Despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) scheduling 12 noon for the resumption of the Bayelsa governorship election result collation, none of the key officials had arrived at the collation hall as of 12:30 pm on Monday, raising concerns among observers.
Party agents, journalists, and observers had begun gathering at the hall an hour before the stipulated time. Governor Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held an early lead as of the adjournment of collation on Sunday night, with Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) trailing behind in the results of the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) declared.
Diri, seeking reelection, had amassed 137,909 votes, while Sylva trailed with 73,503 votes, creating a margin of 64,406. The outstanding results for Southern Ijaw and Brass LGAs, known for their substantial voter population, remained to be collated.
In a show of support for Diri, hundreds of his backers laid siege to the INEC office in Yenagoa on Monday morning. Supporters, comprising men, women, and youths, danced and sang praises for the Governor, expressing concerns about potential result manipulation.
Some supporters, such as Preye Jonathan, voiced their determination to resist any manipulation, stating, “We have information that they want to manipulate the result of Southern Ijaw and Brass local government areas. We will not allow that to happen; they should declare the original result the way it is.”
Another supporter emphasized transparency, saying, “We are here to make sure the right thing is done. INEC should be sincere and transparent in all its dealings in this election. They should not contemplate doing anything funny with this result.”
Bayelsa, among the three states with off-cycle elections held on Saturday, is the only one where collation has not yet been concluded, heightening the anticipation and concerns about the outcome.