* Ruling party barred last governor from competing
* Some opposition parties refuse to accept result
By Austin Ekeinde
YENAGOA, Nigeria, Feb 12 Nigeria's ruling
party candidate has been elected governor of President Goodluck
Jonathan's home state, election officials said on Sunday, ending
months of political uncertainty over who is in charge of the
The People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Henry Dickson
won more than 90 percent of votes in Bayelsa state, the
Independent National Electoral Commission said, further
strengthening the PDP's stranglehold on power there since
Jonathan became president.
Some opposition parties refused to accept the result, saying
there were irregularities, including ballot box snatching,
multiple voting and harassment of party officials.
The race had been particularly contentious after the PDP
stopped the last governor, Timipre Sylva, competing for the
party candidacy last November - the first time it had taken such
a step - provoking Sylva to challenge the decision through the
Nigeria's 36 state governors control huge budgets and are
some of the most powerful politicians in the country. Western
diplomats said Sylva was snubbed because he fell out with his
former ally Jonathan.
At least one person was killed and several injured at a
pre-election rally on Tuesday in the southern Ijaw region in
Bayelsa, witnesses said. Turnout during Saturday's ballot was
low due to security concerns, election officials said.
Elections have frequently turned violent and 15,000 police
were deployed in Bayelsa on Saturday to deter any potential
unrest. Around 800 people were killed after last year's
presidential election in three days of violence between rival
supporters and in clashes between Christian and Muslim gangs.
That vote was hailed by international observers and many
Nigerians as the fairest since the end of military rule in 1999.
Bayelsa is one of the three Nigerian states that make up the
oil-producing Niger Delta, where, for several years, militant
gangs blew up pipelines, stole tankerloads worth of oil and
kidnapped foreign oil workers, until an amnesty in 2009.
Attacks on oil installations in the delta have been rarer
and less destructive since the 2009 amnesty but they still
Last week the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger
Delta (MEND), formerly Nigeria's main militant threat, claimed a
strike on a pipeline in Bayelsa owned by Italian firm Eni
, which confirmed 4,000 barrels per day of output had
been cut by the attack.
The government said the attack was carried out by other
criminals posing as members of MEND.
(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Ben Harding)