The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Friday, presented a Certificate of Return to the Bayelsa State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Douye Diri, who won the state governorship election conducted on November 11.
The state deputy governor and the governor’s running mate, Lawrence Ehwrudjakpo, also received his certificate of return from INEC.
The INEC national commissioner supervising Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa, May Agbamuche-Mbu, handed the certificates of return to them at the Prof Mahmood Yakubu Media Centre INEC state office, Yenagoa.
It would be recalled that Diri was declared as the winner of the polls by the INEC State Returning Officer, Prof. Kuta Farouq, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University Technology, Minna, on November 13.
The governor polled a total of 175,196 votes to defeat his major opponent, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who got 110,108 votes while the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Udengs Eradiri came third with 905 votes.
Presenting the certificates, Agbamuche-Mbu said the commission by presenting the certificates of return was fulfilling a statutory provision as outlined in section 72(1) of the Electoral Act 2022.
According to her, the section also stated that the presentation must be done within 14 days following the declaration of a winner.
She praised stakeholders for their commitment and contributions toward the peaceful conduct of the election and equally appreciated staff of the commission who displayed exceptional level of dedication to their job.
Agbamuche-Mbu also on behalf of the commission congratulated the governor and his deputy on their victory at the polls and wished them a successful second tenure in office.
In his remarks, Diri said the event had put to rest the speculation that INEC would not present the certificate to him even as he commended the commission for its professionalism and impartiality during and after the election.
He said it was an historic moment for him, his deputy and Bayelsans, who he appreciated for standing behind him and his running mate, bearing in mind the antics of the opposition that brandished cooked results against their will.
The governor, while saying it was unfortunate hearing the opposition, particularly the APC candidate, alleged that INEC cancelled 85,000 of the party’s vote as well as manipulation by the commission, stressing that his party would wait for them at the tribunal.
He said, “Presenting the certificate of return was almost becoming another issue as some were brandishing results of 85,000 votes in their pockets and saying that the certificate would not be issued to those declared winners in Bayelsa State. So, this event has brought to rest all those speculations that have been all over the country.
“After thanking God for today’s event, I also thank the Independent National Electoral Commission, from the chairman to the supervising commissioner to the REC and the administrative secretary as well as all the staff.
“This is one historic moment for me, my deputy governor and the people of Bayelsa State. I lappreciate the electorate for standing behind what they believe was a government that has performed and must have another term.”