Election for Governor of Bayelsa State was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Saturday February 2012. The Nigeria Civil Society Election Situation Room was on ground in Yenagoa for the election.
The Governorship election in Bayelsa State had been dogged by a lot of uncertainty, including fears on two occasions that the election would be postponed – first, with the death of a governorship candidate of one of the political parties, and second with the call by another one of the parties for postponement on the ground that its candidature was not included in the polls.
Before the elections, INEC had stated that materials for the election had arrived on time in the State and that it was ready for the elections.
Reports received from the field showed that materials did not arrive on time in several polling units, especially in the riverine areas of the State. Accreditation of voters commenced late in several polling units. INEC’s long established practice of first accrediting voters and then commencing voting was hardly observed, meaning that both the process of accrediting voters and then beginning vote cast, was partially abandoned.
There was noticeable low voters’ turnout in most polling units visited during the accreditation and voting. It was also noticed that the order restricting movements of persons was not complied with as most business premises were open and people were going about their normal activities. Most Polling units were not located in the position specified on the INEC polling unit directory, as some polling units were sited in people’s houses, drinking bars and roadsides.
Although there was heavy deployment of security personnel to Bayelsa State for the election, there appeared to be an uneven deployment, with some areas having excess while some had scanty deployment or none at all. Overall though, the security situation was calm. There was however the report of the killing of a member of one of the major political parties in the Southern Ijaw local government area of the State.
At the close of voting on the day, state wide counting of ballots could not take place.
Our reports indicate that counting of votes only started at about 10 am of Sunday February 12, although this was suspended about midday after only five local government ballots were counted.
The Nigeria Civil Society Election Situation Room will be issuing its final report on the Bayelsa Governorship elections within the next 24 hours.
within the next 24 hours.