Timipre Sylva, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Bayelsa State off-cycle election, expressed deep concern over a critical issue during Saturday’s polls. Sylva lamented the non-uploading of voter registers from three units within his ward, specifically units 3, 5, and 9 in Okpoama, Brass Local Government Area.
Speaking to reporters after casting his vote at polling unit 4, ward 4, Sylva squarely blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for what he termed “a careless mistake.” The APC hopeful stressed that his team promptly reported the problem to INEC’s national leadership, and assurances were given that the issue would be resolved, with an extension of the voting time in the affected units.
Despite this hiccup, Sylva acknowledged INEC’s efforts in improving the overall conduct of elections. He expressed confidence in the APC’s success at the end of the day but highlighted the challenges in his ward that needed attention.
Sylva also raised concerns about violence and alleged ballot snatching perpetrated by People Democratic Party (PDP) supporters in various parts of the state. Adding a disturbing dimension, he accused some army personnel of aiding and abetting these incidents, particularly in collaboration with the PDP.
Speaking to the security situation in Bayelsa, Sylva urged a firm response to bring the situation under control. He highlighted instances of reported violence, including the shooting of an APC member in Yenagoa, and the alleged involvement of the army in ballot box snatching in Biseni (Yenagoa LGA).
Despite these challenges, Sylva acknowledged the improvements made by INEC but emphasized that the system is not foolproof, attributing occasional lapses to the human element. However, he expressed surprise and concern that the “careless mistake” occurred only in his ward, affecting significant units with substantial voter numbers.
In conclusion, while appreciating INEC’s progress, Sylva stressed the need for continued improvement, hoping that the reported irregularities and security concerns would not unduly impact the overall integrity of the electoral process.