INEC reschedules Assembly poll in eight Bayelsa constituencies

The Independent National Electoral Commission has postponed the State House of Assembly elections in eight of the 24 constituencies of Bayelsa State.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Baritor Kpagih, said in a statement on Friday that the elections for the affected constituencies would hold on Saturday, April 18, 2015.

The affected councils are Ekeremor Constituencies 1, 2, and 3; Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituencies 1 and 2; Sagbama Constituencies 1 and 2 and Southern Ijaw Constituency 1.

Kpagih said however that the election would hold as scheduled in the rest 16 constituencies on Saturday.

Curiously, the REC was silent on the reason for the decision to postpone the election by one week.

He simply stated that the elections were shifted because of the position of stakeholders that elections should not hold ‘without full complements of the ballots papers.’

He said, “Following the stand of the stakeholders that no election should take place in the state without full complement of ballot papers, having regard to the total PVCs distributed, the state House of Assembly election slated for Saturday, the 11th of April, 2015, in Bayelsa State has been rescheduled to Saturday the 18th day of April, 2015.”

It was however revealed that the political parties and their candidates insisted on the postponement of the election because of serious discrepancies in the ballot papers for the constituencies.

It was further gathered that the number of ballot papers sent to the constituencies was inadequate.

For instance, INEC was said to have sent only 13,000 ballot papers out 27,000 to Southern Ijaw Constituency 1, thereby creating a short fall of 14,000 ballot papers for the election.

Also, only 5,000 ballot papers were available at the headquarters of the Ekeremor Constituency 3, for the election that was billed to be conducted with 15,000 ballot papers.

Already, there is mounting suspicion that there could be a covert plan to rig the election even before its conduct on Saturday.

The same situation which ignited suspicion in the various political parties was repeated in the seven affected constituencies.

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