As the date for Bayelsa State governorship election draws closer, Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF) and other stakeholders in the state have expressed worries over lawlessness and high level of violence witnessed during elections in Niger Delta states.
The group therefore warned all stakeholders in Bayelsa to ensure they do everything within their powers to ensure there will not be worrisome destruction of lives and property during the coming election.
In a statement signed by IEF secretary, Efiye Bribena, the group said, “We unequivocally condemn the criminal conduct of most actors in the political process during the last general elections in Bayelsa and other states in the Niger Delta.
“We call on all stakeholders to denounce thuggery, violence and rigging in any form during the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa.”
To ensure a peaceful governorship election in the state, IEF said it has entered into agreement with Ijaw Professionals Associations (IPA), Ijaw Nations Forum (INF), Ijaw Women Connect (IWC) and G24 Embasara to hold a conference in Yenagoa, the state capital, to deliberate on ways of achieving a violence-free election.
“It is our expectation that the governorship election in Bayelsa will be issue-based and the candidates will provide road maps for addressing the challenges we face as a people.
“It is expedient for all Ijaw patriots to identify and provide effective, focused and sustainable leadership to articulate and take advantage of existing opportunities, as well as create platforms for rapid growth and development for our people and communities,” the group added.
This is coming just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recently announced a shift in Bayelsa governorship election from November 2 to November 16, 2019.
Bayelsa has remained one of Nigeria’s most volatile states during any election. During the last presidential, National Assembly and House of Assembly elections in the states, Bayelsa was among the states where innocent Nigerians were killed due to electoral violence.