The results of the elections which held Saturday in Bayelsa and Kogi States have been announced.

 

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the All Progressives Congress, APC won the two governorship seats which were at stake.

 

INEC however declared the senatorial tussle between Smart Adeyemi of the APC and Dino Melaye of the PDP as inclusive.

 

Whereas Governor Yahaya Bello got the green light to continue in office for a second tenure, the situation in Bayelsa was a different kettle of fish.

 

For the first time in more than 20 years, the APC succeeded in snatching power from the ruling PDP in an election that a great majority of Bayelsa indigenes have described as the fairest and less violent of elections ever to be conducted in the State.

 

Already, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the two APC governors on their election and admonished them to work for the benefit of the people.

 

Similarly, former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP who is seen as the “father of Bayelsa State”  has saluted David Lyon of the APC, saying his election at this time is well deserved.

 

Nonetheless, there are voices of dissent that are raised in criticism against the outcome of the election in both Kogi and Bayelsa states.

 

Among those dissatisfied are election monitors and observers, candidates who participated in the elections and agents of political parties who are worried that there were pockets of violence.

 

Senator Douye Diri in his reaction has said that what played out in Bayelsa State may not help in nurturing democracy. He called for the withdrawal of soldiers from Ogbia Local Government Area and the cancellation of the results in the area.

 

Similarly, agent of the PDP refused to sign the collation paper in Kogi, claiming that the election was marred by violence.

 

On its part INEC has insisted that it set out appropriate processes for the conduct of free and fair elections. But it said that for there to be violent free polls, stakeholders have responsibility to play critical roles in ensuring fair play, shunning electoral violence and brazen thuggery.

 

The South South has always been a flashpoint when it comes to the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

 

It is for this reason that we are elated that in comparison with a recent past, the level of violence and bloodshed in Bayelsa State was reduced to the barest minimum.

 

This must be due to the commitment of the people who turned out in their numbers to vote, the doggedness of the security forces which kept the peace as much as possible, and the strategies put together by INEC which organized the elections.

 

All said, Nigeria is a developing nation. The implication is that as a developing country, there are certain character traits that  are proof of underdevelopment that we must admit remains part of our nature as a people.

 

Much as this cannot be a justification for the atrocious things which occur in our pursuit of democracy, it is proper to note that our democratic institutions are gradually beginning to get it right.

 

We really thank God that in Bayelsa State, we did not witness the kind of mind-boggling violence on election day that we are used to. And the position of most stakeholders speak to the level of relief that has been expressed after the exercise.

 

While we welcome the sharp criticisms that are trailing the conduct of the elections in some quarters, these voices are helping in their own way to challenge the system, especially INEC, in its effort to cultivate processes that will reduce malpractice associated with our electoral processes.

 

Finally, we commend the APC for what is obviously an attempt at a rebound. It had lost grounds in recent elections, a situation which sent conflicting signals, especially to observers who have been monitoring events in the political space.

 

Where there have been doubts in the ability of the party to manage its internal affairs and manage the well-being of ordinary Nigerians, the progress being recorded in the economy and the way the party executed its election in Bayelsa and Kogi seems to suggest that it has rediscovered itself and re-oiled its political machinery.