2023 election: Protest in Bayelsa over shortage of ballot papers
A Protest is presently going on in Agudama Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over a shortage of about 48,500 ballot papers meant for the Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Federal Constituency elections.
The protesters who put a halt to the distribution of electoral materials from the center to other units happened at Ward 4, Epie 1, in Agudama, in the state capital, Yenagoa.
Our correspondent who was at the scene reported that materials for 47 units, covering Agudama and Akenpai Communities, were still at the center as voters insisted that elections would not hold in the area until the missing ballot papers are replaced.
Speaking to our correspondent over the development, the Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPO), Austin Atekere, said that when he and his colleagues received the materials from the INEC headquarters in Yenagoa, they were not sorted until they got to the ward headquarter.
He said “only for us to get to our headquarter to realize that all the ballot papers for other elections were complete, except for that of the House Representatives election. The ward has about 50,000 registered voters but we were given only 15,000 ballot papers.
“As I speak with you, people have dragged me about and almost beat me up but the quick intervention of community members saved my life. However, we have contacted INEC and they have informed us that the situation is not peculiar to Agudama/Akenpai alone.”
In Sampou, home town of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, election materials and officials arrived late, with many people going about their normal duties.
One of the NYSC member who served as the Presiding officer, said the delay was a result of the sorting out the materials at the INEC headquarters.
In many other places visited, there was low turn out of voters.