SaharaReporters has learned that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is maintaining a comfortable lead in the just-concluded supplementary election in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (LGA) and 101 units in Bayelsa State, despite the low turnout of voters recorded in some communities. The unofficial collated results from various polling units and wards across the State, available to journalists so far, show that the PDP is widening its existing lead of 33,000 votes.
According to unofficial results collated so far, the PDP had a strong showing at polling units and wards in Amasoma, Otuan, Ogbia, Nembe Ogbolomabiri, Ekpetiama and some other communities. The decision by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to decentralize the distribution of election materials to LGAs across the State facilitated the early arrival of materials in some communities.
Despite this development, and the presence of 5,000 deployed police to the State, there were cases of violence and hijacked election materials.
SaharaReporters has learned of multiple reports of violence sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, with other reports saying that some violence was assisted by security operatives. In particular SaharaReporters has learned that Ekeremor, Famgbe and Nembe communities have been affected by violence.
Election materials meant for Lobia, 1, 2, 3 and Peremabiri were hijacked by militants wielding AK-47 machine guns and other dangerous weapons. A PDP leader, James Jephtah, had a property belonging to him destroyed by thugs working for the APC, according to reports.
SaharaReporters has also learned of violence in Ekeremor where at least five people have been reportedly killed, however details and confirmation were not immediately available at the time of publication. In addition to this violence, a lodge belonging to Governor Seriake Dickson was vandalized in Ekeremor.
This violence comes days after the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Boyelayefa Debekeme, and three other PDP officials, were attacked with machetes by thugs believed to be working for the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.