By Emmanuel Okara
Lagos – The Ijaw Elders Forum, Lagos, in collaboration with Ijaw Professionals Association, Ijaw Nations Forum, Ijaw Women Connect and Embassara Foundation, have called on the people of Bayelsa to exercise their civic responsibility by voting the next governor of the state through a peaceful and credible process on Saturday.
The groups in a joint statement by Mr Efiye Bribena, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed alarm at the turn of event in Bayelsa.
“We are alarmed at the recent turn of events on Wednesday Nov. 13 at Ogbolomabiri, in spite of the numerous workshops we organised on Peaceful and Credible Elections and affirmations by major political stakeholders.
“We call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend elections in any ward where political violence occur in the days leading to the elections or threatens the peace during elections.
“We condemn in very strong terms the violence and loss of lives experienced in Ogbolomabiri on Nov. 13, 2019.
“We wish to also call on INEC to reject results from any ward or local government areas with reported cases of violence, ballot box snatching or riggin,” Bribena said.
“Accepting results and declaring same from wards where violence or other election malpractices are perpetuated will be tantamount to incentivising violence and malpractices during elections.
“We will like to use this opportunity to draw the attention of The Nigerian Human Rights Commission and other relevant institutions of the state to the violence that occurred in Ogbolomabiri.
“The incident should be investigated and the perpetrators and their sponsors brought to book.
“We call on INEC and all relevant institutions of the state to maintain neutrality during the elections and ensure peaceful and credible elections as the people of Bayelsa troop out on Saturday to elect their Governor.