Politicians, civil rights activists and other stakeholders on Monday marked the 11th anniversary of the annulment of the April 14, 2007 Governorship election in Bayelsa State.
They challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the November 2nd date fixed for the Governorship election in the state is acceptable, credible and without rancour.
The stakeholders, made up the former Governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigerian (ACN), Prince Ebitimi Amgbare, the former Secretary of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and State Coordinator of ERA, Comrade Morris Alagoa, and the Former Senior Special Assistant to the State Government, Comrade Tony Ile, urged INEC to allow the will of the people to prevail during the coming Governorship poll.
Prince Ebitimi Angbare, who was the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said though the annulment of the 15th of April marks 11 years of the appeal court judgment that annulled the governorship election of 14th April 2007 in the state.
He said: “As the petitioner in that case,my sole purpose of going the whole hog was to end impunity on the side of INEC but reviewing the conduct of elections.”
He added: ” Since then,it is saddening to note that elections in the state have taken even more dangerous dimensions. As we work towards the governorship election of 02/11/19 i call on all well meaning Bayelsans to organize and not agonize,we must get Inec to deliver a credible and acceptable election. Inec must take advantage of the stand alone nature of this election to satisfy us,this should be our minimum demand.”
On his part, Alagoa, noted that the annulment, which occurred due to the improper conduct of INEC, “was that incident which has kept Bayelsa where it is now; where instead of joining in the general election when it is being conducted in others states. Petitions thereto should be expeditiously treated at the tribunals to as not to allow a repeat of the past.”
” The past experience favoured the person who was sailing as governor before the rerun and it extended his tenure. And that is not proper. Again, it would be nice that all issues relating to disagreements are addressed before the person declared winner assumes office as governor.”
On his part, the former senior Special Assistant to Bayless Governor, Hon. Tony Ile , said “My advice to INEC is to conduct free, fair and credible election without favouring any consideration irrespective of party. I also urge them to put pressure on the executive arm of government to sign the electoral act amendment bill before the president to allow electronic transmission of results and other vital clauses that will aid our electoral process and in tandem wit global best practices.”
“Lastly, the commission should sound a note of warning to overzealous security agencies most especially the military, whose bad conduct as noticed in Rivers State and other states resulted in deaths of innocent persons.”
It would be recalled that after 2007 governorship election in the State, the Governorship candidate of the defunct, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Prince Ebitimi Angbare had challenged the victory of the then Governor, Chief Toupee Sylva, then of the People Democratic Party (PDP) at the Election Petition Tribunal.
Not satisfied with the ruling of the tribunal, Amgbare proceeded to the Appeal Court, where judgment was given in his favour. The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt later put an end to the 10-month-old reign of Chief Timipre Sylva as Governor of Bayelsa State when it nullified his April 14, 2007 election.
It directed that the Speaker of the state House Assembly, Mr. Seibarugu Worinepreye be sworn-in immediately and a fresh election conducted within three months.n