Bayelsa State erupted in jubilation on Monday as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the off-cycle governorship election in the state.
Governor Diri polled 175,196 votes to defeat his closest rival, Chief Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 110,108 votes.
In the state capital, Yenagoa, jubilant crowd trooped into the streets singing, dancing and waving the PDP flags in carnival-like celebrations.
Governor Kefas Agbu of Taraba State and his Delta State counterpart, Sheriff Oborevwori joined Governor Diri among other leaders of the party and the state at the PDP situation room inside the Government House annex at Onopa as the results were being announced.
The INEC Returning Officer for Bayelsa, Prof. Farouk Kuta, who declared Diri winner of the poll, said he scored the highest number of votes to emerge winner.
Reacting to the victory, Senator Diri expressed gratitude to God Almighty and the people of the state for the honour of returning him for another term in office.
The governor, while addressing the media, also expressed appreciation to the PDP at all levels and members of his campaign team for working tirelessly to spread his message of progress and unity throughout the campaigns.
He however urged his party faithful and well-meaning Bayelsans to celebrate with temperance, saying the victory was for the entire state, noting that even those that voted for other parties enriched the democratic culture.
Diri assured people of the state that he will continue to operate an all-inclusive government, insisting that he will be governor for all irrespective of political divide while serving with dedication, integrity and transparency.
He thanked President Bola Tinubu for creating the enabling environment for free, fair and credible poll in the state as well as the security agencies and INEC for their display of professionalism during the election.
The state’s helmsman also expressed appreciation to former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Governor Seriake Dickson as well as party leaders and governors that were present during the election.
He equally appreciated former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers) for their invaluable support as well as Governors Kefas, Oborevwori, Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), and
Seyi Makinde (Oyo).
While noting that the electoral process was not without challenges, he extended his condolences to those who suffered brutal attacks and families that lost loved ones during the poll.
He said: “This victory would not have been possible without the mighty hand and grace of the Almighty and the overwhelming support you have shown towards me and my Government of Prosperity. I am deeply humbled by your overwhelming expression of confidence and by your mandate to serve you for another four years.
“I express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone that cast your vote in my favour and entrusted me with the responsibility of leading our beloved state.
“However, I urge you all to celebrate with temperance, as this victory is not the exclusive preserve of any one political party. Rather, it is the collective will of a people united towards progress and a better future. Even those who cast their votes differently enriched our democratic practice by their participation and dissent. I reaffirm that I will continue to be the governor of all in Bayelsa State.
“Let me appreciate the role of most of the security agencies for their professionalism and hard work in providing security for the exercise. I equally commend INEC for discharging their responsibility largely creditably..“
The newly-elected governor, however, expressed sadness over incidents of violence, thuggery, intimidation and the killing of a young man, Berepelenyo Sibo, in Twon-Brass, saying such actions were unacceptable.
“I offer my deepest condolences to the individuals and families that have suffered from brutal attacks, loss of life, injuries, and harassment during this off-cycle election.
“In particular, the news of the murder of a young man, Berepelenyo George Sibo, in Twon-Brass, in the aftermath of this election, is deeply troubling. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and respect for human life during and after an election.”
After the declaration, the governor went into a thanksgiving service at the King of Glory Chapel in Government House.