Pan Ijaw National Congress (INC), Central Zone, on Saturday elected new Executive Council (EXCO) members to run its affairs after the zone suffered lack of leadership for many years.
The INC Central Zone comprises the entire Bayelsa state and parts of the Ijaw speaking areas of Rivers state.
At the end of the keenly contested polls in a peaceful atmosphere at the Ijaw national headquarters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, a former Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Doodei Week from Bayelsa state emerged Chairman.
Declaring the results, chairman of the Electoral Committee (ELECO), Prof. Ambily Etekpe said Week scored a total of 63 votes to edge out his only rival and former Commissioner for Capital City Development, Mr. Zuwa Konugah also from Bayelsa state who polled 52 votes.
In the Vice Chairmanship position which was also a close contest, Mr. Clement Ebiyekon garnered a total of 65 votes to defeat his opponent, Mr. Obi Wilson who scored 54 votes.
However, Dr. Epighan Igenewari coasted to a landslide victory to emerge the INC Central Zonal Secretary with 70 votes as against his rival, Michael Imiemokumo who managed to secure a paltry 30 votes while the post of Assistant Secretary went to Preye Dakolo unopposed.
Also in the position of Treasurer, Chief Moses Theophilus trounced his opponent, Mr. Timipere Ofamukoro by 96 votes to 16 votes just as one Onini Nelson was returned unopposed as Financial Secretary.
For the position of Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ikosomi Ibarakumo Barry scored 69 votes to humble his rival, Mr. Christopher Abarowei who polled 48 votes.
The position of the INC Central zonal Legal Adviser, Barr. Igoni Wisdom polled a total of 103 to silence his only opponent, Kenpov Endoni who was not better than 19 votes.
Our correspondent reports that one Madam Chrispin Tarilanyun defeated her opponent, Okpiri Siya to clinch the position of Women Affairs Secretary while Dagana Ebiakpo was returned unopposed as Auditor of the zone.
Presenting certificates of return to the winners, the ELECO chairman revealed that the newly elected 10-man executive council would be officially inaugurated next Saturday at Amassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, headquarters of the INC Central Zone.
Responding, the chairman-elect, Doodei Week commended the electoral committee for conducting a peaceful, free and fair election, noting that the INC has proved to the whole world that true democracy is in Ijaw land.
He said the new executive council will work as one in collaboration with those who lost out during the elections as well as the national body to make the central zone and the entire Ijaw nation proud.
In a word of advice, the national President of the INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, who was around to monitor the electoral process, also commended the electoral umpire for being neutral and enjoined the new leadership of the INC central zone to be magnanimous in victory.