Following concerns raised by residents in Ekeki and adjoining communities of Amarata and Okaka-Epie all in Yanagoa, the Bayelsa State capital as a result of reported violence that characterized elections into the leadership of the youth body of Ekeki –Epie community over the weekend, the Paramount ruler of the community, HRH Odoki Bernard has debunked claims going round that the said violence claimed the lives of youths in the community.
According to the Royal Father, the crisis that erupted in the course of the election that pitched the camps of the two major contestants’ for the headship of Ekeki youths was as a result of alleged mishandling of the electoral processes by the electoral committee headed by one Oyiso Abia. This, he remarked, was in total breach of a peace accord that representatives of the contesting youths had with the paramount ruler and his council of chiefs held in his palace prior, to the election.
The fracas that led to the eventual suspension of the election, HRH Bernard disclosed, began when an agent of one of the contestants pointed out a discrepancy in the composition of a set of the ballot papers when counting of votes was going on.
The contentious issue, our correspondent gathered, was the discovery of a different colour of stamp on some of the ballot papers as against that which representatives of the king had stamped on the said ballot papers to forestall any incidence of rigging.
As this discovery did not go down well with the Eleco Chairman and the other camp that allegedly orchestrated the said fraud, a heated argument ensued and before anyone knew it, supporters of the two major aspirants confronted each other with machetes and other dangerous weapons which they used on one another- while onlookers and passersby ran for their dear lives.
Though no life was lost during the free-for-all between supporters of John Russell Osain and Odus Sokari Eluk the two contestants for the headship of Ekeki – Epie Community Youth, the election was eventually suspended for as King Bernard put it “ tempers to cool down” before yet another date is considered for a repeat..
Meanwhile , as at the time of filing this report, all efforts to speak with leaders of the contesting groups proved abortive