Violence mars INC election as hoodlums cart away ballot boxes

Violence halted the election into the executive positions of the Ijaw National Council in Yenagoa on Saturday as persons suspected to be hired thugs invaded the venue after some results had been declared and carted away the remaining ballot boxes.

The situation caused pandemonium in the town as the youths, numbering over 1,000 and armed with dangerous weapons, invaded the venue and dislodged the security men on guard.

Before the invasion, the hoodlums were said to have first cut off electricity supply to the venue and invaded the vote counting section and took away the ballot boxes.

The INC is the highest socio-cultural organisation in Ijaw nation and over 400 delegates from Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and other states where the Ijaws reside had gathered in Yenagoa to chose their leaders.

Several delegates and observers, who scampered for safety when the violence erupted, are still missing in the creek around the Ijaw House in the Asikoro area of Yenagoa.

Earlier that day at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre, venue for the accreditation of voters, the exercise was delayed for several hours as the youth stormed the venue and insisted that the list of delegates reportedly the contained underage delegates.

It was gathered that problem started when some state government favoured candidates sensed that they were losing out in the positions declared before the crisis erupted.

However, a media aide to Governor Seriake Dickson, Fidelis Soriwie, claimed that from the outcome so far, Chief Broderick Bozimo was set to emerge as the president; Chief Francis Doukpola, vice-president; and Inatimi Spiff, national secretary.

The governor had earlier openly endorsed Bozimo and urged all delegates to vote for him, an action that angered the other aspirants.

But the claim that Bozimo was winning was debunked by the Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Rear Admiral Woyengidinikpete Yanga (retd), who said the counting of votes for the secretary, vice-president and president had yet to commence.
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