Voters queue up to cast their ballots in the Saturday local council polls in Edo State
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA — AHEAD of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State, a non-partisan group, Bayelsa Peace Initiative, BAPI, yesterday, cautioned supporters of political parties over violent conduct.
In a statement by the Convener, Bennett Ghomorai, BAPI expressed concern over the growing tension and violent attitude of some party supporters in the name of campaigning.
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The group said there are indications that politicians and their supporters want to truncate the peace in the state with violent campaigns and hate speech. The statement reads in part: “We are worried about the trend of events in our state as far as campaigns by political parties are concerned.
“We, in Bayelsa Peace Initiative, BAPI, want to categorically state that violence under the platform of the campaign is not accepted. We implore all political leaders and supporters to please behave maturely in carrying out their campaigns because peaceful and issued based campaigns are our expectation of Bayelsans as a whole. By this, you can speak on basic ideologies and issues that would positively impact the lives of Bayelsans which will make people vote for you”.
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“We condemn intimidation, oppression, insults and barbaric attitudes that have already thrown the state into unnecessary tension. We want to state that the world is watching us. We can achieve a violent–free election come November 16, and yes we can”.
”Let politicians be careful with the ambition they are projecting at the expense of precious lives of Bayelsans. We charge political leaders of the various parties that are contesting including their flag-bearers to borrow and apply the words of former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who said, “My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”, and we beg politicians to have this mindset and not to allow selfish persons using their names to derail them, but caution them not to be violent.
“Please, our politicians should consider the lives and property of fellow Bayelsans. Please avoid any action that would jeopardize the lives of innocent men, women, boys, girls, children, families, communities and non-Bayelsans living and doing business here.
“Please, let us change the narrative of bloodshed, burning and maiming. Let us prove that yes we can peacefully behave ourselves before and during the election to achieve a peaceful and seamless transition. Animosity and retaliation will spoil a lot of things, please avoid it.”
The group also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure there is no inconclusive election in the state.
It said: “We urge INEC to please put its house in order and make sure all is put in place and set
“Security agents please protect citizens from being intimidated and cornered to play to the tune of the piper.
“We beg INEC not to allow any form of inconclusive election in Bayelsa State because this will lead to avoidable violence and that will not speak well of INEC.”
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.