Ogbia LGA, while as at 11:13am there were no INEC staff and election materials at OMPADEC unit in Amarata Community, Yenagoa Local Government Area.

Speaking to newsmen, the governor said “For now there is a delay for about 2 hours and I have been informed that it is as a result of logistics problems and my plea is that they will equally extend the time that has already been wasted.

“For insecurity, there is so much that has been done in terms of security and INEC and the government have not heard of any security breaches. We are collating the security reports, so to speak, and we will deal with them accordingly and we will ensure everybody is allowed to cast their vote peacefully. We believe that Bayelsa will be peaceful, we have witnessed one election that is transparent and very peaceful.

“The bimodal voting and accreditation system is an innovation that everybody is applauding because it took few seconds for me to cast my vote. So if it goes that way, it is one development that has come to stay, and I believe that they should continue it.

“Am not unaware of the delay in voting and INEC is on top of it. INEC has been contacted and when they take a decision on those issues we will also let the citizens know so that we will all be on the same page to ensure that such protests do not come up.”

Meanwhile, because of the protracted delay in the arrival of materials, voters that gathered at Ward 3, Epie went on a rampage. To calm the restless crowd, on arrival at the scene, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ben Okolo addressed them, saying, “I have called and spoken to the INEC office”.

“They have assured me that very soon the expected materials would be brought”, adding that everyone should remain calm.

It would be recalled, that accreditation started by 11:40 while voters started gathering as early as 7am.

Meanwhile, the angry voters insisted that the delay was premeditated to achieve antipublic objectives.

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