In the aftermath of the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election held on November 11, 2023, Udengs Eradiri, the Labour Party (LP) candidate, has openly rejected the electoral process and the announced outcome. Governor Douye Diri, representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), secured victory in the election with 175,196 votes.
Addressing the media at his campaign secretariat in Yenagoa, Eradiri raised serious concerns about the conduct of the election, citing various irregularities that, in his view, undermined the democratic principles of fairness and credibility.
Eradiri expressed disappointment over what he described as a disregard for the cardinal principles of democratic elections. He alleged that the election was marred by massive vote-buying, turning polling units into markets where votes were auctioned and purchased.
He stated, “I consider vote-buying a crime against humanity. I cannot engage in vote-buying because it is a demonstration of lack of performance, incompetence, leadership failure, and cluelessness on the part of the buyer. How can people bribe people to serve them?”
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The LP candidate highlighted the challenges faced by voters, emphasizing that the process encouraged the buying and selling of votes, making it difficult for voters to make decisions free from external influence.
Eradiri called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate electoral officers who participated in the election, accusing them of contributing to the prevalence of voter inducement.
Despite the outcome, Eradiri reassured the people of Bayelsa that he would not give up on challenging the system. He reiterated his commitment to addressing issues such as the lack of potable water, inadequate infrastructure, widespread poverty, and challenges in the educational sector facing the state.
The rejection of the election results by Eradiri adds a layer of complexity to the post-election landscape in Bayelsa, raising questions about the integrity of the electoral process and the need for a thorough investigation into the alleged irregularities.
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