More than 48 hours after the Bayelsa governorship election, Governor Douye Diri has clinched a second term in office as the leader of the coastal state.
“That Diri Douye of the PDP, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the Returning Officer for the election Prof Faruq Kuta said in declaring Diri the winner of the exercise after multiple breaks and adjournments.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate fought off his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart Timipre Sylva in a fiercely contested exercise in the oil-rich state.
Diri, who came into power in 2020, got a total of 175,196 votes while Sylva polled 110,108 votes. The figures meant the PDP flagbearer beat his closest rival by 65,088 votes. The Labour Party (LP) scored a total of 905 votes to come a distant third.
Sylva’s Third Attempt
While 18 candidates vied for the post, Sylva was Diri’s main contender. The immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum was contesting to return as the governor of the South-South state for a third time.
He first became a governor from May 2007 to April 2008 before returning as the leader of the state between May 2008 and January 2012.
But his third attempt to become the governor of Bayelsa State was a bumpy ride. About one month before the election, the Federal High Court in Abuja disqualified him from the contest.
According to Justice Okorowo, since Sylva has served twice and five years as governor of the state, he would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again. He ruled that if the APC candidate wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.
In the wake of the ruling, INEC delisted him as a contestant for the exercise. But APC and Sylva challenged the judgment with the Appeal Court on October 31, 2023, later reversing Sylva’s disqualification. The 2023 election, however, ended in defeat for Sylva.
Support For Diri
As INEC began collation of results for the poll, PDP chieftains were in Yenegoa to drum up support for Diri’s re-election.
Governor Douye Diri, some PDP governors, and chieftains are expectant ahead of the declaration of the winner of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election.
Some of them include Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, his Taraba State counterpart Agbu Kefas, and Senator Ben Murray-Bruce; a former National Chairman of the party Uche Secondus among PDP top shots.
By Emmanuel Egobiambu
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