Why Bayelsans Voted for Douye Diri for a Second Term, Francis Wainwei Reveals
Francis Wainwei, is a legal practitioner, entertainment lawyer, and opinion leader, in this exclusive interview with our editor, Victor Oroyi, he reveals why Bayelsans voted for Douye Diri, the incumbent governor of Bayelsa State for a second term in office in just concluded governorship elections. Excerpts.
What is your reaction to the Bayelsa State Governorship election?
My immediate reaction to the just concluded Bayelsa State election is that the people voted for the popular candidate because if you look at the candidates, Douye Diri, the incumbent Governor, Timipre Sylva of the APC and Eradiri Udengs of the Labour Party and there are other candidates who are unknown but the truth is that Bayelsans wanted Douye Diri to continue.
You are of the opinion that the popular candidate won but there are candidates that are calling for a review and cancellation of the election, what is your reaction to this?
I think that is very unsportsmanlike of those candidates because this election was fairly free and fairly credible. I think it is one of the best election that we have had in this state because the people voted according to popular choice, the candidates calling for cancellation, are not doing it because they deserve that kind of cancellation, they are doing it because of bitterness that they lost the election. INEC did well because you cannot highjack materials, go and write figures, and submit to INEC, and expect that you will be announced as the winner.
…vote buying was done by all the parties, all the parties that had money bought votes..
You have to win the election, you have to get the votes from the people and from my own observations on the field, I discovered that people actually voted for Douye Diri, he was more popular than all the other candidates, so it was the most popular candidate that won, so the election was free and credible at least to a great extent.
What is your opinion on the allegations of vote buying, intimidation and INEC working for a particular party from other political parties?
Well, from my own opinion, vote buying was done by all the parties, all the parties that had money bought votes but as for INEC being the tool for any particular party, I don’t think so. INEC did a very credible job, they stopped people from cooking up votes because that has been been the stock in trade for some political parties, they don’t want to win by popular mandate, they just want to highjack materials and write figures then be announced as winners
As far as I am concerned, this election was fairly credible and this election represented the majority views of the people of Bayelsa State.
Let’s look at the popularity of the candidates, particularly the major three, all of them have some level of credibility, what do you think Bayelsans were looking out for that made them go for Douye Diri?
What motivated Bayelsans to go for Douye Diri was basically, his peaceful disposition, it is not that he is performing excellently, no, but his performance is average. It is not very inspiring but people prefer Douye Diri to most of the other candidates because they know that Douye Diri believes in peace. He is a promoter of peace, so instead of Bayelsans to vote for somebody that would come and create crisis or chaotic situations in the state, Bayelsans opted for peace that they have seen. They know that this man they have seen is peaceful and his disposition has always been promoting peace, that is why people went for Douye Diri, it is about his peaceful disposition.
Does INEC have the power to cancel an election; and why has INEC failed to review the election in places of controversy as demanded by party agents?
It is not every call by party agents that INEC would listen to, some calls are not premised on sound reasoning, some are just calls to make noise. As far as I am concerned, in this Bayelsa governorship election, it is the wish of the people that is reflected in the outcome of the election, so where the wish of the people is reflected, what are we reviewing.
INEC legally does not have the right to cancel election mostly when the election has been announced at the unit level. If at the polling units, the results has been announced and confirmed, then INEC does not have the power to cancel it, rather INEC would collate it and announce it, it is the Court that would look at it to determine whether this votes were properly gotten or not but there is a provision in the electoral guidelines that if BVAS are bypassed, that INEC has the responsibility or the powers not to accept.
There is a difference between not to accept results and cancelling results, most of the results were not accepted because they bypassed the BVAS, it is not that they were cancelled.
The regulation is that anywhere that BVAS are bypassed, that those votes are not valid votes. So if INEC has the power to declare certain votes valid and others invalid based on infractions of the Electoral Act, then it is their power to do so, they don’t have the power to cancel but they have the power to reject votes that are not properly gotten. Votes that bypassed BVAS are supposed to be rejected by INEC.
… the candidates calling for cancellation, are not doing it because they deserve that kind of cancellation, they are doing it because of bitterness that they lost the election.
What would be your score for INEC in this election?
I think INEC had a pass mark.
In some places, we had the issues of the BVAS not working, there was low turn out, voter apathy was high, some polling units started late, with these issues, what areas do you think that INEC can make improvements?
My observation is that INEC should take logistics issues more seriously, the movement of materials to polling units at the right time. INEC should fortify security around their staff. Most places where electoral materials were highjacked, were areas where INEC Staff were vulnerable to attacks.
If INEC provides good security then people would not be able to do that, the security personnel would repel that, INEC should think about fortifying security around their staff.
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