Gov Diri Tasks Security Agencies On Peaceful Bayelsa Poll
…Ballot Snatching, Electoral Violence Era Over, Says CDS
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has restated the need for security agencies to ensure that the conduct of the November 11 governorship election in the state was peaceful and credible.
Senator Diri stated this on Tuesday when he received the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Musa Christopher, the Commander, of Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral E. O Ferreira, and other senior military officers in Government House, Yenagoa.
He urged the military officers not to allow anybody or a group of persons to engage in acts capable of undermining the electoral process.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that the government will support the security agencies to prevent violence and ensure a peaceful election.
He said: “Bayelsa is a flashpoint. So you have to do everything within your power to ensure that we do not give room to those allegedly sewing military uniforms and plotting to impersonate military officers to undermine the election. As a government, we will give you every support to ensure that we do not lose one life.”
Senator Diri, who also stressed the need to strengthen the country’s democracy, noted that all institutions, particularly the military, must collectively work to build viable democratic institutions.
“There are institutions that make democracy tick and one of them is the military. Listening to you, we have hope that the military will be up to its task to make democracy stronger and much better in the coming years.”
He also admonished the political class not to take democracy and the people for granted. But to see themselves as having a duty to serve the interest of the people and not as masters.
“Whatever position we find ourselves in this democratic experiment, we must see ourselves as those who came to serve and not to be the masters.
“Since we assumed office, we have been preaching peace. So this election means so much to us and we will need the security agencies to be on top of their game. “
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, gave assurance that the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states will be peaceful and credible in line with the directive of President Bola Tinubu.
Gen. Musa said he and his team were in the state to assess the security situation and to ensure that Bayelsa was secure and protected ahead of the November 11 election.
He warned anyone planning to perpetrate violence to steer clear of the elections in the three states and cautioned security agencies against acts that would compromise the polls.
Also, he said security agencies have the president’s directive to bring to an end acts of criminality, including sea piracy, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism to ensure that oil production output increases to boost the national economy.
“I have come with a very powerful team. We want to ensure that the state is fully secure and well-protected so that Bayelsa will continue to develop. As Bayelsa develops, l am sure the rest of the South-South will develop and Nigeria too.
“Last week, we held a meeting with the National Security Adviser, the INEC Chairman and other stakeholders on the need to conduct credible and peaceful election. For us, that is a marching order.
“Within us, if anybody wants to sabotage the election, l want to assure that all security agencies are going to be very watchful of our conduct. If any of the security agencies stains the election, it is going to stain all of us and we are not going to allow that. Before the election, several steps will be taken to ensure that everywhere is calm and everybody is allowed to come out and vote. The era where people will use violence to intimidate voters and snatch ballot boxes is gone.
“We want to warn those who think it is their birthright to perpetrate violence during elections that henceforth it is not going to be business as usual. Any member of the armed forces caught compromising the election risks a court-martial.”