Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Governor Seriake Dickson might have bowed to pressure to stand down the appointment of Ball Oyarede as chairman of the Bayelsa State Independent National Electoral Commission (BYSEIC).
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor to have announced erstwhile caretaker chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Remember Ogbe, as the acting chairman of the commission.
Oyarede was appointed as chairman of the commission while he was still a member of the House of Assembly representing Ekeremor constituency 1, a development which drew the ire of opposition political parties and pressure groups, which called on the governor to stand down his inauguration as it would affect the credibility of the local government election.
Soriwei quoted Dickson to have explained during the swearing in ceremony of two members of BYSEIC in Yenagoa that Ogbe was appointed acting chairman of the commission until a decision is taken on the nomination of the BYSIEC chairman designate.
Dickson, who congratulated the two new members, Charles Emmanuel, former House of Assembly member representing Brass constituency 1 and Perebigha Ajoko, charged the commission members to conduct free, fair and peaceful local government poll that would be acceptable to all.
The governor said the local government election scheduled to hold in September should be conducted in a manner that would reflect the wishes of the electorate.
While expressing confidence in the capability of the commission new members to effectively oversee the affairs of the commission given their track record in their previous assignments, he urged political parties and their candidates to abide by the outcome of the election.
“You are appointed to fill in vacancies that emanated from the resignation of some members. You are selected because of your capacity and experience.
“I urge you to do what is right and fair and carry out your duties in a manner that would engender trust and confidence. You should be prepared to conduct free, fair and credible elections.”
“I have listened to some of the concerns expressed on the position of the chairman designate. That is why he is not taking his office,” he said.