By Sampson Boroh
The Bayelsa State Local Government Council Election held today Saturday was marred by general apathy and failure of officials of the State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) to show up in some polling units in the state.
Many Bayelsans who lamented the development during the exercise accused BYSIEC of irregularities and ‘shoddy’ preparations for the council election.
Our correspondent observed that people failed to turn up for the exercise while in some of the polling booths and units visited there were either no materials or BYSIEC officials to accredit willing voters to cast their votes.
There were no sight of electoral materials in some of the places visited in the three local government councils of Yenagoa, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Sagbama.
It was gathered that the protest by 42 political Parties under the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) also contributed to the low turnout of voters on Saturday.
Our correspondent gathered that voters did not show any enthusiasm towards participating in the exercise in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital, Nembe, Brass, Kolokuma\Opokuma and Sagbama areas of the state.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) have faulted the exercise, describing it as ‘sham.’
However, the state government has applauded the exercise as free, fair and credible.
The State Governor, Seriake Dickson, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Tonye Isenah, the State Commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Martins and his Youth Development counterpart, Udengs Eradiri all hailed exercise.
Speaking with journalists after casting his vote at Oruere-wari polling unit 05, ward 2 in Toru Orua, Sagbama local government area of the state, Dickson said the council election in the state was generally peaceful, free, fair and credible.
A press release by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as saying that, contrary to concerns raised about the council election in the state, preliminary security reports across the entire state indicated that the exercise was peaceful and hitch-free.
Also speaking, the Bayelsa Speaker, Rt.Hon. Tonye Isenah, who voted at Unit 1, ward 3 of Odi community, said the turnout was impressive and commendable.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Daniel Iworiso- Markson, also voted in the Chairmanship and Councillorship Elections in his polling unit (Unit 1 Ward 11) in Opume, Ogbia LGA of the State.
The Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC) had fixed the local government poll in the state after series of court orders and litigations by the some opposition parties.