Worried by the threat of violence in Bayelsa State ahead of November 11 governorship election, a coalition of Ijaw interest groups has condemned the spate of politically motivated killings in certain parts of the state and urged all parties concerned to eschew violence and maintain peace during and after the poll.
The group advised the youths not to allow themselves to be used as tools to kill one another for the interest of politicians.
A statement signed by the Secretary of Ijaw Elders Forum, Mr Efiye Bribena, on behalf of the coalition, enjoined the people of Bayelsa State not to sell their votes but ensure that they choose the best candidate that would promote good governance in the interest of all and sundry.
It reads in part: “We are particularly disturbed by the recent politically motivated killings in certain parts of the state. This is not in our character as Bayelsans. We therefore strongly condemn these acts of politically motivated violence in our state and urge all politicians to desist from sponsoring any act that will threaten the peace before, on or during the election.
“Elections should not be a matter of do or die in our beloved state. We must show political maturity by playing the game according to the rules. Candidates should promote their candidacy by campaigning and marketing their programmes to the voting populace. They should shun all forms of violence in their message and conduct.
“The citizens should be allowed to perform their civic responsibilities without intimidation and any form of inducement. All candidates are advised to rein in their supporters that are susceptible to violence. Bayelsa State should not be turned to a battlefield or theatre of war because of election.
“Bayelsans should use the opportunity of electing a governor with character, competence, conscience, and capacity, courage, credibility and accountability.”
The group, therefore, called on INEC, the security agencies and parties involved in the conduct of the elections to be impartial, fair to all, firm and defend the tenets of democracy in the conduct of the elections.”
JUST IN: Fubara Summons Emergency EXCO Meeting After 27 Lawmakers Defect To APC
Governor Sim Fubara of Rivers State, has convened an emergency meeting with the members of the State Executive Council.
The meeting is holding at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Fubara called for the meeting following the defection of 27 members of the 32-member House of Assembly from the governing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
The lawmakers had dumped PDP for APC during a sitting of the House.
The lawmakers were seen brandishing the flags of the APC in a group photograph after the sitting.
Fubara and his predecessor, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, have been at loggerheads over the party’s structure in the state.
JUST IN: 27 Rivers Lawmakers Dump PDP For APC
Twenty-seven lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly have decamped to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The lawmakers, who were elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, announced their decision during Monday plenary at the Rivers Assembly Complex.
The lawmakers were those under the leadership of Martin Amaehwule.
READ ALSO: Why We Shot At Fubara — Rivers Police
Also, it was gathered that the lawmakers are loyal to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Recall that the legislative arm of the state has been in serious crisis following their bid to impeach the governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.
Why We’re Not Happy With Governor Alia – APC
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Benue has blamed its lingering rift with Governor Hyacinth Alia on his failure to treat the party with some respect and dignity.
The party also claimed that the Governor has consistently failed to consult its leaders and carry its members along on issues, contrary to the norm.
Addressing the media in Makurdi, the three State Zonal Chairmen of the party in the state including Wilfred Uji of Zone A, James Tor of Zone B and Bishop Pinot Ogbaji of Zone C regretted that Governor Alia’s attitude towards the party had created a gulf between them.
Speaking on behalf of the trio, Bishop Ogbaji explained that the crisis was not between the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, George Akume and the Governor, but a dispute between the Benue APC and the Governor.
According to him, “the shaky relationship between Governor Hyacinth Alia and the APC started in June this year, during the inauguration of the State Assembly where the governor had preference for a candidate for the position of Speaker but could not confer with the leadership of the party, rather he allowed the party to painstakingly sit, zone the position and anoint a candidate that was not his choice.
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“The end result was an embarrassing situation where stalwarts of the party were enmeshed in a shameful altercation that clearly lowered them and the party in the chamber of the Benue State House of Assembly.
“The party again nominated and spread other principal officers of the Assembly, but shockingly, the Speaker happily accepted all nomiations from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as duly endorsed by the PDP State Chairman and Secretary, however, he jettisoned the list submitted by the APC and rather announced the list that was allegedly submitted by the governor, through his Chief of Staff.
“It was a humiliating experience for the party, having to face that level of neglect in the hands of an administration we all laboured hard to plant, nevertheless, we sustained our faith in the governor and his government.
“In picking his commissioners, the Governor exercised his sole discretion without the usual tradition of directing local governments to make nominations taking cognizance of zonings and necessary political permutations, he rather made his independent choices as he found soothing but the party did not oppose him; we rather gave our full support to his action since that was his own State Executive and Security Council and he needed people he could trust.
“And when it was time for the nomination of Caretaker Committees to administer the Local Government Councils, Governor Alia threw it back to party members during the second stakeholders meeting by demanding an immediate nomination of three candidates each for the positions of Council Caretaker Chairman, Deputy and Secretary as well as Supervisory Councillors across the 23 Local Governments, demanding for 2 slots of Supervisory Councillors from each of the Local Governments.
“This was the first time a Governor would demand such from the Caretaker Council formation as against the usual one slot per local government. The party jubilantly agreed and obeyed the directive by holding meetings, and painstakingly nominating and submitting their various lists with a relieving sense of belonging.
“But quite shockingly, when the nominations were finally announced, the party was bewildered that 80 percent of the names were outside the actual nominees that were sent to the governor on his directive.
“We are not pushing to usurp or share powers with the Governor but if the governor was interested in forming a unity government, he would have simply called a general meeting of all Benue people and requested nominations from them rather than allowing APC members sweat to microzone the positions, shop for names and raise the hopes of candidates who were eventually ignored, dropped and their opponents, most of whom are members of rival political parties appointed.
“In all this misgiving and dissatisfaction, the announcement of Caretaker Committees marked the pinnacle of a noticeably sour relationship between Governor Alia and the APC in Benue State and this snowballing anger by all standards is justifiable.
“It is also trite to mention that as elders in the exco, we, the three Zonal Chairmen did not rest on our oars in seeking solutions; we have made frantic reconciliatory moves, trying to find out what the real issues were but in all our efforts, we could not get tangible issues capable of tearing the party apart.
“Our Leader, Sen. George Akume has deep love for Gov. Hyacinth Alia and in all our meetings, he has never spoken ill of the governor at any point; he has consistently admonished us to pray and support the governor to succeed, same way the governor eulogizes Sen. Akume at all times and hints of a cordial relationship between them.
“But the condition of Benue APC can best be likened to a helpless husband with a very beautiful wife that sleeps around with only his neighbours and enemies while he, the lawful husband is deprived of his conjugal rights.”
Reacting, the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and former APC Governorship candidate, Mr. Emmanuel Jime dismissed the allegations by the Zonal Chairmen saying, “those making the accusation are ignorant and it is without any foundation.
“In a Presidential democracy, the Governor is the Leader of the Party in his State just like any other State Governor. The tragedy of our democratic experiment so far is that most of us see politics as a meal ticket.
“Whenever an elected official chooses the path to real development, you will have the stomach infrastructure politicians attempting the distraction strategy. Benue is in dire need of a development agenda. The Governor appears to be focused on this. All men and women of goodwill must join in this all important endeavour.”
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