Diri Defeats Sylva, Clinches Second Term As Bayelsa Gov

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate fought off his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart Timipre Sylva in a fiercely contested exercise in the oil-rich state.


Douye Diri_
Diri is thanking residents of the state for the victory, pledging to deliver on his campaign promises. 

 

More than 48 hours after the Bayelsa governorship election, Governor Douye Diri has clinched a second term in office as the leader of the coastal state. 

“That Diri Douye of the PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the Returning Officer for the election Prof Faruq Kuta said in declaring Diri the winner of the exercise after multiple breaks and adjournments.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate fought off his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart Timipre Sylva and other challengers in a fiercely contested exercise in the oil-rich state.

Diri, who came into power in 2020, got a total of  175,196 votes while Sylva polled 110,108 votes. The figures meant the PDP flagbearer beat his closest rival by  65,088 votes. The Labour Party (LP)’s Udengs Eradiri scored a total of 905 votes to come a distant third.

READ ALSOINEC Declares APC’s Uzodimma Winner, Re-Elected Imo Gov

Sylva’s Third Shot

sylva
FILE: Timipre Sylva during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

 

While 18 candidates vied for the post, Sylva was Diri’s main contender. The immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum was contesting to return as the governor of the South-South state for a third time.

He first became a governor from May 2007 to April 2008 before returning as the leader of the state between May 2008 and January 2012.

But his third attempt to become the governor of Bayelsa State was a bumpy ride. About one month before the election, the Federal High Court in Abuja disqualified him from the contest.

According to Justice Okorowo, since Sylva has served twice and five years as governor of the state, he would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again. He ruled that if the APC candidate wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

In the wake of the ruling, INEC delisted him as a contestant for the exercise. But APC and Sylva challenged the judgment with the Appeal Court on October 31, 2023, later reversing Sylva’s disqualification. The 2023 election, however, ended in defeat for Sylva.

READ ALSO: INEC Declares APC’s Uzodimma Winner, Re-Elected Imo Gov

Support For Diri

As INEC began collation of results for the poll, PDP chieftains were in Yenegoa to drum up support for Diri’s re-election.

Some of them include Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State, his Taraba State counterpart Agbu Kefas, and Senator Ben Murray-Bruce; a former National Chairman of the party Uche Secondus among other PDP top shots.

In his victory speech, Governor Diri thanked God and the residents of the state for the win. He promised an all-inclusive government.