Bayelsa State will be too hot for those plotting to cause mayhem during the November 11 gubernatorial election, says the state governor, Senator Douye Diri.
The governor said politicians should get ready to engage voters, rather than think of how to stock-pile arms and mobilise people to cause violence. He said during a security council meeting in Yenagoa, according to a statement endorsed by his chief press secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, that his government will choke anyone with evil intentions before and during the election. He was
Bayelsa people will be going to the poll to choose their new governor on November 11 this year. The major contenders are the candidates of the APC-Chief Timipre Sylva, and Diri, his counterpart of the PDP, who is seeking a second term mandate, even though the Labour Party candidate, Udengs Eradiri, is also a contender.
Just recently, the citizens had expressed the fear that some politicians were planning to terrorise the state through a group called the Jagaban Army. They had shown some concern that those behind the group whose legal status could not be ascertained, meant evil for the state.
The Jagaban Army promoters had however said that they were only planning to work hard to ensure victory for one of the political parties, denying any intentions to be violent.
They had also denied plans to have army uniforms and bear arms as they prepare for the election, even though their coordinator, in a poster, was dressed in a para military uniform.
Diri was quoted in the statement to have said that “this government has the capacity to contain them if anybody dares us. We want a Bayelsa State which is the centre and Jerusalem of all Ijaws, to play that role of not only tolerating ourselves but also visitors who come here to contribute to the growth and the development of this state.
“So I again call on all our security agencies to be alert as we move towards the November 11 contest. It is a contest of votes and not of guns. It is a contest of ballots, not bullets. As the former president succinctly said that his office was not worth the blood of any Nigerian, I believe in that and I stand by those words.”
Diri however assured all those contesting the election that they would be given a level playing field for campaigns and other legitimate election activities.
Making reference to a recent comment by INEC chairman, that opposition political parties did not enjoy a level playing field in some states during the last elections, Diri said the reverse would be the case in his state.
His words: “In Bayelsa, I assure my opponents that we are not going to arm-twist anyone. In the same vein, no opponent should threaten mayhem and violence.”
Briefing journalists at the end of a meeting, the state Commissioner of Police, Tolani Alausa, said the council resolved that a joint task force to checkmate criminal activities preparatory to the governorship election, particularly in the Nembe axis, would be set up soon.
Alausa noted that the task force would comprise of the military, police, Department of State Security, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other key security agencies to be headed by the police commissioner.